Due to their compulsive nature, resisting the urge to interact with technology around you can be challenging. Sadly, this often smooths the way for insidious and pervasive tech habits to form without you realizing it.
Before long, you find yourself stuck in a rut of unproductive tech habits that are sapping your energy and focus. Let’s identify these unproductive tech habits and find solutions to break free from them.
It’s hard to believe there used to be a time when access to information was limited to what we could find in books, and we had to head to libraries to research. Thanks to the Internet and search engines like Google, we have an almost limitless supply of information at our fingertips, to such an extent that we struggle to keep up.
For the most part, this ease of access to information is great, as it allows us to get the answers we need quickly and efficiently. However, there is a downside to this as well; this same technology can ruin your memory if you develop an unhealthy dependence on it.
Chances are, your first instinct when you need an answer to a query or remember anything is to “Google” it without a second thought. This leaves little room for your mind to wander, reflect, and come up with solutions, which is necessary for critical thinking, problem-solving, and memory retention.
To break this unproductive tech habit, take a step back the next time you have the urge to “Google” something and try to remember the answer on your own or figure it out through reasoning. If you can’t recall it, look it up, but try to remember it for the future.
At this point, your phone has probably become an extension of your arm, as you constantly find yourself picking it up and indulging in several mindless scrolling sessions throughout the day. Due to its natural occurrence in your day-to-day routine, this habit can be particularly challenging to break since you don’t even realize you are doing it.
However, overcoming your mindless scrolling habit is crucial to regaining productivity, as it robs you of valuable time that you could use to complete tasks. The first step to breaking this unproductive tech habit is becoming aware of it and more intentional with your phone usage.
This is not to say you should stop using your phone, as it will only create a vacuum you will have to fill eventually, possibly reinforcing your mindless scrolling habit. Instead, you can occupy your time by doing more productive things with a specific purpose, such as reading or listening to podcasts.
3. Constantly Checking Emails
This more sneaky habit often masks itself as a productive one. After all, if you’re compulsively checking your email, doesn’t that mean you’re on top of things? In actuality, this unproductive tech habit is an insidious time-sucker with the potential to hurt your well-being.
So, if you constantly find yourself in your inbox, even when you know you haven’t received any email, it’s time to overcome your email addiction. The first step is to break the impulse by doing it on your terms, instead of being reactive to email triggers, like notifications.
One way to achieve this is to set specific times for checking and responding to emails and stick to them. This allows you to be more mindful about your email use and make the most of the time you spend on it.
The Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is a significant concern in our constantly connected society. FOMO is one of the most severe adverse effects of heavy social media use, which arises after you have seen a social media post that makes you feel like you’re missing out on something.
This usually leads to compulsive social media checking, as you want to stay updated on what’s happening at all times, resulting in feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, and envy. Sometimes, you might even imagine your phone vibrating in your pocket when it’s not, so you can take a quick peek at your feed.
If you find that your time on social media is taking its toll on your productivity and well-being, it might be time to take a break from it. Depending on the severity of your FOMO, this could mean anything from muting notifications to deleting your social media accounts altogether.
Phubbing (phone + snubbing) means snubbing someone in favor of your phone. This is an unsurprisingly common tech habit resulting from our over-reliance on mobile phones.
It can take many forms. In your personal life, it might manifest as ignoring your partner, friends, or family members during conversations in favor of your phone. At work, phubbing might mean not paying attention to your colleagues during meetings or presentations because you are too busy using your phone.
Whatever the setting, this habit is detrimental to your productivity since you will miss important information and your relationships, as it communicates a lack of interest and respect. So, if you’re guilty of phubbing, consider keeping your phone out of sight during conversations or setting it to silent mode, so you’re not tempted to use it.
6. Failing to Customize Notifications
Notifications are arguably one of the most useful yet disruptive features of your mobile phone and other devices. On one side of the argument, notifications help you stay on top of important information and events. On the other hand, they can be a significant distraction that pulls you away from what you’re doing.
Those endless pings, dings, and rings can quickly derail your focus and productivity. This is why it’s important to customize your notifications to maximize their usefulness while minimizing their disruptive potential. For example, you can mute notifications for entertainment apps at work and vice versa.
Additionally, if you are using an iOS device, you can set up and use Focus Modes to filter out notifications that are not relevant during specific periods. You can also leverage Notification Summary on your iPhone to bundle up notifications and deliver them at a set time.
7. Downloading Too Many Productivity Apps
This might seem counter-intuitive, but downloading too many productivity apps can actually make you less productive. There are several reasons why this is the case. For starters, you need to spend time setting up and learning how to use each app, which can quickly become overwhelming.
Next, the more apps you have, the more notifications you’ll receive, creating more context-switching opportunities. That said, investing time in picking the right app for your needs is a more productive approach than downloading multiple apps for the same purpose.
Break These Unproductive Tech Habits to Maximize Your Time, Energy, and Focus
Technology is supposed to help improve your productivity, and depending on the tech habits you have picked, it can either rise to the occasion or drag you down.
This means the onus is on you to take control of your current tech habits, ditch the unproductive ones, and cultivate those that help you maximize your time, energy, and focus.