Balancing the Onslaught of Technology with Productivity

Posted on October 15, 2012 by

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Personally, I’ve been in a bit of a slump. Everything outside seems gloomy since the rain came, and everything inside seems to have some correlation to work. The only problem is that there appears to be a constant stream of work to do that so overwhelming that I just want to procrastinate all of it. And, trust me, I have. There’s a science project and Age of Ex. project to research, math tests to study for, English papers to write, and foreign language vocabulary to memorize. Along with extracurricular activities and sports practices, it’s a wonder how adolescents finish all of their homework on time! Of course, there are also computer distractions, which to seem to be my biggest problem.

When I open my computer, I know there are usually at least 6 programs open, each with something I’m working on or am supposed to remember, like Microsoft Word for printing a lab report, Google Chrome to remember to cite a reference, or Excel to memorize all of my math formulas. Especially in the current day and age, it’s easy for students to get distracted by applications and widgets such as solitaire or Photo Booth. Once I actually reach the Internet, there are social media sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Youtube to stop or hinder productivity. Also, as a music lover, I always play music from the radio, Spotify, Pandora,or iTunes and get distracted by the commercial breaks. Plus, if the song playing is especially catchy, I sometimes find myself singing along instead of working on the project at hand.

Now, what can I do about all of these distractions to be more productive and finish homework sooner, and most importantly, get more sleep? Sometimes, studying styles don’t work for everyone. The most important objective is to learn what works for you and what doesn’t, so you don’t spend time procrastinating or not working to the highest potential and efficiency.

The first thing to do is to discover what is slowing progress. For me, it is electronic distractions such as games, websites,music, and jumping icons. For others, it may be something else like friends, family, or fatigue. The next step is to think of ways to avoid these issues. One way I avoid distractions is by going to a library alone. I know that if I go to a common area or stay in my room, I feel less obligated to study and be quiet, and therefore be less productive. Plus, libraries always have great resources for students. Another suggestion is that if you have something that needs to be done such as printing a paper or citing a website, just do it! If you do it when you think of it, you won’t need to deal with the distraction and worry later. In addition, you cut out the procrastination! Recently, I’ve found that writing papers and reflections on paper give me more of a chance to think about what I am writing rather than get distracted by looking something up or checking a social media site. At first, it seems to take more time, but I feel that what I produce is of higher quality than if I write it on a computer. Also, turning off the music for a bit can be helpful. Often, it can be nice white noise, but if you find yourself frequently singing along, it may not help you be as productive as possible. Perhaps lyric-less music, such as Classical, is a good alternative, unless it makes you sleepy.

Speaking of sleep, sometimes taking a short 10 to 20-minute nap can be refreshing. Studies show that taking short naps can improve productivity and memory. According to a researcher at UC Berkley, the period between the state of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Deep Sleep is when the brain moves all of the information on the hippocampus, or the short term memory, to the prefrontal cortex. This means that after you take a nap, you will be more likely to retain new information and be more productive.e be less productive. Plus, libraries always have great resources for students. Another suggestion is that if you have something that needs to be done such as printing a paper or citing a website, just do it! If you do it when you think of it, you won’t need to deal with the distraction and worry later. In addition, you cut out the procrastination! Recently, I’ve found thatwriting papers and reflections on paper give me more of a chance to think about what I am writing rather than get distracted by looking something up or checking a social media site. At first, it seems to take more time, but I feel that what I produce is of higher quality than if I write it on a computer. Also, turning off the music for a bit can be helpful. Often, it can be nice white noise, but if you find yourself frequently singing along, it may not help you be as productive as possible. Perhaps lyric-less music, such as Classical, is a good alternative, unless it makes you sleepy.

There are more tips on taking the perfect nap at this site.

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Works Cited:

Anwar, Yasmin. An Afternoon Nap Markedly Boosts the Brain’s Learning Capacity. 22 February 2010. 13 October 2012 <http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2010/02/22/naps_boost_learning_capacity/&gt;.

Medical Billing & Coding. The Surprising Science Behind Napping. 12 September 2012. 13 October 2012 <http://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/blog/the-surprising-science-behind-napping/&gt;.

Image Sources:

No Social Media: http://www.redneckmarketers.com/images/no_social_media.png

Library: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/BOOKS/Pix/pictures/2010/12/30/1293714923120/Library-007.jpg

Sleeping: http://www.bemorewithless.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/iStock_000010376353XSmall.jpg

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Posted in: Learning, Technology