How limited technology use can improve your lifestyle

Margaret Zhang | Conant Crier

While providing connectivity and entertainment, the emergence of technology and social media has had a bit of a negative effect on society. Constantly scrolling through Twitter and checking notifications occupies hours of people’s lives; using technology in its various forms has really turned into an addiction that is hard to drop. By working towards limited technology use and easing off of social media, you can make some significant improvements to your lifestyle.

Increase Productivity

Procrastination can get the best of us. Whether it’s studying for a test or working on a major assignment, we convince ourselves that putting things off a little longer is okay. More often than not, we are consuming some form of media instead of focusing on the task at hand. I have seen my ten-minute breaks stretch over an hour as I fall down the inevitable spiral of YouTube videos.   

Self control is definitely necessary to get work done, and logging out of social media is considerably one of the easiest approaches. To remove the temptation of opening an app, log out or even delete it off of your phone. In all honesty, once you get into the app, there’s no knowing how long it will be before you can focus back into your work. Turning off your phone could also be helpful as it genuinely eliminates the source of distractions. Allow yourself to focus on the task at hand so that you can enjoy your free time later on.

Study breaks, however, are necessary to promote productivity, so try to find alternatives to reaching for your phone. You could create an incentive system for yourself: for every task that you complete, you can watch one video on YouTube. But again, it circles back to self control. Exercise is a great way to take a break from working because not only is it good for you body physically, but mentally as well. As you work out, your body release endorphins, helping to reduce stress levels. Afterwards you will feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Improve sleep

It is not uncommon for a scroll through social media to be part of your bedtime routine; going on Twitter until my eyes feel heavy is something that I myself am guilty of. However, using an electronic device an hour before bed can actually have a significant effect on your quality of sleep.

According to an article from Harvard Health, the blue light emitted by phone screens decreases secretion of melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is a hormone that aids in the regulation of our bodies sleep-wake cycles, or circadian rhythms. A disruption of circadian rhythms can result in feelings of fatigue and sleep deprivation. However, with the temptation of social media gone, you have the opportunity to significantly improve your quality of sleep.

High school students are sleep-deprived as it is, so actively contributing to low-quality sleep is not in your best interest. Try substituting time on your phone with a more conducive activity in your nighttime routine. Reading a book or meditating will help your mind and body wind down and get you relaxed before falling asleep. Journaling, a personal favorite, is also a great alternative that allows you to reflect on your day and get a peace of mind. You should notice a difference in the quality of sleep if you are putting your phone away at least an hour before bed. Your quality of sleep will improve, you’ll be less prone to headaches, and those heavy feelings of exhaustion will hopefully be minimized.

Rediscover old hobbies…or find new ones

Social media–and technology in general–has undoubtedly consumed our free time. As a child, I used to read hours on end, but that was quickly replaced by YouTube and Netflix as I got older, and I’m sure many can relate to this. Drawing back from technology use can provide the opportunity to rediscover your old hobbies, and even pick up some new ones.

Instead of spending hours switching between the same few apps, do something you have always been meaning to try, such as baking, painting, playing a new sport; the options are limitless. Once you find something you enjoy, it can replace time spent using technology in your daily routine. Going on your phone for prolonged periods of time can often make you feel fatigued and make your brain a bit foggy. But taking part in different activities can keep your mind active.

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