Archives for posts with tag: technology

The bulk of the work I do for my job is on the computer–I work on article proofs, edit Word documents, and correspond with authors, editors, typesetters, and others via email. Sure, I have face-to-face meetings (mostly departmental) and some conference calls, but most of the time I’m wired in to my work laptop and our database. I try to remember to look up every so often and focus on something far away so I can exercise my eyes and get up to talk a short walk (even if it’s around the office) every hour or two, but there is one thing that I do that gets me through my day: listen to music.

I have tried it all: Pandora, Spotify, podcasts, the radio, everything. And I’ve enjoyed it all, so I try to switch it up every day based on the work I’m doing: oh, today I’m doing a lot of copying and pasting, so I can listen to a podcast or any kind of music I want. And another day, maybe I’m working on a slew of author proofs that requires concentration–this calls for classical music. I always have my headphones in and something playing to keep me focused. I know some coworkers who never listen to music at work because they find it distracting, and I know others who listen to books all day. I wish I could listen to an audiobook all day, but I’ve tried that before and I find that I get distracted very easily.

I listen to music to maintain my concentration at work but it also keeps my morale up. Now, you all know I’ve written about how much I love the company I work for so you know that I don’t struggle with low morale at work, but being able to listen to whatever I want keeps me happy throughout the day. If I feel myself getting bored or distracted, I take a minute to find something new to listen to. Music is something I enjoy very much and to be able to listen to it at work is a wonderful thing.

What keeps you going throughout your day?

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I performed a little experiment on myself last week: I set rules for when I could and could not use my phone during the course of the day. Here’s what I found out:

  1. I am more attached to my phone than I thought. I like to think that I’m less obsessed with my phone than most people (like that makes me awesome, or something). But, as I discovered last week, that is not the case. I turned my phone on silent while I was at work and forced myself to look at it only twice a day (about 3 out of 5 days last week, this did not pan out), and I was itching to check my texts anytime I had a bit of a slow spot during the day.
  2. I sleep so much better when I leave my phone alone for at least an hour before bed. I’ve read this in various places before: you should not be looking at your phone, tablet, TV, etc. before bed because it keeps you from falling asleep. But it’s so hard to forgo screen time (especially Netflix!) at night, especially if that is how you wind down. I’ll tell you something, though: I really believe this now. I forced myself to put my phone down around 9pm each night last week and, for the most part, I fell asleep more quickly and stayed asleep all night.
  3. I do more things for myself without my phone. I felt like superwoman last week: I did several loads of laundry, did some major cleaning that I had been putting off, cooked more, and read more at home. Sometimes, I get lost on my social media apps or a silly game on my phone when I could be doing something else way more productive. I’m not bashing those things (because, believe me, sometimes I just need to sit down with Angry Birds for awhile and not think!), but they don’t have to be my go-to activity every time. And, just as a disclaimer, I’m sure that I won’t continue these feats of amazing productivity each week :).
  4. I talk to my friends and family and am more engaged in the conversation. I had to cheat a little and use my phone to discover this, but there is one key aspect of that statement: I actually called people instead of texting them. I am the queen of texting–if I can text someone instead of calling them, I do it. I know that sounds terrible (and I’ve felt guilty about this for years!), but once I made a conscious decision to forgo texting for an actual phone call, I felt that I was really able to catch up with my family and friends.
  5. There is no hard and fast rule for everybody. Don’t feel guilty if you use your phone a lot! Don’t feel guilty if you don’t! Do what works for you. I wanted to test out some options to improve my personal well-being and there are some I’ll use and some I won’t. That’s life and that’s the way it should be–everyone should do what works best for them and their life situation.

Has anyone done a phone “purge” in your life? Any results, good or bad?

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I came across this gem of an article in The Huffington Post about the millennial generation and how we can thrive instead of just live. The author, Diane Primo, focuses on Arianna Huffington’s talk at a Chicago benefit event about her new book, Thrive. Huffington discusses how to go above and beyond acquiring money and power in order to “thrive” in our careers and in our lives. How Do We Get Millennials to Thrive? is an interesting question Primo poses in this article, and she backs up her question with statistics that millennials “consume lots of content and rarely power off,” which, I think, is true. We are the first generation to be completely and utterly surrounded by technology–I use technology every day to do my job, read the news, talk to my friends and family, and even relax at home. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t know what to do without my smartphone, but I have thought about how to depend on it less.

Eventually, Primo gets to the point of her article and states that everyone around the world, and most especially millennials, would benefit from unplugging for one, uninterrupted hour. I’ve thought about this a lot lately and though I have some reservations about the whole thing (it seems so very commercialized…and just one more thing we talk about on social media!), I do think it’s important to unplug in order to, for lack of a better term, find your center, and I would go so far as to suggest doing it for 30-60 minutes a day. Why is it important to do this? For me, it means being able to turn off distractions and get comfortable inside my own head. I can think quietly about my day and what was most important to me. Maybe it’s unfair for me to suggest this for everybody because I’m an introvert–I like to have time to myself without beeping phones or blinking lights–and I know not everyone craves that type of silence (or at least, not that often). But I’ve long thought that millennials could benefit from some serious quiet time in order to train ourselves to think. We are bombarded with information all day, everyday–so do we know what we, as individuals, think or feel about a particular issue? When was the last time you took the time to sit down and truly think about your life and its direction, what you like and dislike, what your priorities are? To be honest, I started doing that more frequently when I began contributing to this blog. Thinking about topics to engage readers made me truly evaluate my own beliefs and emotions.

According to various blogs, websites, and the internet at large, millennials are supposed to be selfish, narcissistic, and married to our smart phones and tablets. Since I am a millennial myself (and, consequently, know other very intelligent millennials), I refuse to let the internet define me. I know I’ve been working to better myself for my career as well as for my personal life, and when people get to know me they see who I truly am.

What do my fellow millennials (or anybody!) have to say? How do you thrive?

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Check out these other posts that discuss millennials:
1. Are Millennials Really More Narcissistic?
2
. Generation Y Redefines Success

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