Software

Digital Dilemmas: Help! Constant connectivity is making it impossible to think

From alerts to updates to email: How to get the upper hand

...an app for that?

Distractions and distractability

Today's time-poor digital worker can't avoid sending the odd email from bed or putting the finishes touches to a presentation at the airport - file that under 'going the extra mile'.

But what's a digital worker to do to get a bit of a respite? It's not possible to answer every email, read every text, take every phone call and parse every tweet flying your way. Don't even try. That way madness lies.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to kill connectivity. The internet is invaluable. In countless ways it enables workers to get stuff done. However, the convenience of digital comes with a cost: let's call it distractability.

As more devices get smart (connected) and more services get social (connected to others), the number of digital distractions is multiplying like gremlins in a swimming pool.

The more distractions there are, the more distracted we become. Even when we're not being directly distracted we exist in a state of distractability: on edge, distracted by the sense we're about to be distracted - perpetually alert for something important to (finally) come winging in.

Make no mistake: this is war. It's a fight for mind share. A phalanx of head-space invaders is blasting away at your ability to get stuff done. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

facebook break

Is it time to take a break from digital distractions?Image: Shutterstock

Trying to stay on top of all these communications is not heroic, it's idiotic. It's time to take the fight to the digital foe - wrest control away from the gadgets and show these upstart services who's boss (reminder: that means you).

Service your services

Not signing up to every web alert on the internet is a great start. If you've already signed your life away, don't despair. Take a day out to conduct a proper digital audit of everything you're plugged in to and then prune this list right back.

If you miss a service after it's stopped being your stalker, you can always invite it back into your life again.

Never be afraid to sever digital ties because it's all too easy to get knotted again. Try having a Facebook break one week. You can return again the next, as if you never really went away.

Apps rhymes with tax. Sort of...

Mobile apps are another digital distraction that, vampire-like, that we've been asking in to our lives.

They're small, they're colourful, loads of them are free. Why not shovel them onto our handsets like pick 'n' mix into a bucket, without a care in the world?

Not so fast. There is a cost even if the app itself is free. If every time you fire up your phone it slaps you with 350 pending updates consider it a tax on your attention.

It's time to weed out the apps you don't use - send them hurling back...

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