Reducing Electronic Distractions

During this time of year, I always try to cut back on my social media use even though I’d love a distraction from my obligations. For college students like myself, this is the season for exams and a paper due in every class. Electronic distractions (phones, computers, iPads etc.) are great tools for communication and interconnectivity but they are also absurdly distracting. I find that during this time I need to disconnect and during the upcoming holidays I want to disconnect. It can be hard to ignore your phone since its constantly with you and used for just about everything. I’ve found a few things that help me to knock out my to-do list without being inhibited by social media or alerts. Here they are:

Set your phone aside

Americans age 18-24 check their phones on average about 86 times a day, according to a 2017 report by Deloitte. That’s a crazy amount of wasted time. Imagine if you could cut that in half by just putting your phone down while you were busy or working on something. Setting your phone down sounds simple but it can really help. Think about the last time you put your phone down to do something or forgot where it was for a while. We’re going for that kind of disconnectivity. So put your phone somewhere that it’s not in your direct eye line (when I’m really working I like to toss my phone under a blanket or coat). If your phone is out of sight then it’s out of mind.

Also, I would recommend (for iPhone users) to make use of the new Screen Time feature. It gives you the ability to see how much time you spend online and change your habits accordingly. I use it to set daily limits for social media and put it on downtime mode every night so that I’m not tempted to stay up scrolling. Its much like the driving feature in that you can work around it but it gives you pause.

Go on a social media fast

Now you may think that seems a bit extreme. But how long would it take you to delete your Facebook or your social media app of choice? A few seconds at the most (and it’s not like it’s gone forever). I’ve actually gone a couple months logged out of the Facebook app and it’s made a huge difference in how I waste my time on my phone. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you don’t spend an hour procrastinating on FB or Instagram. For me, Facebook is a huge time waster and not even one that I particularly enjoy. I find myself aimlessly scrolling while getting frustrated by other user’s content. You may find that you like not having the easy access to your social media.

But what about working on the computer?

Here in lies the problem with the computer, you’re just a tab away from distraction at any given moment. Since I’m often writing papers or working on assignments these are the things that work for me: Open up the tabs for references etc. that you need. Next turn your WiFi off, nothing turns you off of looking at Facebook more than no internet. Now that you’ve eliminated the temptation of surfing the web you can get to writing your paper or whatever it is you need to do. (Pro tip- if you don’t want to be distracted by music with lyrics while you are working, you can listen to movie soundtracks for good theme music while you work).

These tips are extremely helpful and easy to boost your productivity.

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