Can you survive a week without tech — without your gadgets and the Internet?
Most of us are tech addicts, and we don’t even know it. You might not know the extent of your tech addiction until you try to stay away from tech. Just keep away from your tech gadgets and the Internet for a day, a week or more. Unplug and disconnect — then see what happens. If you can’t do it, or if you struggle to, you are a tech addict and the following tips will help your productivity.
Disable the Alerts and Notifications
Most of us can relate to the excitement we feel that moment a notification comes in. We hear the sound and we instinctively rush to our phones — someone must have messaged us… and we feel very important. Unfortunately, very few of these notifications add much to our bottom line; instead, they can be highly draining and only end up making us less focused and more distracted. In fact, research has linked the brain chemical dopamine to our practically uncontrolled instinctive response of immediately seeking our phone when we get alerts and notifications. Unfortunately, the more we get and respond to these alerts, the more dopamine is released — creating a kind of reinforcement that is difficult to break free from.
The solution is simple: disable ALL alerts and notifications. You can make exceptions for certain people, but you most certainly don’t need to respond to all notifications you get as soon as you get them. Instead, block out a certain time of the day (it could be broken into slots — does not necessarily have to be once in the day, depending on the nature of your job) through which you go through the alerts.
Tame Your Email Inbox
Do you know there’s what they call “email addiction”? Unfortunately, most tech addicts are also email addicts. It’s easy to spend hours refreshing your inbox waiting for that “important” message to come. Break out of it! No important message is coming — and if it comes, you don’t have to respond to it immediately. It will still be there when you come back to your inbox later in the day. In fact, research has found a link between email addiction and employee productivity, concentration and effectiveness — and email addiction has been proven to lead to tasks taking longer to complete.
So, how do you tame your email inbox? Here are some tips:
Realize you don’t have to respond to all emails immediately, or even to all emails at all — having this mindset is the most important.
Do your most important tasks for the day before checking your email. This can be difficult, however it can be immensely powerful for boosting productivity. Just ask Ashton Kutcher!
Unsubscribe from all unnecessary newsletters. You can use Unroll.me to create a list of all your subscription emails in one place and decide which to keep and which to unsubscribe from.
Use a VPN to Securely Get More Done on the Go
If you are a remote worker, or if your company allows you to do work-related tasks on their server outside work hours, using a VPN is another tech hack that can boost productivity and save you time. You can securely catch up on work during your commute, at the coffee shop or in other public places — in other words, the time you save working during an otherwise boring commute can be used to relax, unwind and do more productive tasks. Some of the most popular VPN options are HideMyAss and NordVPN.
The danger of not using a VPN is much: for one, depending on where you are accessing the Internet from, you save time because most websites will become accessible (time lost trying to find alternatives to a non-working site, or trying to make a site that isn’t working due to location restrictions work, can quickly add up). Also, you are rest assured that your non-workplace work-related activities will remain safe and won’t be compromised, potentially costing you your job.
Use StayFocusd to Limit Your Browsing Activity
A lot of tech addicts are probably aware of the StayFocusd chrome app, or one or more of its alternatives. In essence, what it does is it allows you to set a time limit for accessing certain sites in a day. Once the time limit you set expires, all the sites on your StayFocusd list will be blocked and inaccessible for the day — and even if you try to extend time and game the system, changes will only take place the next day. This can be used to manage addiction to social media or other sites.