The Age of Technology

Technology is incredibly convenient in many different ways. It provides an efficient method of long-distance communication, it allows for widespread access to information, and it’s a cool place to share our selfies. But as amazing as technology is, it also can be extremely distracting. Maybe not everyone feels this way, but I know firsthand that technology can be an impediment to productivity. I don’t think I could ever accurately claim that I’ve found a solution to that, but over the last few years I’ve learned some ways to manage technology-related distractions.

Because I have only about a half-teaspoon’s worth of self-control, reducing technological distractions was not easy. At some point I thought I should cut it out entirely – do not do that! Apart from the obvious reasons why a student should need technology (to access MyMcGill, to write up reports, to research), even its more “distracting” sites can be beneficial. For example, Facebook has been a useful tool in finding extracurricular activities for me. Rather than cut it out completely, here are some ways that I’ve found helpful in minimizing technology-based distractions.

  1. If studying, study in groups. This doesn’t work for everyone, but when someone else is there and can see what you’re up to, it tends to make you feel more motivated to actually get things done. If you find friends distracting when studying, study at home but “with someone else” – skype study dates, or text a good friend and mutually plan on a study time. Even if they’re not physically there, the act of telling someone that you are going to complete certain tasks makes you accountable to it.
  2. Use a time-managing app. There are many apps that help guide your studying and are free to download. They tend to give you around 25 minutes of studying and then a 5-minute break.
  3. Use pen and paper as much as possible. Unless you’re writing a report or are incredibly short on time, try use the regular old notebook version of taking notes. Given that practically everything else you do is on the computer, this at least provides your brain with a little break from screen time.
  4. This one isn’t so much a tool on improving productivity as it is a general tool for your computer. Most of us probably stay up too late on our computers, with the screen brightness being somewhat of a nuisance. Apps such as “flux” help adjust the screen of your computer to the timing/environment, so that the screen isn’t as harmful in the evening. In addition, the change in screen colour is pretty noticeable the later it gets, which serves as a gentle reminder to finish up your work quickly and go to sleep.
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