How to make technology work for you, instead of the other way around

It’s hardly news that technology can help us improve productivity, well-being, and countless other aspects of life. However, it can just as easily distract people, inspire negative habits, and waste a lot of time. Making the most of these gadgets and their vast powers and not letting them divert attention makes a huge difference. So, how do we achieve this?

Get rid of unnecessary notifications

Having a smart device usually means living in a flurry of various alerts. Every few minutes, there’s ringing and buzzing and a pop-up from some app that wants attention. How many of these apps and notifications are actually important?
Most apps and devices let users disable these alerts. There’s often a “do not disturb” mode that blocks all non-essential notifications. Also, it’s usually possible to either manually select which alerts come through or deactivate them all. This way, we can reclaim our focus and make sure that relevant things like work emails don’t drown in a sea of distractions.

How to make technology work for you, instead of the other way around

Leverage the power of apps

These days, there really is an app for practically everything. Almost any goal can be reached more easily with the help of the right app. From fitness and time management to self-care and learning languages, there are countless ways to make apps work for us.

What makes them so useful? For one, there’s the convenience of always having a helpful tool within arm’s reach and a click or tap away. Plus, the ability to schedule things and get frequent reminders can be a game-changer. Also, there’s the element of gamification, which has many proven benefits. By giving the user various rewards and incentives, these apps can increase motivation and consistency.

How to make technology work for you, instead of the other way around

Declutter the interface

The flip-side is that people often end up with a bunch of excess software that does no good. In addition to slowing down computers and phones, it also distracts the user from what’s important and increases the time it takes to find things.
Whether we’re talking about a physical desk or the interface of a device, it’s important to keep things tidy and regularly get rid of stuff that only wastes space. In both cases, it’s common to find things that have been forgotten but nonetheless act as distractions. Uninstalling useless apps, sorting and deleting old documents, and closing excess tabs help to restore focus and effectivity.

Arrange things by importance

If an activity has nothing to do with a phone, why should a phone be within reach? And why should a work device’s home pages or start menu put games and social media a mere click away? There’s a lot to gain by making sure that the relevant technology is always within immediate reach while the distracting stuff is out of sight.

A smartphone home screen usually displays what the user reaches for out of boredom and what the developer thinks they should see. It doesn’t take much time to stick those attention-grabbing and irrelevant icons in a folder out of sight and put the useful ones up front, but it can save lots of time in the long run. In addition to streamlining workflow, it gives more time to consider whether opening that distracting app is really such a good idea.

How to make technology work for you, instead of the other way around

Social media

Perhaps the biggest divider right now is social media. While it has many uses and benefits, it’s also exceptionally distracting. In fact, these platforms are designed to grab people’s attention and get them to engage as much as possible. It blurs the lines between us using technology and technology using us.

It’s easy to fix these problems. By sorting through what we follow, limiting newsfeeds, and turning off notifications, we reclaim our control over our social media usage. By improving these profiles and curating the content, it’s also possible to make them work for us.

Working with technology or working for technology?

The whole point of technology is to make things easier for people, not the other way around. And while the default settings of many modern gadgets and apps are designed to pull our strings to some degree, this is generally easy to fix. One of the best things about modern tech is the ability to customize just about anything. So, it’s often as simple as thinking a bit about what could be better and how to make it that way. Implementing those changes is all it takes to make tech work for us.