Monday, May 23, 2016

Tips for Avoiding Digital Distraction

Looking for a way to share this list with your students?

 Here it is:

Technology has had a profound impact on the way we learn. It impacts how we access information, communicate, and complete work. With the many advantages of having technology as part of our everyday lives, along with it comes the chance to multitask. Multitasking, while seeming to make us more productive, has been proven to be less effective. It is important to find a balance with technology, especially in the classroom. The following tips will aid users in balancing the digital distractions they face as they use technology.


It’s easy to get distracted when your device reminds you of everything else you could be doing. Try the following strategies to minimize tech distractions.

  • Clear your digital workspace
    • Organize apps into folders to help clear the clutter
  • Open only applications needed for the task-at-hand
    • Close out of all non-essential apps by swiping them away, make it more difficult to switch between tasks
  • Set a goal/make a list/set a timer
    • Determine a plan of attack for the task-at-hand, make a list of action steps, set a time frame in which those tasks can be completed, use a timer (already built into most devices) to sharpen your focus
  • Take a tech break
    • Once you reach your goal in the action plan/reached a set time period, take a short break to check in with the “world” (using the apps that distract you most often) -- then refocus your energy and get back to the task
  • Turn off notifications
    • Use the features on your iPad to turn off notifications that may pop up or distract you, including the sound
  • Be aware of your distractedness
    • Use an app to see how often you are checking your technology. Has it become an addiction?


Sometimes minimizing distraction is just not enough. Take these additional steps when you struggle to focus on the work that must be done.

  • Hide apps within folders
    • Put all social networking or games apps that prove to be most distracting in a folder furthest from your home screen
  • Know your ideal learning environment (sound, seating, surroundings)
    • Does having music help or distract you? What about white noise? Busy surroundings?
    • What type of seating and table space work best for the task-at-hand?
    • What triggers may distract you? What surrounding do you find that you are most productive in?
    • Swipe up from the bottom of your iPad to access settings for Do Not Disturb. This will silence all calls, alerts, and notifications based on the settings you have set. Change the preferences in your settings apps.
    • Restrictions can temporarily remove or disable features on the iPad, block specific websites, etc (making it annoying for you to multitask)
    • Guided access limits you to a single app to maintain focus
    • Make sure you remember the passcode for either of these options!


Still off task? It’s time for more drastic measures!

  • Delete distracting apps (specifically social networking and games)
    • If just staring at the app on your home screen causes you to focus on the messages you are missing, it’s time to consider removing the app from your device.  Tap and hold on the app icons until they “jiggle” and click the “x” to delete the app from your device.
  • Eliminate additional technology/devices
    • That phone sitting next to your laptop sitting next to your iPad might be one device too many. Put the device(s) that are not the primary one away (out of sight, out of mind).  And turn off the ringer and vibration, too!
  • Use apps to temporarily limit or block access
  • Ask somebody else to restrict you or set guided access
    • Find yourself cheating the restrictions you have set on yourself? It’s time to find a friend, parent, or teacher who will set a secret passcode on your restrictions. Make sure you trust this person and that they remember the passcode they set.
  • Go offline for a period of time
    • Download needed content to the app in use, use Google Apps offline, and turn off your wifi temporarily to remove your connection

Self-regulate your technology use and distractions now so that when it really counts (college or the workplace), you have found a system that works best for you. Work to find the balance now and ensure your success!