How to Take Control of Your Technology
Have you ever begun working on a task and before you get very far along, your phone dings with an email or social media notification? You feel compelled to stop what you’re doing so you can check the notification.
Or maybe, you’ve got your plan of work for the day, but decide to check social media “just for a minute” and then end up spending an hour catching up on the latest happenings.
I’ll admit, this happens to me far too often. I let my technology rule the day instead of me using technology for my benefit.
To help me overcome wasting time with technology, I’ve implemented a few tactics. Let me share them and hopefully, you’ll find one or two that will help you take control of your technology.
Turn off notification sounds
The very first step I took when I got a smartphone was to turn off all of the notification sounds. I quickly realized I would go crazy if I heard it ding every time an email, text message, or social media notification popped up. It was a huge distraction.
I cannot tell you how much more peaceful my life is with those notification sounds turned off. I’m now better able to set aside certain times of the day to check my phone. My people know if it’s truly an emergency, they need to call me because I may not see their text or email right away.
I have done the same thing on my desktop and laptop computers. I discovered that if I was trying to do work on my computer, I often became distracted by the ding when I would receive an email. So I turned off all notification sounds. That one action alone has helped me to stay focused and be more productive while on my computer.
Put your phone on silent or vibrate
When I first got a smartphone I had a hard time remembering to silence it when going to church, a meeting, or any other place where it would be disturbing if I received a phone call. So I just began putting it in vibrate mode. Now I don’t worry about my phone ringing and making things awkward.
One drawback to this though, is that I do miss phone calls sometimes because I don’t realize it’s vibrating or I do not have it right beside me all the time. Thankfully now I have an Apple Watch that buzzes when my phone is ringing, even if I’m not really close to my phone.
Having your phone on silent or vibrate can help you to be more productive, too. If you can’t hear it ringing all the time, then you can stay focused on the task at hand.
Turn off notification banners
In addition to turning off notification sounds, I have disabled notification banners that pop up with different social media apps. In fact, when I download a new app, I go into the settings and turn off all notifications.
Those banners can be just as distracting as sounds. When we see them pop up it is tempting to click on them and see what we are missing out on. If we don’t have them on, can stay focused on the task at hand.
One place I’ve not turned these banners off is on my desktop computer. I do see when an email comes in and often will click over to read the email. So I’ve got to get that turned off soon!
Set aside a time to use technology
I have had a bad habit of getting on my phone first thing when I get up in the morning. However, I’ve discovered I can do without my phone first thing in the morning.
A few weeks ago, for some reason, my phone did not charge overnight. So instead of taking it with me as soon as I got out of bed, I plugged it back in to finish charging while I went through my morning routine.
Surprisingly, it was a couple of hours before I ever picked it up. Let me just say, that morning was one of the most productive I’ve had in a long time.
So I’ve been trying my best to either leave my phone in the bedroom until I’m ready for the day or I leave it on the kitchen counter. This helps me to focus on more important things. Then I can set aside 15-20 minutes to go through and catch up on social media and email. I don’t feel like I need to respond to things as quickly anymore. I can schedule a time that works for me.
Implementing these four tips have certainly helped me to take control of my technology and not be distracted by it. I hope you will try out at least one of these tips. Doing even one of these things can make a huge difference in your productivity.