Meghna Thakur Searching for a silver lining where a digital distraction might not be a distraction December 7, 2018

We live in an era where mobile and computer applications are omnipresent in our lives. We start our days with WhatsApp notifications. Whether you are a student, a working professional or a retired elite.

Our day starts with messages on WhatsApp dictating us our course of action for the day, whether it is a reminder of a deadline, we are to meet that day or a way to connect with our near and dear ones with good morning messages. There would hardly be a soul who does not check his or her phone on waking up.

Each morning Alexa wakes you up with an alarm instruction you put in before sleeping. She further helps you with what to wear by giving you a brief on the weather prediction for the day. Meanwhile, your coffee is being brewed while you are in the shower, by a simple command. You are now ready to leave the house, bright, happy and fully equipped to roar through the day.

We stepped into an era of digitalization a few years ago. As we are living and evolving with it, today, we have stepped into an era of disturbance.

While the word, disturbance, may indicate a negative emotion in your head, it may not always be the case. Distraction has also been known to increase performance and productivity.

Imagine you are sitting in a comfortable space and working on a presentation. A mere command to change the current song will instantly lighten up your mood and pump you up to continue with more zeal. If you were to get up from your seat, turn the cassette over to listen to “Side B”, as a person in the 90s would do, it would probably break your concentration and hamper your productivity.

Now, imagine you are in the middle of a workout. You are in your final set and have 10 kg dumbbells in each hand, struggling to finish your bicep curl like a champion and the song on the radio turns into a sad romantic song. Leaving the dumbbell on the floor is not an option.

Your voice comes to your rescue again. One command, and you can change the radio channel and finish your last set with an additional repetition.

For every thought you have right now or may have in the next 10 minutes, there are hundreds of applications at your disposal. You have applications to book yourself a maid, order food, remind you of your period or even to drink water through the day.

My mother thinks it is crazy to depend on an application to remind you to drink water. And she may be right. Not being able to understand your own body’s need may sound like a bit extreme to some. Then again, let us not be conclusive just yet.

We’re bombarded with apps every now and then. There’s a new app for doing this and that, for getting better at this and that, for getting rid of this and that, there’s an app and it goes on. It has become a kind of a cycle. Virtuous or vicious, that you decide like everyone else has to. There’s convenience and inconvenience, and a thin line between both.

As our life gets circled around apps, our life is bound to change on so many levels. And as tech is transforming, it has its own significance to note that how we change with it and how we adapt to it. We need to search that silver lining in midst of all this chaos.

Yes, the notifications strike as distractions, with a but!

It’s about how you define a distraction. It’s about what a distraction means to you. It’s about what a distraction costs you. And it’s about when a distraction makes sense to you. Like every coin ever has, this too has two sides. Perhaps, many more.

There are two aspects to distraction. One is growth and the other is escapism. For instance, playing Ludo on your phone or stalking your ex on social media when you should be preparing for your presentation is a distraction of escapism.

Using a messenger to discuss the queries, ifs and if nots, related to your presentation with mentors across the circle, is a way to grow and prosper.

It is easy to get in the rut of self-destruction and idle away your time in oblivion. You can blame it on technology, generation gap or the direction the world is headed towards. It is easy.

But scientists are not working day in and day out in vain so you can pick up on easy objectives of escapism to suit your needs. For every hundred apps that may steer you into escapism, there are those ten more to steer you into progression. The charge is on us to decide which way we need to move.

Being productive or being sterile is a mere choice triggered by our own personal intelligence. We do not have to let technology control us. We are the creators that we brag all the time for every argument that we don’t agree with, but does that give us the control?

Technology is like having the two sides of a coin. And to every side, there’s another layer that we don’t spot but a magician shows up. But why feel the need to toss it to see what lies in our fate, when we can simply use it to buy ourselves some convenience while keeping a check on all of that?

(With inputs from Ayush Garg)

Avatar for Meghna Thakur

An omnist, anxious girl in pursuit of nirvana. Lover of the mountains. Seeking peace and tranquility. Also, a writer.

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