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How to Focus in the Era of Technology

Posted on: March 23, 2021
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Posted by Marley

I have the attention span of a goldfish. Maybe it’s because I’m Gen-Z and technology is all I have ever known, or maybe it’s my overactive brain that gets bored staying on one subject for too long. All I know is that I need to be entertained and stimulated to stay on track. And the two of those things in tandem are few and far between in this new era of hyper-technology and zoom. “Screen breaks” no longer exist when your way of relaxing is scrolling through TikTok, and when you’re jumping between school and work — by simply switching tabs. So how does one focus in this tragic time? This ADHD zoomer is here to tell you my personal favorite methods.

1. Fun Apps

I know… sounds counterproductive right? Hear me out. I am a huge plant person and I have a jungle in my bedroom. I have an app on my phone called ‘Forest’, that allows me to plant a tree when I want to focus. I enter the app, choose a cute new tree, set a timer for how long I need to stay on track for, and *boom* my tree starts growing. Exiting the app before the timer is up, kills my precious tree, and I have to start all over to grow my forest. You can make this more fun and compelling by competing with friends to see who can build the biggest forest! 

2. Actual Screen Breaks 

If my “break” from my classes and work schedule is TikTok, I’m in for a very long and unproductive day. To combat this, I give my eyeballs and my brain a significant amount of time without the blue light scorching my corneas. I’ll go sit outside on my front porch, read a few pages of a good book, or close my eyes and meditate. Whatever I’m doing, my phone and computer are shut off and far away from me. These breaks help to energize me and get me prepared for another few hours at my computer. No matter how long, your mind and body will appreciate a moment of rest, and you’ll feel infinitely more focused and productive post-screen break. 

3. Visualization

I am a college student living at home in my parent’s house, learning and working remotely. Sometimes when I think about everything I have lost (living abroad in Argentina) and am missing out on (living on campus and getting the ‘college experience’), it makes me majorly sad. Like scrolling through TikTok for hours sad. However, I’m coming to terms with this hopefully temporary reality, I have learned the power of visualization and positive affirmations. When I find myself losing focus, I take a step back from my work and take a moment to remind myself of my long-term goal. Where do you want to be in five years? Picture it. What are your current actions doing to push you closer to that goal? Imagine your tasks as physical motions propelling you towards your goal, and create that image in your mind. When you open your eyes, your focus is back, and a little extra drive along with it. 

We are all going through something right now. Whether that something is on a global level or on a super personal level, the smallest things can majorly throw off your focus and disrupt your productivity. In our age of technology and endless screens, even your blue-light glasses you ordered on Amazon last March can’t save you. If you find yourself struggling to stay focused, try these tips and remember to keep looking forward.

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