Digital technology was meant to make our lives easier, to make things better, and improve our productivity, yet we somehow waste more time than ever by getting lost in digital distractions. It’s something that I consciously have to work on daily myself. Of all the apps on the phone, I believe social media apps are the most distracting. Whenever I’m trying to work on a difficult task – be it writing this blog post, finishing my painting, or whatever else it may be then social media is always the easiest and instantly rewarding thing I drift off to. The harder the task I work on, the more the temptation to steal a quick look at the app. Getting that little ‘ping’ of notification and interacting on social media sends a rush of dopamine to the brain, giving us a reward every single time and it is highly addictive.
Thus naturally, a big part of finishing our tasks on schedule requires us to manage and overcome these digital distractions. Here are some of the techniques that I find most effective
Turn all notifications off on your phone.
All-day long, my phone would light up with a new notification from one of the social media apps and I would constantly keep checking them, creating an inadvertent state of anxiety and distraction. By just turning off social media notifications, you can rid yourself of the constant inducement to check your social media apps. And better yet, you can simply get caught up on all the updates whenever you’re ready at a time of your own choosing!
Take social media apps off your home screen
My social media apps were all on my phone’s home screen so I’d check them every time I had a spare second – like waiting on the microwave timer or waiting for code to compile. And needless to say, more often than not, I usually end up spending much more time on social media. After moving these off my home screen, I have to consciously search for the apps if I want to open them. This is usually enough of a deterrent to stop me from opening the apps and end up spending way too much time on them
Turn your phone on airplane mode
This is an obvious solution to a problem: Putting the phone in airplane mode, or better yet, turning it off completely. When you’re working on something important or very involved and really in the zone, you wouldn’t want things like an email notification or a phone call distract you. It could be hard to snap back into that focus once that initial distraction occurs.
Set strict boundaries
A system I have developed to stop social media encroaching on my personal time/space is to never look at the phone late in the evening or early in the morning. This is the time I spend on personal tasks and I do not spend any of it on social media. This made the biggest difference to me is limiting my social media and smartphone use and it also comes with the corresponding benefits – helping in mentally setting myself up for the day and helping me get a better night’s sleep.
What do you guys do to manage social media distractions and to keep yourself on schedule?