7 Tech Habits You Should Build (and the Best Apps to Get You Going)

7 Tech Habits You Should Build (and the Best Apps to Get You Going)
Photo: panitanphoto, Shutterstock

For something that’s such a big part of our lives, we rarely think twice about how we spend time with technology. We’ll work towards building good real-world habits, but what about the hours we waste doomscrolling in bed?

If you’re experiencing technology fatigue, or if it isn’t bringing you as much joy as it used to, you should consider some positive tech habits. We’ve rounded up our recommendations below, but take things on your own time. Just like with every habit, you should start small and aim to grow over the long run.

Turn on two-factor authentication everywhere you can

Photo: Khamosh PathakPhoto: Khamosh Pathak

There’s nothing as sweet as peace of mind, and two-factor authentication will help reassure you that your accounts are secure from hackers. Two-factor authentication only takes a couple of minutes to set up, but it’s a great way to deter hackers.

Once enabled, you need a unique, 6-digit code that regenerates every 30 minutes. This can be generated using a dedicated app, or you can get it via SMS (the former is better). If you’re using an iPhone, you can just use the built-in password manager to generate and auto-fill one-time passwords. On Android, you can use the Google Authenticator app.

Set up distraction blockers for when you need to work

There will be times when you’ll need to hunker down and work, and that’s precisely when you’ll get distracted by a tweet or a funny video. Get into the habit of using distraction blockers. Try something like Freedom, even though it costs $US6.99 ($10)/month: Unlike other distraction blockers, Freedom syncs across all your devices, allowing you to block all distracting sites and apps with just one click. Otherwise, you’ll probably just end up scrolling Twitter on your phone instead of your computer. If you find a free distraction blocker that you prefer, use that instead. The goal is the same: Keep your work-time distraction-free so you can move onto other things.

Start tracking your time

Time is money — especially if you’re a freelancer or running your own business — and tracking how you spend your time can help you out, if you’re willing to face the truth. First, you’ll see for how many of those eight hours you’re actually productive, and you’ll find out how you’re wasting your time on your computer. Then it’s up to you to decide how you want to optimise your time.

You can use an automatic tool like RescueTime to find out just how you’re spending your time. If you want to manually track your work time, you can use Toggl Track.

Use the Screen Time features on your smartphone

Photo: Cristian Dina, ShutterstockPhoto: Cristian Dina, Shutterstock

You might already be familiar with the Do Not Disturb feature on your phones and computers, but what if it’s the phone itself that’s the distraction? This is where the Screen Time feature on iPhone and the Digital Wellbeing app on Android will help you out.

Use these features to first see how much time you’re spending on distracting apps. Then, set per-day limits for the biggest time-wasters. You can also configure times when certain apps just won’t open. Aim to do it for your work hours and bedtime.

Use a fun habit tracker to keep yourself engaged

Habit tracking is nothing new. In fact, there are lots of existing apps and services that help you track and build long-term routines. But the problem is that few of them are fun or engaging. This is where the (Not Boring) Habits app for iPhone comes in. Each day that you complete your habit, you progress along a visually enchanting journey and unlock new achievements.

Choose your best way to write fast notes

Screenshot: Khamosh PathakScreenshot: Khamosh Pathak

Using a task manager or a to-do app is a good tech habit, but the problem with most to-do app is the friction involved. Opening an app, going to a list, jotting down a reminder, and adding a due date takes too much time.

If you’re using an iPhone, use the Reminders app for t0-do lists, but combine that with a third-party app called Remind Me Faster to quickly jot down your to-dos. This app opens with the keyboard ready to go, and all you have to do is type out the task and send it off.

If you want to use a task management app that works on different platforms, use something like TickTick or Todoist. Both apps have features for quick entry, and they support natural language input, so you can just write “submit the second report at 6 PM next Thursday” and the app will automatically parse it and set the reminder.

Get a calendar app with natural language processing

It might be time you outgrow your default Calendar app (like Apple Calendar and Google Calendar) and begin with something with natural language processing. If you’re all-in on the Apple ecosystem, try the Fantastical app. It’s a subscription-based calendar app, but it’s worth the money: You can use natural language to add calendar appointments (“meet with designers at 3 PM next Tuesday”), and there are a ton of options for customising layouts and automating your calendar using integrations. If you’re on Android (or Windows), Microsoft Outlook is a really robust option.

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