Many of us are slowly moving from working remotely to getting back into the office. Whether you continue to work from home, or are struggling to stay focused back in the office, there are adjustments you can make to your technology to help you concentrate on what is important. Here are my tips to reset your tech and improve your productivity.
1. Tidy Up Your Devices
Go through your phone, laptop, iPad, even your DVR and clean out any unnecessary clutter. Remove unused apps and games. Clear any bookmarks from your browsers that you no longer need. Keeping only the most essential apps and folders on your desktop or homescreen will help you to concentrate on what is most important and declutter your mind.
2. Limit Notifications
Staying focused while using technology is increasingly difficult. Google searches for ‘how to get your brain to focus’ increased 300% during the pandemic. A few quick steps you can take to help get in the zone — pause, limit or simply turn-off distracting notifications from any apps, games or websites so you are not tempted to divert your attention from what is important. Set devices on do-not-disturb while working, sleeping or spending quality time with family. Reserve time to check and respond to email then block it out so you are able to concentrate on important tasks and projects. Get more tips on streamlining your email use here: How to Stop Wasting 2.5 Hours on Email Everyday
3. Resist Doom-scrolling
No news is good news, right? Throughout the day, resist the temptation to check news not relevant to what you need to accomplish. Of course, staying informed is important, but the 24 hour news cycle is draining. Instead, set time to catch up on the news either in the morning or evening and then resist the pull for ‘breaking news’ and non-stop infotainment delivered to your device.
4. Improve Your Newsfeed
Control the content in your newsfeed so you are energized, not depleted from what you consume. Friend, follow and like content that motivates and inspires you. Mute, unfollow or ignore posts that are created with the intent to enrage, scare and cause a negative reaction. The more you engage with posts that have a positive impact on you, the more that type of content will be delivered to your screens.
5. Disengage from Negativity
Are you part of a social media community group that seems to bicker more than collaborate? Do you have an online connection who is more interested in judging, arguing or negating your point of view than in a productive discussion? If yes, it may be time to leave that group behind. Any person or group that is more taxing than encouraging needs to be eliminated from your daily routine. Get tips from the Center for Humane Tech on eliminating outrage from your digital diet.
6. Set Limits
When work and home are within the same four walls, setting boundaries is important. As much as possible, help your kids understand that while you work from home, you are still working so ask they not interrupt you unless absolutely necessary. Back in the office? It is also important to set the same boundaries for your co-workers. Of course, everyone is happy to be back and catch up with co-workers face-to-face but don’t let the chit chat go on too long. You also do not need to be available during non-work hours and weekends just because technology makes it possible. Establish working hours and set some rules and expectations around when you will be offline. We are all struggling with the same issues so it is perfectly reasonable for you to let others know that emails received late in the evening may not be responded to until the next day. Learn more about The Right to Disconnect movement why no-email weekends are essential to recharge.
7. Step Away
Your phone is not attached to you so don’t let it become a noose. Remember, it’s a tool to connect with people and ideas but you are free to take a break to recharge, digest, process and center yourself. When possible, exercise, step outside, enjoy nature and leave your tech behind.
A total tech re-set is hard because we remain dependent on our devices to connect with the outside world. The most important change you can make is to your mindset. It is not about the total screen time, it’s more about the quality of time spent online. Focus on using technology mindfully and with purpose.
Denise DeRosa is a Digital Wellness Coach with Cyber Sensible, dedicated to finding digital balance in a tech-heavy world.