Friday, August 14, 2015

Using Technology For You

Most of us feel that technology intrudes on our life, especially in the area of work life balance. There is an expectation to respond to seemingly endless alerts and messages that come through. We have a range of apps that need continuous updating. Rather than technology making life simpler it feels like it has created more distraction, even demands in our life. 

I have spent a lot of my career understanding what 'convenience' means in our busy lives. The shift over time has gone from 'options' to 'simplify'. In other words people were looking for more options to suit their needs and lifestyle resulting in more solutions and choices, which has switched to a current need to prioritise and focus. We are feeling overstimulated, unable to keep up with the latest, struggling to identify what is best for us.

I thought I would share in my next few blogs some ways that I am using technology to help simplify my life and help me focus on things that matter. What prompted all of this has been a focus on 'mindfulness' amongst my friends and colleagues. Feeling the need to be more mindful in how I go about my days, the first thing I thought was I must download an app. The reality for me though is that's where a lot of my good intentions for using technology for my personal benefit end. An app downloaded which I use once or twice. Why?.. I need an app to remind me to use the app. 

I rethought what makes sense for me. Here's some smart phone tips I have used to be more mindful in achieving personal goals. Given they are making a difference for me I wanted to pass on.

1) Use the location setting in reminders on your iphone: I have used this as a simple pop-up 
reminder when I am at home or work to do something. It works for me because it happens automatically when I arrive somewhere. I can take action at the place it needs to happen. It's a great way to set up a new ritual eg. pack gym bag, take vitamins. Even for personal reflection questions  eg.  You're home now are you present?, What did you  learn today? Or List the top things you want to achieve this week

2) Get to know Siri or use voice messages: Apart from saving time, it's quick and easy to talk to Siri or dictate to get things out of your head. You can save your thoughts and know that you won't lose them. Siri is great for setting reminders too with little effort. 

3) Use emojis, photos, music, memes: Make your personal goals stand out by using visual or audible cues. It makes them more fun. I use the location reminder at the gym when I leave to bring up a 'Wow I regret that workout said no-one ever' message with a happy face. It always makes me smile. 

4) Turn off notifications and/or use the Do Not Disturb feature: Create less distractions by managing phone notifications.  Under the setting menu on iPhones you can go into notifications and choose by app which ones you want to receive notification updates for and more importantly whether you want to see them on the lock screen. You can also put your iPhone on Do Not Disturb manually for a short period of time so you won't receive messages or you can schedule times in. You can allow calls from certain contacts, for example your family members, in case of emergencies. These are great features to utilise when you are wanting to focus without interruptions.

5) Group apps together and/or move them into the quick reference bar at the bottom of the screen: if you downloaded an app or apps you want to use for personal goals group them together and place the group along the bottom bar of your device. It will remind you of your goals as they will be in sight often. It may also help you use these, especially when you first download. 

These are just a few ways I am using my smart phone in a smart way to be more focused. I'm sure there are many other creative and clever ideas out there. I would like to hear about any other ideas you may have.  Please let us all know.

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