Collectively, we put a premium on productivity and time management. Probably due to the cascade of stimuli vying for our attention. We’re pulled in every direction from texts, social media alerts, and news that keeps us distracted from the real work we should be doing. Distractions have always existed but are now more effervescent due to the sheer volume of information. We construct these distractions out of fear– fear of missing out. We dread missing out on the conversation. A conversation that doesn’t need us. But we stay with it, despite the drops in our sanity and mental health. Unbeknownst to us, how we interact with media is doing more harm than good.
Part of personal wellness is to detox ourselves from the clutter. We want to cleanse our minds to win back our focus. That is our responsibility to remain civilized.
I get distracted constantly. So much so that I had to reevaluate my systems. They’re not foolproof, but they’ve helped me curate the environment I want. An environment dictated by my terms, devoid of endless distractions. A place where I can be at peace with my thoughts and have unrestricted access to my creativity.
We can do this together. I’ll show you.
Ironically, it involves sharing a few of my favorite phone apps to help you find your balance. These apps will conceivably invite some distraction, but if you’re going to use your phone anyways might as well use it to your advantage.
Here is my favorite meditation app at the moment. There is no better way to balance
your mind than to sit quietly for a few minutes each day. Insight Timer is a free app that offers guided and individualized practices. You can utilize their daily questionnaire to assess mood and other aspects of personal wellness. The timer is also equipped with engaging sounds and audio to create a comforting environment.
I use the Brain.fm app for background sounds. They have extensive playlists curated
for focus, relaxation, sleep, and meditation. Their patented, functional music design uses binaural beats to help people get more done and take purposeful action. I use this app religiously while doing deep work such as writing, reading, and continuing education. Lately, their white noise feature has supported my sleep routine.
The Pomodoro technique is grounded in the scientific literature for its contribution to time management. It involves allocating short breaks between deep work blocks designed to increase memory and attention. It will allow you to engage in specific periods of concentration where you might otherwise fall victim to distraction. Ideal blocks will be individual to you but can go from 15-45 minutes, separated by 5-15 minute break periods. The app is ridiculously intuitive. Set your desired focus time with periodic breaks, and get to work!
I give you one of the best-paid apps on the market. Scribd is similar to Audible, sans the household name. It has a vast library of books, audiobooks, PDFs, and other documents. Their database is full of titles spanning all genres. If you take an active role in your learning or are full of insatiable curiosity, purchase a subscription, and you won’t regret it. It can also be a thoughtful gift for the knowledge seekers in your life.
Otter is a voice translation app. Specifically for people that benefit from talking out their ideas. Otter uses their built-in microphone to capture your voice. The voice capture is astounding, making it the perfect resource for writing and reading. I recommend this to people who spend considerable time walking or wandering. It will allow you to wrestle more sophisticated concepts that you otherwise can’t articulate in your writing. It’s not limited to writers, either. It’s a tool for anyone to clarify their racing thoughts and musings.
QuickCoach is a brand new (free) fitness software launched in 2022. It’s a sleek, user-oriented coaching tool for exercise programming, nutrition, and behavior modifications. You can design and modify your workouts and save your progress to keep track of your goals. It’s well-known that regular exercise contributes positively to productivity. Use this app to control your training, making more time for your desired work throughout the day.
- Set Time Restrictions On Your Apps: Be deliberate. Identify where you’re spending the most time and if that time is meaningful. Restrict yourself to only what’s necessary.
- Have a Reason: Be intentional with your screen time. Is there a purpose? Even if that purpose is to scroll mindlessly
- Disable Phone Alerts: Every alert is a quick hit of dopamine. You will deplete your dopamine stores quickly, leaving you with less energy for the current task. Keep your phone on Airplane or Do Not Disturb to make the most of your time.
- Find Boredom: When was the last time you were truly alone with your thoughts? Find the moments to be still and reflect.
I deliberately included apps focused on education, productivity, and fitness. These are three essential components of personal wellness. Education to improve brain plasticity and fortify the mind. Productivity to eliminate distractions and do more focused work. Fitness enhances your mood and establishes resilience to incoming stressors.
Consider what personal wellness means to you. There’s no definitive answer. I CAN tell you you’re spending too much time on your devices. You’re overwhelmed with so much information you can’t possibly digest it all. Pick your spots wisely. Spend more time on the things that matter.