In our last article, we covered some ways to add biohacking to your office routine in order to boost productivity, focus, and mental and physical energy while at work.
This time, we’ll build on those ideas by looking at a few ways to supplement your efforts with technology.
Yes technology is often the source of complication and distraction, despite its promises to make our lives easier. But there are ways to eliminate the negatives and to make use of tech in the way it was intended – as a means of simplifying your work and improving your productivity.
COMBAT DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS
One of the best examples of technology’s negative impact on our focus and well-being is the proliferation of notifications. Does your phone chirp every time something even remotely related to you happens on social media? Is your computer screen flashing you a message whenever the latest advertising email comes to you?
Digital distractions like these can have a major impact on your productivity. They aren’t just taking your eyes away from the screen momentarily, they’re throwing your train of thought right off its tracks.
And every time, you have to get it all started again. Even if you just glance at a notification for a second, how much time does it take you to get back on task again? Those precious seconds add up – there are some productivity experts who claim that workplace distractions can waste 40% to 60% of the day.
The best way to combat digital distractions is simple: turn off all but the most important notifications on your phone and computer. This will cut down on the noise immediately, and make it easier for you to maintain focus and get things done.
Distracting notifications pile up far too easily. Clear them out to clear your mind.
Disabling notifications is usually easy to do – just find the appropriate settings menu and make your selection. Most devices will let you pick exactly what apps are allowed to send notifications. Our advice is to choose as few as possible, to minimize distractions throughout the day.
You may be able to strip out more distractions than you think. For example – do you really need to know when you receive a new email, or can you find out the next time you deliberately check your inbox?
Additionally, if you’re headed into a meeting or need to dedicate time to being totally focused on a project, take advantage of your phone’s Do Not Disturb mode. This will mute all non-emergency notifications, and it’s a great way to block out time where you can avoid interruptions completely.
STRUCTURE YOUR WORKING TIME
Adding a definitive structure to your workday can work wonders for your productivity levels. Consider using the Pomodoro technique to shape your work day. This productivity timer divides your day into half-hour blocks, called Pomodoros (the Italian word for tomato, because the inventor of the technique used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to track his time).
Each Pomodoro consists of 25 minutes working, followed by a 5-minute break. After the fourth Pomodoro, you take a 15-minute break. This creates pattern of intense focus interspersed with short breaks to help your brain rest and reset, and it’s an extremely effective way to work.
And those 5-minute breaks are a perfect time to work in some of the biostacks we talked about building in our last article.
ENLIST SOME HELPFUL APPS
It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes finding our way to better living in this tech-addicted world means adding some additional tech to the mix.
If you need a little help with maintaining focus and organization during your working sessions, give FocusList and Forest a look. Each adds to the basic idea of the Pomodoro with incentives to stay on task. In Forest, for example, you plant a virtual tree that grows and flourishes only if you stay on task. Plant enough virtual trees, and Forest will even plant a real-world tree through Trees for the Future.
Even if you’re not ready to commit to timing your work with Pomodoro, you should consider making it harder for yourself to be distracted. Add the Chrome Extension StayFocusd to stop yourself from visiting distracting sites on your computer, and pair it with Freedom to do the same on your phone and tablet. Both apps give your self-control a boost by making it harder to visit distracting websites when you should be working.
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Adding more tech doesn’t always have to add complication, as these apps show. But the real trick is to find the pieces that work for you, and to create a routine that gets results.
Experiment by combining the tech tips from this article with your favorite workplace biohacks until you create an ideal system for yourself. In the end, your goal will be to minimize productivity-sapping distractions while maximizing focus and energy.
Keep experimenting until you find what works for you – then be sure to share your routine with the rest of the tribe here at Clear Impact Biohacking!