Everything You Need to Know About Digital Discipline
You may have to look at how you use technology...
Is it hard to find even a little bit of excitement every day? Is it difficult to complete all the tasks on your to-do list? Are you feeling unmotivated and sluggish?
If the answer is yes, then your screen time might have something to do with it.
The time you spend online has a direct impact on your life offline. So, if you spend hours re-watching your favourite show on Netflix or lose yourself down a TikTok rabbit hole, it’s possible your offline time will not be very productive or positive.
I know it’s hard to completely cut technology out of your life, we are surrounded by it! But what you can do is; control how and why you use technology.
Passive vs conscious digital use
The time you spend online or using digital devices falls into one of two categories; passive and conscious digital use.
The main difference between passive and conscious digital use is how we engage our brains.
Passive digital use means that you are not actively interacting with whatever media you are consuming. Okay you might like the show you are streaming or you might comment on the posts you see while hopping between social media platforms, but the active part of your brain doesn’t actually have to work.
When you make a habit of passively engaging with technology, you let your impulses take over and desensitise your internal rewards systems, that’s how you end up watching TikToks until 2 am because you’re going to watch “just one more”. Too much passive screen time can also make us feel flat and have a lack of excitement in our lives. We have basically become dependent on easy digital happiness.
Conscious, or disciplined digital use, requires your brain to actively interact with whatever it is you are doing online. Tasks such as checking emails or researching a specific topic are pretty simple examples.
Conscious digital use is not all work. You can use social media or watch Netflix while still consciously engaging with technology, as long as you are aware of why you are on these platforms and you have a specific task to complete. When you get sidetracked and end up binge-watching three seasons of Pretty Little Liars is when you know you’ve gone too far.
How to be digitally disciplined
In order to reset your brain and become less dependent on getting a sense of achievement from technology, you need to start practicing digital discipline.
Digital discipline means taking control of your online habits and managing how you spend your time.
Here are some ways you can help yourself be more digitally disciplined;
1) Buy an alarm clock; If you have an alarm clock, you can avoid using your phone before bed and in the morning when you wake up.
2) Call your friends; Make it a point to call your friends instead of texting or DM-ing them, this takes more concentration and will actually make the conversation more meaningful.
3) Only access certain websites or platforms from your computer: You can access most social media platforms on your laptop. So, get those social media apps off your phone. This way there will be less chance of you falling into the mobile trap of meaningless scrolling.
4) Turn off notifications: Notifications draw our attention to the technology we are trying to avoid. So for all those apps you want to cut down on, you can try to turn off the notifications, so you have to consciously check in with these platforms.
5)Set targets for yourself throughout the day: Set goals to motivate yourself to stay off your phone and other devices. For example, “I don’t look at my phone first thing in the morning” or “I don’t check emails outside of work hours”. Start off small and build yourself up to your end goal.
Remember, changing behavioural habits can be really difficult, so start off with some small changes. We all love a cheeky scroll at the end of the day, but it can be good to try a bit of a technology cut down every now and then.
Plus, it means when you do log on, you’ll enjoy the content even more for the time you have it.
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