Focus Friday – Take Time to Unplug

un plug, productivityToday, we have more distractions in our lives than ever before. Is technology making matters worse?

A recent article in the New York Times suggests just that. Our dependence on technology is altering the way we think, and is reducing our ability to focus. This excerpt from the article summarizes the argument:

“Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.”

Are all of the inputs in our lives, a majority of which are digital, actually contradicting their stated purpose of making us more productive? In the big picture this might be true. Please take time to read this whole piece, but first let’s dive into some ways we can reduce the effects of “digital distraction.”

Here are three tips for regaining focus today:

1) Write your goals

Make the number one, overarching plan for your life a written statement. Take pen and paper, set aside plenty of time, and be deliberate and focused. By making your master plan a living document you are fighting back against the need for instant-gratification.

2) Unplug yourself

Set aside time each workday, and even more on weekends, and push yourself away from the monitor, the laptop, and the mobile devices. Stop your multitasking. The more you gain independence from digital influences, the more power you will have to focus on what’s important.

3) Live in analog

Make an effort to communicate in analog. Reach out to others — and yourself — and speak, write, and read in ways that have a personal connectivity. This will enable your mind to have closure as you physically see the consequences of the words you choose, and you’ll enjoy the flexibility of real-time communication. You’ll be amazed what you accomplish in this focused time.

Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price [New York Times]

Are you losing focus at the risk of technology? Please comment and tell us your thoughts.

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at