Advice

Technology: how to learn to take offline breaks

Technology can often be distracting.
Learning to take breaks from technology may be a difficult but useful skill. Source: Rawpixel.com (via PxHere)
With many of the things that we may need or want being available online, it may be important to learn how to take breaks from our screens so that we don’t become too obsessed and start to ignore the things around us.

By Vicky Witts | Advice Editor

With new technology constantly coming out each year with the aim to apparently make our lives easier and keep us entertained, our devices such as laptops and smartphones seem to be in constant use. Whether it is staying in contact with our friends or reading research papers for our degree courses, technology can give us greater access than ever to a wide range of things that benefit us. However, with many of the things that you may need or want being available online, it may be important to learn how to take breaks from our screens so that we don’t become too obsessed and start to ignore the things around us.

Replacing one obsession with another

To say that many people, including students, have become addicted to their phones and technology may seem to be extreme and an exaggeration. However, many of us cannot help but look when we get a notification or get distracted browsing social media instead of doing the work that we are meant to be doing. It is not just that we are choosing to procrastinate by using technology, but also that many people are starting to rely on it, particularly throughout the coronavirus pandemic, where we are having to do much of our shopping and social interacting online due to many of the restrictions that are in place. Perhaps it is therefore almost inevitable that we are becoming reliant and almost addicted to our technology.

However, whilst it may be almost impossible to stop using our devices for some aspects of our lives, there are ways to overcome the addicting feeling that many of us experience when we see that we have a new notification or are scrolling through online shopping websites. For example, it may be a good change whenever you are experiencing boredom, to choose to participate in a new hobby instead of picking up you phone or going on a walk if you feel that you are going to start getting distracted on your computer. Finding a new obsession, like going running, or taking up a craft, can help you spend less time on your devices, as well as may be more beneficial to you in the long term than simply commenting on your friend’s social media posts.

Try transferring online activities offline

With in increase in online learning and many student’s attempts to reduce paper waste, it is perhaps unsurprising that a large number of students are creating all of their lecture notes and revision on electronic devices. Consequently, it may feel that you are spending every minute of every day sat at your computer. In addition to this possibly making you feel trapped in a dull routine, there is also evidence that spending a lot of time on technology may also have negative implications on your health such as impacting your posture, eyesight and sleep patterns. It is therefore important to know how to take breaks from technology whilst still being able to do the work that you need to.

A good way to move your learning away from your technology temporarily and without using a large amount of paper is by working on things like flash cards for your key information or purchasing a whiteboard which may be particularly useful for notes that you only need temporarily like to learn diagrams, or for memorising information in revision-style sessions. Additionally, where you may be sent a lot of reading each week from one specific text or book, it may be helpful to purchase a new or used physical copy, as this will stop you from having to read from a screen, as well as give you the opportunity to make notes and underline information in a way that may be more accessible than in a online format.

Take a break for a day

Whilst it not be possible for everyone to completely disconnect from technology due to its many important uses, taking a day to completely stop using your phone or computer can be a good way to reset and give your body time to relax if you feel that you spend all day sat in uncomfortable positions at your desk.

 

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