Technology keeps you busy or at least entertained. Or, maybe it is actually a tool for the unproductive. But, how to make a schedule and how do you keep your mind off of technology when your phone chimes every few minutes and you see email notifications on your desktop screen? Even your car can alert you of notifications.
We have the steps on how to create a schedule that will help you focus on the task at hand and keep your mind busy enough to put technology out of your thoughts. It is possible to break the habit of frequently checking your devices.
Make Rules and Stick to Them
Many people enlist rules to take control of the technology that has gotten out of hand. These rules often include:
- No screen time after a certain hour at night (usually an hour before sleep)
- No checking email until you have crafted a to-do list in the morning
- No using the phone when dining
- No "binge-watching."
Although these seem like straightforward rules, many people have difficulty following them for even on a national day of unplugging. You may find yourself in a cycle where your life jumps from one screen to another. Don't let technology rule the hours of your day.
Pledging these rules is the start to scheduling time that will free your mind of technology. When you stop sleeping with your phone and break the urge to check it every few minutes while eating or watching TV for hours you can make your schedule meaningful.
Make Your Time with Technology a Treat
It’s nearly impossible to eradicate technology from your life, but you can schedule time frames where you allow yourself to indulge. When you set aside time for what you are trying to keep your mind off, you don’t have to decide if it’s appropriate to check your phone or not.
When you are scheduling teens screen time for technology be realistic with your expectations. It’s unreasonable that you will go all day without responding to a text message. But, you can schedule a reasonable amount of time, so you don’t have to feel the anxiety of having technology on your mind.
These are some common rules people have to make time technology meaningful, and a treat:
- Use 5-minute blocks of time to respond to emails or text messages as a break in your workday.
- Allow yourself a TV hour, or one-show-per-day limit.
Using technology in these ways will make the small amount of time you have with technology daily more important than the hours of scrolling through Facebook. There are also a few notes of treat in these rules as well.
The people who use technology and unplug from technology as a way to break up their workday see it as a way to switch gears between tasks. Using this very short time-frame to respond also takes away from the pressure of thinking about technology while you're walking on other things. You can concentrate on the task at hand instead of worrying about how quickly you can respond to that unread text.
Scheduling a TV hour can also help you say "no" to binge watching. Many people find that scheduling TV time as a treat they will spend fewer hours per week watching Netflix or Hulu because they have other tasks scheduled. However, it is important to note that many people will rebel against their own rules if they say they will never watch TV.
Finally, if you use technology to improve your skills, you may find yourself avoiding technology. Rules such as “If I use my phone I will go through my flashcard app first” may have you putting your phone back down.
Schedule Time to Win
Too often people schedule the big tasks that they want to accomplish but don’t account for the smaller tasks that will take up most of their time. When you take an in-depth look at your day, you may notice that it is filled with activities that only take a few minutes.
You may spend 5 minutes loading the dishwasher, or 5 minutes checking the mail. These things you can look back on and acknowledge that they were minor accomplishments. But, many people don’t consider these items worthy of writing down on a to-do list.
You need to schedule the small tasks and take pride in the small accomplishments of your day. But, planning these smaller items will also give you more control of your day. It is easy to fall into the trap of excusing a more significant task for a smaller job that will take only a moment.
Try scheduling these items:
- Checking your mail
- Tidying your environment (work and home)
- Self-care such as showering, or pampering
Learn How to Make a Schedule on Paper
There are possibly hundreds of apps out there to help people schedule their day. But there are a few tricks that work on paper that technology doesn’t make possible. When you begin learning how to make a schedule on paper, you will see exactly how your time is spent with 2 primary scheduling strategies.
This scheduling technique only works on paper because a cell phone calendar does not work in quite the same way. The zero hour scheduling technique works on a military clock and allows you to fill every minute of your day from the “zero hour” which means that you must account for everything.
The zero hour schedule is best for students or people with substantial work schedules. To use the zero hour scheduling methods, try these steps:
A. Make a list of 0 to 23
B. Decide how many hours you spend:
- Working or studying
- Taking care of yourself
- And anything else you do to fill your time
C. Assign the hours you gave to each category to a time of the day.
At the end of this type of schedule, you should have no blocks of unscheduled time. There are many opportunities in scheduling to give yourself free time for family. But if you're learning how to schedule in a way that keeps technology off the mind, you need to make sure you don’t have too much free time.
A scheduling method that is a favorite for those who shift tasks quickly and often is prioritization scheduling. When learning this method, you need first to know how to prioritize.
For a working mom, they may set priorities on different aspects of their life for different time frames. That from the hours of 9 to 5 work comes first except in cases of emergencies. But, from the hours or 5-9 children come first and from 9-12 other relationships.
For assistants, to busy individuals, they may sign overall priorities that don't have time restrictions. An assistant may realize that travel details are often expensive and irreversible, making them a top priority. However, recurring meetings that are more flexible can be of lower priority.
When you are learning how to schedule with the prioritization method in mind, you need to acknowledge which tasks will direct you towards technology. Evaluate these tasks closely as you are trying to keep your mind off of technology.
Track Your Schedules
A schedule with a goal such as keeping your mind off of technology will need constant monitoring. When you track your schedule, you’re looking for areas of missed opportunity.
For example, if you used the zero hour method of scheduling, and spend 2 hours of watching TV instead of the 1 you accounted for, what was left undone. If you still accomplished everything on the schedule for that day then there are other tasks which aren’t taking up as much time as you thought, they would.
These areas of missed opportunity are present in nearly everyone's planner. When you are first learning how to schedule you probably won't have a perfect sense of how long each task takes to complete.
It is best to start scheduling with a little bit of cushion for each task in terms of time frame. But, as you monitor or track your schedule, you should be able to correct and revise how you are spending your time. When you are trying to keep technology off your mind, you need to keep close watch of your unscheduled time.