Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t work harder, work smarter”? Working smarter and employing healthy technology habits go hand-in-hand. For many of us, especially those in the PR world, our daily routine involves a constant flow of technology. Tech is overpowering our lives. And it’s easy to form habits that we think are helping increase productivity when the reality is quite different.
Here are 5 tech habits that kill daily productivity. If you do any of these things, make the decision right now to STOP and see the difference in your day.
Keeping your phone next to you at night.
Let’s be real, if you keep your phone next to you at night, you’re going to look at it. Maybe it’s your alarm clock or how you read at night. Maybe you want to check social just one more time or refresh your email. DON’T. It’s important to power down not only your devices, but your brain to get a full night’s slumber. Engaging in social, email, text, etc. before bed stimulates your nervous system, making it more difficult to fall asleep. What’s more, The LED screens of smartphones and tablets give off blue light, which can suppress your natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. So, invest in a good old’ fashioned alarm clock and leave your phone at the door or in another room.
Keeping your notifications on.
Valuable, meaningful work stems from a singular focus for an extended period of time. In other words, if you want to get anything worthwhile done, you can’t work for 5 minutes, check your email, work another 10 minutes, send a text, work 12 minutes, check your Facebook notifications, it just doesn’t work. But, how are we supposed to focus when pings and dings are coming at us constantly? Here’s an idea, TURN THEM OFF. Silence your phone, close out your email, shut down social media, and apply the “do not disturb” settings to any texts coming in on your computer. Set a timer for 60 minutes or however long you need to focus, then take a break and check what you need to check. Distractions can happen anytime, but you are the one in control of how they impact your focus and productivity. And don’t be a slave to your email box. Don’t let others in email direct your day. Own your day!
Giving your phone more attention than actual people.
Breaking this habit will not only improve productivity but more importantly, relationships. At The Fearey Group, we focus on personal connections and long-term relationships building, that doesn’t happen if we’re heads down staring at a screen during lunch, coffee breaks, meetings, or simple water cooler conversations. Do you want the highlight of your day to be Jimmy Fallon’s most recent Tweet or that awesome story Jimmy from down the hall just shared with you at the lunch counter? Phones have their place and are important, just continually remind yourself that people are more important and treat them as such.
This seems minor, but a simple web search on Safari or Chrome can toss you down a rabbit hole you don’t emerge from easily. Same goes for any of your social applications. It goes back to focus and the idea that multi-tasking doesn’t result in quality work. With the internet always at our fingertips, it’s almost too simple to get sidetracked and derailed over what should be a quick query. Business Insider recommends writing down any thoughts or questions that pop into your head on a notepad as you’re working. Then when the task is done, take some time to look up that information.
Eating as you work on a computer.
Eating while working on a computer is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not good for the computer. One spill and you need to shell out money for a new keyboard or laptop. Secondly, when people aren’t consciously eating, they tend to eat too much. And yet, the most important reason, you need a break! That’s the point of lunch, to walk away from a screen, stand up, go for a walk, get some nourishment and chat around with a couple people. Leave your phone next to your computer and have a device-free lunch. That mental break will give you a much-needed energy boost promote better productivity throughout the rest of the day.
And bonus – – if you really need to decompress, go float at one of the local float places should you be lucky enough to have a facility near you. Here in Seattle, we have Float Seattle which helps people decompress and tune out from all those darn notifications.
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