As per Nielsen, an average American uses a phone or tablet at least 3 hours per day whereas the average usage time of a computer or TV is up to about 9 hours. Time is precious and can be used for various other productivity gains.
Technology and productivity expert Cal Newport in his book, Digital Minimalism, offers advice on how to take out time and break-free from digital services. Here are 6 quick tips to start from:
Schedule Continuous Work Blocks
In the book, Newport says “If you take a two-hour block and do literally no quick checks, your mind is operating at full capacity”.
Make a table for your workday in two-hour periods and quarantine tasks that are not productive enough. This should include everything from meetings and phone calls, to planned breaks in between the blocks.
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Spend Time With Yourself
The first thing that we do as soon as “boredom” hits us is to grab our phones. Newport believes that we suffer from a “solitude deficit,” which could be a reason for a 5% hike in anxiety-related disorders from 2017 to 2018.
Meditation is a good and productive practice to work alone. One can also try physical activities like jogging, to focus on a single complication with all attention. Practicing 2 or 3 sessions like these once a week, will improve your concentration levels and will tame your screen-check impulse, according to Newport.
Send Fewer and More Thoughtful Emails
According to the Radicati Group, an analytics firm, An average office worker sends or receives approximately 125 emails per day. This leads to a waste of many hours on low-quality communication.
Newport provides a solution to this problem: Ignore every email that doesn’t require a response, and for those that do, write one that minimizes the number of subsequent emails—instead of “Let me know when you want to meet up,” try “Let’s meet at Rocko’s Coffee at noon or 12:30.”
Connect With Your Friends
Newport says that “Our brains don’t really understand a ‘like’ or a ‘happy birthday’ on Facebook”, which means that neither is digital interaction the best way to communicate, nor it is a substitute for a real-time conversation. Gestures on social media don’t create a sense of attachment or connection.
If you have a packed up schedule and can’t meet your friends then, call them up. You’ll feel relieved.
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Clean Out Your Digital Toolbox
Taking a 30-day break from digital tools like Reddit, and other social media platforms or video games is recommended by Newport.
After 30 days, once the detox is complete, set productivity goals and restore your digital accounts on the tools which help you achieve them. Set some limitations for yourself, for example, check Facebook only on your computer or laptop.
Indulge in Your Hobbies
In the process of dealing with your digital compulsions, don’t forget to make time for your hobby. It doesn’t matter what your hobby is, if it makes you happy then go, indulge yourself in it. Take out time for your favorite productive task and create something you’ll be proud of. This will also help you forget your digital and official commitments for some time.