You’re about to start cooking dinner when you have a question about the recipe… what can you substitute for tarragon? So you pull out your phone to type your question into Google. But what happens first? You see a new text message, notifications from 3 different apps… By the time you’ve finished checking everything out you’ve completely forgotten why you originally grabbed your phone in the first place.
Does that sound like something that’s happened to you? It’s probably happened to most of us!
Continue reading Ask Yourself These 5 Questions When You Reach for Your Phone
In theory, mindfulness sounds like the perfect solution to helping children that suffer from ADHD. Mindfulness helps us become more aware, it helps us focus, control our thoughts, and manage our emotions—things that those with ADHD have trouble with.
Today, people are trying to get away from using medication to treat their problems and turning to natural solutions like mindfulness and meditation, from pain management to anxiety disorders. People are beginning to learn that expensive (and often addictive) medications aren’t always the best answer. And parents of children with ADHD and beginning to think the same thing. So is mindfulness their answer?
Continue reading Study: Using Mindfulness to Help Children with ADHD
Technology is such an integral part of our lives, and as technology evolves and becomes more useful, it also becomes more manipulative and addictive. And the things is, the creators of these technologies know that—they design their websites or apps to work in this way. Sometimes they do it unknowingly, but more often than not it’s something that’s purposely built into the design.
If we’re not mindful about how we’re using many of the technologies that are so prevalent in our lives, then it can be easy to let it control us.
Continue reading Technology is Taking Over Minds Whether We Notice or Not
Today children are exposed to screens of all sorts from an early age: TV screens, phone screens, tablet screens, etc. A huge change from the times when the most screen-time children got was watching Saturday morning cartoons. Today we have 24/7 cartoon channels, games on phones, tablets, computers, and even devices made specifically for children. As much as we’d love for our children to get outside and play as often as we did, or sit down with a pile of building blocks and create their own entertainment for hours-on-end, that just isn’t the reality of today any longer. So what does this shift to more screen time mean for young developing minds?
Continue reading Screen Time is Changing Young Brains, but Could it be Good?
Distraction isn’t something new, throughout history humans have always been faced with distraction, but today it seems as though distraction has become a bigger issue. But why is that? A large part of it is due to technology, something that’s supposed to make our lives easier—and often times succeeds—also has the ability to make life harder by being such a huge distractor in our everyday lives.
When a notification pops up on your phone (a feature that’s supposed to be helpful) while you’re in the middle of an important task, or even in the middle of a family dinner, do you check it? If you’re like most people, then the answer is probably yes, even if for just a moment.
Continue reading Digital Distraction is Changing Our Ever-Evolving Minds
Receiving a reminder of an upcoming meeting or task from our smartphones can be a great way to remember to be somewhere to get something done on time. All too often, however, our smartphones beep, flash, and vibrate at us every few minutes to provide us with information we don’t really need. And we know that regaining our attention after such a distraction can take ten minutes or more, particularly if we were engaged in deep thought when interrupted.
Continue reading Taking Control of Notifications to Take Back Your Attention
When I first began to use email in earnest, while a student at MIT in the early 1990s, writing and reading emails had much the same feeling as writing and reading handwritten letters. By far the easiest way to write an email was to go to one of a small number of computer clusters on campus and log in to a computer terminal. The people I sent email messages to were few and far between, and they also had relatively infrequent access to an email-enabled computer. So if you sent an email to someone, you expected that they might not read it and respond for at least a few days, if not much longer. All of this encouraged the writing of messages that were relatively long and that provided information that could be quite out of date, much like a handwritten letter.
Continue reading Making Email Slow Again
The workaholics among us (I can count myself in that group too much of the time) often feel that taking a break is a sign of weakness, or at least will reduce our productivity. In reality, and perhaps counter intuitively, taking breaks can help you to rejuvenate and regain your focus, and thereby increase your overall effectiveness and productivity, whether the work you are doing is physical, mental, or a combination of both.
Continue reading Take a Break to Stay Focused
Although we’d all like to have such a high degree of self-control that we don’t need any external aids to keep ourselves focused and present when using technology, in practice we can all use a little help. There are a variety of apps you can use to resist technological temptation by making it impossible (or at least very difficult) to succumb to that temptation. Some good examples are:
Continue reading Protecting Yourself Against Yourself: Blocking Apps for Focus
I can’t count how many times I have heard the following responses to a complaint about how technology can distract us:
- “You can’t turn back the clock.”
- “If you find it distracting, just turn it off.”
- “It’s the price we pay for the benefits of technology.”
Continue reading Technological Distractions are a Bug, Not a Feature