Text messages, email notifications, and that lingering impulse that eventually leads you into scrolling through your Instagram feed. Let’s face it: technology has its benefits, but the distractions caused by it can be a major stumbling block when it comes to your overall productivity and mental health.
According to a study from UC Irvine, it takes the average person 23 minutes to fully regain concentration following an interruption. To make matters worse, numerous studies have found links between habits like increased social media and smartphone use to anxiety and additional psychological issues.
Given that we’re already dependent on computers and phones in our daily lives, the enormous distractions caused by tech on top of everything else can be debilitating. The good news is that we can curb these pitfalls, and it all starts with proactively taking measures to avoid those distractions in the first place. To help you on your journey, here are a few methods to get yourself into a much better space.
Turn your Phone onto Airplane Mode
Hit the issue directly on the head by halting the numerous distractions caused by mobile devices altogether. Not only will the focus-grabbing messages and alerts stop, but you will be less inclined to mindlessly check your phone with the knowledge that nothing new will be there under that setting. Putting your phone onto airplane mode and out of sight altogether will allow you to be much more present in your work and with anything else that you need to accomplish.
Download Usage Apps
For those of you who feel like going straight onto airplane mode is too much of a plunge, apps like “Usage Time” and “QualityTime” are a great place to start. These apps allow you to set limits and restrictions on any apps on your phone, including messages and other highly distracting functions. However, apps like these also give you the important (and sometimes shocking) data as far as how many times you’re unlocking your phone and the total amount of time spent on it.
On a personal note, just seeing the sheer amount of unlocks and time dedicated to my phone has served as a massive deterrent for yours truly. Similarly, there’s a good chance that you’ll realize that so much of the time spent checking your phone could be used to focus your energy on significantly more important areas in your life.
Set Specific Times in the Day to Check Emails
Beyond the obvious distractions from our mobile devices, we’re also bombarded with email notifications on our laptops and work computers. With what we already know about the issues with distractions and our focus, creating set times throughout your day to check emails will help you keep your concentration on the task at hand rather than jumping sporadically from thought to thought. Depending on the potential urgency of the emails that you receive day-to-day, it will obviously be necessary for some to set these times more frequently during the day than others. Develop a plan (and adjust accordingly) as far as when you’re going to check your emails and don’t allow notifications and the perceived need to respond instantly to everyone’s requests take you away from what’s in front of you.
Close All Unnecessary Pages and Documents
Putting aside the numerous notifications we receive, many of us are also driving full speed into tab overdose territory. One contributing factor here is that operating systems and software updates have made it easier for us to cram more and more content onto our screens concurrently. We think that we’re being more productive, but the myth of our ability to multitask has been debunked time and time again, and we end up decreasing the overall quality of the projects we’re working on. Eliminating clutter is also an unequivocally good thing. All of those pages and documents will still be there when you’re actually ready to attend to them. Give yourself the time and space to get to where you need to be on individual tasks rather than thinking you can complete everything at once.
Eliminating distractions is no easy task and will likely remain a work in progress as technology continues to increase its prevalence in our lives. However, by starting to incorporate these methods into your routine, you will almost certainly see positive results in your productivity and overall sense of well-being. Do you have methods for eliminating distractions that I didn’t mention? Feel free to share any ideas that you can bring to the table in the comments below.