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Technology Doesn’t Have to be a Distraction…

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Should humanity survive long enough for major evolutionary changes to our bodies to kick in, how might our use of technology affect that evolution? Will we develop eyes better suited to small type and the glare of screens? Will our thumbs become elongated to better type on keyboards or press buttons? Would our necks develop additional strength or new muscles from generations of craning down at devices? Might our brains become compartmentalized in a way that allows us to absorb information from several sources simultaneously? Of course, you and I will never know. What is known is just how unsuited our current brains are for the fact that we all walk around with the accumulated knowledge of the past 10,000+ years in a device that fits in our palm. Simultaneously, we are also walking around with brains that have evolved very little over the last few hundred thousand years. We are – to generalize – just a few degrees away from being chimpanzees, but with the power of technology, we are now as close as any species has ever become to being gods. –Quite the dichotomy. We certainly haven’t figured out how to control or temper our use of our tech. Addiction to technology and digital information is rampant. And yes, some people will claim that it’s not the same as say, an addiction to a narcotic – because it’s only ‘psychological.’ But try telling that to a 15-year-old whose phone has just been taken away from them. Their reaction would indicate it’s a traumatic experience on the level of withdrawal. Conquering tech addiction should perhaps be everyone’s long-term goal, but let’s start with a more manageable goal. Let’s start with conquering digital distractions. 

We need technology to get stuff done including, obviously, working and studying. But many of us aren’t getting much working or studying done. That’s because we get a ‘ding’ notification or a ‘ping’ email or a ‘ring’ phone call… or simply get sidelined by social media, immersed in blogs, enchanted with sports sites, or sucked into any other of the myriad rabbit holes available the seductive World Wide Web. There is a growing backlash against distraction, however, as groups of people seek solutions on how to stay focused and overcome e-interruptions. So far, one of the best solutions on offer is what is known as a blocking app, and among these, BlockSite is a standout. After a quick and free download, you can sync the app across all your devices… and then start making choices. Would you like to block YouTube – for example – from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays? –Done. Are gambling or adult content sites something that leads you astray? –Block them. You can block specific sites for specific times or the entire web for specific times. The app also comes with timers for those who like to do work in bursts, as well as scheduling features that help you better organize your day. 

The freedom of making these blocking choices can again be compared to recovering from addiction. An addict often wisely chooses to remove temptations from their immediate surroundings. It wouldn’t be impossible for say, an alcoholic, to head to the nearest liquor store and buy the substance they crave, but not having it in the house makes yielding to the urge just a little bit harder – and can be a huge step to enforcing the discipline a person desires. By blocking social media, or political commentary blogs, or sports, or video sites during times when you know you really should be working, it’s a whole lot easier to resist the urge to just check something ‘really quick’. Sure, a block isn’t irreversible, and there are always ways to cheat. But getting a little message when you “forget” and go check Instagram during a blocked time that says, “Sorry! This site is blocked! Shouldn’t you be working?” is often just what a person needs to head back to productivity. Unless your company or school has put restrictions on what parts of the web you can access (and nobody likes it when they do), you are free to waste as much time as you want. Conversely, you’re also free to get your work done and then enjoy guilt-free leisure time… play video games, read blogs, check shopping deals, or surf social media. A blocking app helps you learn that ‘work time is work time’ – while also helping you get your to-do list done, meaning you now have more free time… which hopefully you won’t all use online. Our hunter-gatherer bodies still require things like exercise and sunshine – and of course face-to-face contact with friends and family. Try using the tech of a blocking app to help you find the right work-life balance.  

Last Updated: November 24, 2021

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