A few tips to take back control of your time and attention in a connected world

Photo: Esgizu Yeniocak. Edited: Amanda Rodg.

It is not a secret that the Silicon Valley has us hooked. Attention is the new gold, and a small group of people is making billions of euro a year while we stare at screens. They are the owners of apps that have the power to suck all our attention and get us scrolling mindlessly through feeds. No wonder the creators of these apps prohibit their own creation in their houses.

Some of those creators/owners have realised the negative influence their products have in our lives and joined forces to create the Centre of Humane Technology. They want to increase individual’s wellbeing teaching people how to have a healthier relationship with their devices. The CHT team is formed by Tristan Harris, ex-Google; Aza Raskin, son of Jef Raskin, the man behind Macintosh; and many other tech bosses. 

They explain perfectly how social media hacks our brains to keep us scrolling: makes the trivial urgent; make you multitask; play with fear and anxiety, and tells you what you want to hear. It is past the time that we change this relationship and make it healthier, bringing more benefits than harm. Here are a few tips:

1. Turn off notifications on your devices: instead of having your phone beeping every five seconds, make it silent, so you set a time of your day to check emails, whatsapp, etc. Checking your phone every single time it gets a notification makes you a slave of the device.

2. Don’t bring it to bed: this is extremely hard, but if you’re able to keep devices away in bed your life quality will improve exponentially. Put it in a drawer, or somewhere you can’t see it. Find another bedtime habit such as reading, knitting, or simply reflecting on your day.

3. Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning: again, this is very hard, but it takes up a lot of precious time. It’s not rare to see people waking up and scrolling for 2 or 3 hours and being late.

There are many more things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep, your attention, and your time. Here are more suggestions on how to take control of your device and not let it control you.

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