Technology is supposed to make life easier. You are able to read this article on your device thanks to technology. I have a list of favourite productivity apps that wouldn’t exist today without advances in technology. Used properly, technology can be your best friend as you work towards achieving a more productive life.
Technology, however, is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have apps and resources that can help with your productivity. On the other hand, you have social media and addictive games that are productivity traps.
How many games do you have on your cellphone? How much time do you spend a day playing? There is a reason some games have levels that run into the thousands. They want you to keep playing. The popular Subway surf describes itself as an endless runner maze. In other words, play as long as you like, it’s never going to end.
How much time are you spending on social media? Do you check your accounts immediately after waking up or when you have trouble sleeping at night? If you answered “yes”, then chances are your social media use has become addictive. It’s hard to get anything done when your body is tense and fighting the urge to check what your friends have been up to every 15 minutes.
Despite being time wasters, tech habits can be notoriously difficult to break. Apps have been cleverly designed to offer immediate feel good rewards. When you beat a level in candy crush, you get loud victory messages and sounds that encourage you to just try the next level and the next. Checking all your facebook notifications and refreshing your twitter feeds creates the illusion of you having achieved something even though by the time you are done, there will probably be new notifications for you to check. This creates an endless loop of refreshing and checking new feeds that can be hard to escape.
Does that mean you need to cut your social media and mobile game usage to become productive? Not at all. Social media, when used properly, can be a tool for connecting with others across distances. Similarly, an enjoyable mobile game is a good way to unwind after a challenging task. What matters is how often you use them and where? If you are checking social media under the table during an important meeting because you are afraid of missing out on your friend’s latest tweet, then you have a problem. Same thing if you are playing a game instead of designing your client’s product.
To beat the worst impulses of your tech habits:
- Create a time for checking social media and only check your social media during that time. Do not check social media first thing in the morning. Trust me, there are a lot more productive things you could be doing during those hours.
- Learn to enjoy quiet time without interference from your devices. If necessary, turn off mobile data when working. The focus you will derive from this simple trick will lead to an increase in the quality of your work.
- Staying logged in to your accounts all the time is a bad idea for many. You will get constant notifications that can be very difficult to ignore. Consider logging in only during those hours you have designated as social media time.
What’s the mobile game you enjoy playing the most? I’m determined to beat Legend of Roland by the end of the year. Obviously, I’m not playing it now. See you next week.