How to Get Away from Technology and Back to Work

As college students, most of us have experienced the ever-daunting ‘real world’. It’s a world decorated with cubicles, free coffee, swivel chairs, company email addresses, fancy new clothes (that Mom still helped pay for), and technology. According to the US Department of Commerce, in 2011, 62% of people used the internet as an essential function of their day-to-day job *jaw drop*, and I think we can all assume it’s only gone up since then. So how do you keep you eye on the prize (your work) and off of the distractions (Facebook, Buzzfeed, Gmail, Petfinder, Youtube, etc., etc., etc.) without becoming pathetic like Tom (check out Tom below)?

A lot like Tom, I would be lost without easy access to technology. I’m so in love with my technology that I frequently go to the Facebook app on my phone without even realizing it. I’m so in love with my phone I’ll check Instagram, close the app, reopen, look at the same pictures, and repeat once more before realizing I’ve even done it. I’m so in love with my laptop that, at the moment, my charger is broken, but I still choose to spend valuable battery time getting lost in my best friends ex-boyfriends new girlfriends profile pictures from four years ago on Facebook. But, enough about my obsessions.. I’m sure we’d all be like Tom in some way if technology were ripped out from under us.

So, how do we avoid it? Check out these three easy tips for avoiding technological distractions while at work.

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1. Treat Yo Self: A great way to begin your ‘technology cleanse’ at work is to take small breaks after successful periods of actual work. For example, if you work efficiently for 30 minutes, allow yourself a quick scroll through your news feed before returning back to work. Make a plan so you can slowly ween yourself off of the distracting social network platforms and websites you use. Obviously, you should only use social media or websites unrelated to work if that complies with you company’s internet and technology policy.

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2. Get Rid of the Option: How can you distract yourself with technology if the option isn’t even there? Thanks to the wonderful technological geniuses of the modern world we have ways to waste time and apps to prevent us from wasting time. This solution is simple and effective if you’re looking to quit your addiction like cold turkey. Some applications you can use to block certain sites for a pre-determined amount of time include: Leechblock, Stay Focused, and Concentrate. These are just a few of the many options that allow you to do work instead of wasting time! Most depend on what internet browser you use; so, do your research!

3. Humiliate Yourself Track Your Time Spent Online: A study by Pew Research Center showed that 98% of 18 to 29-year-olds used their phones to avoid boredom at some point! 98%! That’s an insane amount of people! As we all learned in class, the best way to limit your personal use of social media and technology is to track how much you actually use it. Yikes! So keep a list, track your use for an entire week. At the end of the week, go back and reflect on your use and try to keep that in mind whenever you pick up your phone or open the internet at work.

If you try these tactics, you’ll be on your way to a life free of distracting websites and juicy Facebook gossip. Look at it this way, it’ll give you more to do after work. Work on, people!

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11 thoughts on “How to Get Away from Technology and Back to Work

  1. I absolutely love this post and the references to Parks and Rec. I was astounded when you said that 62% of people use the internet as an essential function of their daily job– it is incredible just how important technology has become to our careers. I too struggle with the distraction of social media, and prior to the social media usage log assignment, I hadn’t realized just how much of an issue it is. I like the idea you post about treating yourself with social media after working for a period of time. We become so reliant on social media that we tend to “abuse” it, if you will, taking for granted the power that it possesses and the time that it consumes. By limiting our access and time spent on social media, I think that we can become more efficient with our work and more appreciative of social media.

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  2. This is a great blog post reminding all of us that there is work to be done! I understand it is hard to keep off of social media if your job involves posting to social media or even having access to the internet. Even though I am in the medical field, I am online with sites that pertain only to patient diagnosis access and info….but everyone still sneaks a peak at what their friends and family are posting. I love the humor about your obsessiveness on social media, but finding ways to limit yourself by taking breaks is a great idea!

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  3. This post is too real! I also am super obsessed with checking social media while I should be doing work. It’s actually pretty hard for me to avoid it because it is literally my job to run an organization’s social media, so I need to look at what similar organizations are posting. However, I think these practices translate very well to everyday life also. As you pointed out, many people use their phone as a way to avoid boredom, and I don’t think that is particularly very healthy. I really like the idea of treating yourself after getting work done for a certain amount of time, and I think I’ll try it today.

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  4. Great blog post! The medium and tone of a blog is perfect for the audience… people who are always online and need to focus on work. Your three tips are great, and I think the apps that actually help you limit your distractions are really cool; I didn’t know those existed.

    Also, the 98% of people who have used social media to avoid boredom… My sister left the table at a restaurant for three minutes the other day and my phone was dead, and I felt so uncomfortable just sitting there with nothing to scroll through!

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  5. First off, I really appreciate your use of Tom Haverford in this post. He embodies what all of us wish we weren’t (but unfortunately are) in terms of our social media obsession.

    I have tried the “Treat Yo Self” method in the past, and it just hasn’t worked for me. I have very poor self restraint. That’s why your second piece of advice is a much better option for me. I have personally never tried any of those sites, but I have a few friends that swear by them. I didn’t know any of the website titles, so thank you for listing some options! I’m currently trying out Stay Focused on my computer and I’ve made it almost a whole 30 minutes without cheating and checking my phone!!! Baby steps.

    I really liked the conversational way this post is written. This type of writing is so much easier and enjoyable to read (especially in a blog, which are mostly meant to be conversational). It’s sometimes hard to test the waters with using your own humor in writing because you never know if people will think what you think is funny, but I think your humor came across as funny and friendly.

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  6. This is a post that really hits home for me! Over the summer I had my first taste of the real world working an office setting with my own cubicle. It was so difficult to fight the urge to check Facebook or wander into the abyss that is Buzzfeed. I opted for suggestion #1. After I completed a task, I would hop on Buzzfeed for a small break.

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  7. This was such an informative post! I am always distracted by technology while I am trying to study or work at my internship. It is so interesting how attached our generation is to our smartphones, and it makes me wonder what it is going to be like for the generations below us.

    I always try and find hacks on how to concentrate and eliminate technology when studying, but these were so helpful! I didn’t know apps that help you stay focused existed, I am definitely going to try those. The Internet and technology are both such important parts of our lives that we don’t realize how much we rely on them throughout the day. Overall, great article and useful tips.

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  8. I think you have a very good point that using social media and browsing the internet for personal reasons while at work is an issue and a habit that one should try to curb. However, I’m a little confused by your tie-in to the Department of Commerce information you referenced. Isn’t that statistic saying that 62% of Americans use the internet for their actual work, as opposed to instead of their actual work? For example, I used to work for an insurance company and part of my job was doing internet searches which often led me to LinkedIn profiles.

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  9. Haha, I actually laughed out loud while reading this! You’re a wonderful writer and this oozes Buzzfeed material, which means I really enjoyed reading this. You make a solid point of eliminating the option, or as I like to call it, going “social cold turkey”. I gave up Instagram for Lent and have completely deleted the app from my phone. I know I would not be able to stay off it, if it were still an easily accessible app. Once ditching the app, it’s amazing to see how much less time I’m on my phone, how much more sleep I get, AND how much longer my battery lasts.

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  10. This post is so accurate. What normally happens to me is that I use my phone so much and wear out the battery, so it just dies and I’m forced to concentrate on my work. Maybe I should get one of those apps to save my phone. This post has an entertaining tone and was so easy to read, it ended too soon!

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