Updated: Jun 30
I was admittedly addicted to video gaming throughout my freshman year of high school, and I know first-hand how challenging it can be to manage this and so many other technology
distractions. While realizing the fun and value that can come from taking a break with games
and technology, I also know how much of our lives these screens can actually rob from us.
Balancing these distractions and prioritizing the things I want to do, like starting my own
business, were key to my finding more happiness. When I broke the tech habit, I used my spare time to take online coding courses, live a more active lifestyle, and start an entrepreneurial venture.
Breaking these habits
Spending too much time playing video games or on social media destroys your productivity and makes you unhappy. Yet, breaking these habits can be a challenging feat. Start by:
Completing all of your necessary activities (homework, exercise, cleaning your room, etc.)
before you let yourself enjoy technology.
Managing the time you spend playing video games and/or social media to a reasonable time
each day...say 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. Once I managed my technology time better, I
found I was much happier and more productive.
Finding alternative, enjoyable ways to spend your free time. I have found motivation by
connecting with people with similar interests, mentoring younger peers, and consuming
motivational content like Shark Tank during my downtime.
Leveraging your vacations and getaways as technology-free. By doing this, I was able to get a jump start on being technology-free, which helped me break my habits more easily. After
returning home from technology-free family vacations, I noticed a drastic increase in my
productivity and happiness, as my urge to play video games faded.
As Instagram, Netflix, and YouTube compete to win over our attention, these habits can easily
repeat themselves. Keeping focused on what is truly important is a constant battle with the
short-term satisfaction of these platforms. Here are some strategies that help:
Keep unproductive tabs closed on your laptop and turn off notifications on your phone.
Draft a to-do list and dedicate yourself to that list.
Have planners for different periods, such as daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, to help with
short-term and long-term planning. As I learned from one of my mentors, if it’s not in the
calendar, it’s a dead dream.
Understand how and when you are productive and adapt accordingly. For example, I have
discovered that I am incredibly productive in the evening, and not so much in the morning.
Understanding my work habits allows me to plan my day accordingly.
Eat healthily and stay active!
It is scientifically proven that your brain functions better when you practice a healthy lifestyle. I hope one or all of these strategies will help you find the motivation to develop a more healthy and productive lifestyle. Being productive is something that takes time and effort to master, and like most people, I am still working at this. Staying focused on what is essential is key to becoming a leader, and going to bed knowing that you have given the day your all feels good.
Danny Parks is a peer mentor with Teen Innovators, and has competed in several business
competitions, and launched a business while in high school.