From stock trading to steer raising, the availability of data and the digital revolution have made almost all professions more productive, allowing us to do more things in less time. Great, you might be saying, but my head still feels like it's about to explode.
By ingesting, processing and acting on more and more information nearly anywhere and at any time, modern workers may accomplish more, but the human brain has its limits according to a post by Celestine Chua on blog Dumb Little Man. Being constantly plugged in can lead us to feel more and more distracted (or more distractible, according to authors like Nicholas Carr, who argue that the constant interruptions of technology is giving us attention issues) and can erode the productivity these tools were designed to boost.
So what's the solution? An occasional digital detox, suggests Chua, who prescribes daily short breaks from the flow of information. Here are her six steps to clear the digital clutter -- and your mind:
- Know what exactly you want to do online. Without clear intentions, you can be easily distracted by the barrage of things online. Write a list of things you want to do that can only be done online. Then, follow this list and strike each item off once it's completed. If you come across something online that's not in your list, that's a distraction and you should ignore it.
- Disconnect when you're done. Once your work online is done, you can disconnect and work on your priorities. While some of us may feel uneasy disconnecting, remember you do that every day. Think about how you go to sleep daily and things are fine when you wake up. That's 5-8 hours of dis-connectivity right there! So don't worry about missing out on things when you go offline.
- Get away from your desk. If you want, get a change in environment. Different environments can trigger different ideas.
- Work on your priorities during the break. This is a great time to read on the books you've been meaning to read, brainstorm ideas and think about the long term plans you've been putting off.
- Go with the flow. Since there are no distractions you'll find ideas emerging readily. Explore each of them. Chances are you'll get some really amazing ideas that you've never considered before. Some of my biggest breakthrough ideas come when I'm away from the web.
- Wrap up with clear action steps. After you are done, pen down your next steps before you get back online. This way, you'll be going in with a clear direction on what to do next. You might get bombarded with other messages when you go online, but follow this list and you'll be fine.
- Everything You Know About Productivity is Wrong
- Where Did Our Productivity Go?
- NYT Says Multitasking No Good for Productivity. I Say Bull.