Managing technology | Education Support

Managing technology

A good work-life balance is about being able to concentrate well on the task in hand whether at school or out of work and our devices can often prohibit this. For example, being out with your friends for dinner and being in the moment with them whether that is talking, listening and/or having fun, not being distracted by messages pinging up on our phone.

Technology is driving many changes in our working practices. These days you can often do work in many places, meet virtually and your workstation is with you in your pocket or bag constantly. This is causing our work and out of work lives to blur into each other. It is even more important to use technology to aid our working practices not turn us into 24/7 working beings who cannot use the off button. In this day and age, we cannot rely on work to set our boundaries in terms of time; we need to.

Research shows that the term multi-tasking is incorrect. We do not multi task; our brains are not set up to do so. What we do is switch our attention and this takes up much energy plus we lose our focus.  Email or phone grazing (or all other attention wavering activities) makes us less productive. Here are some tips to better manage your technology so you can focus better whether at school or outside of work:

  • Plan the hours you are going to work in a week to get through what you need to.  Work out the best times to do emails and check messages (remember that for most people you do not need to be on your devices 24/7 and chunking reading emails is more efficient than grazing)
  • In the time you are not working (when possible) switch off work emails or messages.  Imagine how you will feel over the weekend if receiving a difficult email from a parent or colleague
  • Work out with colleagues, your manager and direct reports when you are not available
  • Ensure that on holidays you have time off from work and your emails
  • To be really effective at school you need breaks (and this includes breaks from your devices) and time off otherwise your prefrontal cortex (rational brain) and body will not be functioning at their full capacity.  Find 20 minutes at lunch to eat or do something non work related
  • Have technology monk days or a monk period of the day or even a monk week! (Monk days are when people switch off from all technological devices to have a proper break and boost their productivity plus creativity)

What can you do?