I’ll be honest, I spend a lot of time on my phone.
Between several social media accounts, keeping up with my friends and family back home, and my problematic addiction to The Sims Freeplay, it’s a miracle I manage to get anything done.
But it’s not just my phone: computers, iPads, and music all play an important role in my everyday life, helping me with homework, work, and exercise.
The temptation of technology is at every turn and it becomes difficult to properly manage our intake.
A few weeks ago, one of my professors challenged my class to spend the period browsing the library, with no access to our phones or any other kind of technology.
For the first time, I began to really understand how detrimental these devices are to our learning and creative abilities.
No doubt everyone has heard the complaints about phones and how they prevent young people from properly socializing.
While there is truth in that statement, this issue reaches far beyond just cellphones.
Today’s society has convinced itself that boredom is one of the worst possible things to experience.
Our constant exposure to different kinds of distractions in the form of a variety of technologies has taught our brains that it must stay busy at all times, so much so that most teenagers and young adults practically fidget with anxiety when their brain isn’t engaged with something.
The biggest problem with this is, as students, we aren’t learning how to actually let our brains rest.
Our version of relaxation includes watching Netflix for an hour or listening to a favorite playlist on Spotify, both of which require at least some focus from our brain.
After a long week of studying, it might feel like relaxing, but these activities are likely why so many students have difficulty sorting out their stress.
Without that brain recharge, stress just continues to build on top of itself.
This “brain recharge” isn’t referring to simply taking a nap or having a good night’s sleep.
It’s taking some quiet time for yourself without the distraction of technology an arm’s length away.
Whether this includes taking a walk in the arboretum or wandering among the many shelves at the library, letting your mind wander gives it the opportunity to build up the energy for major projects and dense readings.
This becomes particularly helpful around the end of the semester when someone’s workload is jam packed.
Aside from building up brain energy, taking a break from technology allows us to produce better ideas for school and work assignments.
What society labels as “boredom” is actually an efficient means of mental production.
Most of my article topics come to me while I’m in the shower and that’s because there’s no music or screens to distract me.
I’ve recently started working out without listening to music, and it’s allowed for my mind to be all the more creative.
It’s also helped me notice how many people in Lund are actually on their phones watching videos or texting while on the treadmill and elliptical.
Young adults have become unable to give their mind a break even when their whole body is engaged in a separate activity.
It’s no wonder texting and talking on the phone while driving has become such a problem.
In general, ignoring technology allows people to be more in the moment.
I myself am guilty of checking my phone in the middle of a real-life conversation with someone and it is a habit that nearly everyone in my generation and younger needs to work on.
A living person should be more interesting than a small device in your hand.
It’s true that technology helps us connect to people from all over the world but, unless it’s an emergency, conversations with them should wait because physically spending time with people is so much more impactful than communicating through a screen.
It is for this reason that I loathe the televisions popularized in restaurants and training centers.
They’re distracting and no matter how much I want to focus on the person I’m eating with or let my mind wander while exercising, my eyes are nearly always drawn to the bright screens across the room.
It’s time for people of all ages to understand that “rest” doesn’t just apply to our bodies because, in order to put forth its greatest effort in the academic world, our mind needs it too.
No matter how busy someone’s schedule is, they need to find time to be “bored” because it will make their work output so much more effective.