Social Media, Productivity and Digital Detoxing 

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Social media has never been easier to access ever since smart phones became the norm in society. At our fingertips, we can within seconds enter the online worlds of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp. The distractions can seem endless and threaten our productivity in student and working life. While social media has its benefits and may bring us a new community and a recipe or two, it’s important that as technology grows more and more an integrated part of our world, we are comfortable with how much of our time it takes up and our control over its impact on our daily life. With that in mind, here are some simple tips to help you digitally detox your life for the better.

 

Turn off App Notifications

     This may seem extreme, but in fact, it might be just the breath of fresh air you need. Our phones are never more than a few inches away from us nowadays, so it’s hard to miss the ping or vibration of a notification. By having social media app notifications on, we are allowing ourselves to be in a constant state of reactivity through instantly seeing and feeling the need to respond to ‘likes’, Tweets and messages received. It’s important to remember that we really don’t need to know the second something has happened in the online world. Nor do we need to respond in that same instant - even if it feels that way! Allowing these distractions to dictate our day can wreak havoc on our productivity too. Why not try switching those notifications off? You could start with one app at a time, one week at a time! I guarantee – you’ll find it hard to want to turn them on again!

 

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

     'Phones away from the table’ isn’t just a rule that our parents gave us as children – it’s a rule we need to apply to our adult life too. If our phones are never more than a few inches away from our twitching fingers, we will always be tempted to pick them up and scroll. This can lead to a perpetuating cycle of distraction and procrastination – not what we came to the library or the office to do! So, start keeping your phone out of sight (and on silent) when you need it to be out of your mind. This is also a great tip for when you’re out with family and friends - give them time and attention they deserve and want from you! Remember, our phones and social media can’t lend us an ear to talk through a problem, pass our exams or do our assignments for us.

 

Switch Off To Start AND Finish Your Day

     Our phones enable us to do many things through one device and keep us well connected at home and abroad, at every hour of every day, making the big wide world we live in a much smaller place. We can Skype family and friends thousands of miles away, we can ‘Find Our iPhone’ if we lose them, and we have Google at our fingertips with the answer to any question within seconds. However, this also means we are constantly stimulated by technology. We start our day with screens, many of us spend the day with screens whether at college or at work and when we finish for the day, we commute while looking at a screen, to go home and watch television, catch up on social media, and maybe even do more work! Our brains needs rest from all of this stimulation and activity. A great place to start is the first hour and last hour of your day (or even 30 minutes initially). Keep your head out of your phone during this time. Instead, get up and talk a walk outside. Listen to music, read a chapter of a book or write down three things you’re grateful for. Have a glass of water or a cup of coffee outside listening to the world around you.  Once you start spending more time off-line than on-line, you’ll see what you’ve been missing!