Mindfulness is a significant element of ancient Buddhist teachings, in which it’s used as a tool to develop self-knowledge and wisdom to eventually attain enlightenment. So how exactly does it work? In simple terms, this physiological technique tends to bring one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. Being focused in the present, devoid of either thoughts that stem from the past or potential worries of the future, helps a person unlock his full creative potential and significantly enhance productivity. Unfortunately, the prevalence of gadgets, especially cellphones, in one’s lives provides them with a constant source of distraction. From notifications arising from emails, messages, and calendars to the constant need to browse social media feeds – the ways in which cellphones hamper mindfulness is immense. At the same time, technological advancement has recognized this problem to develop offbeat gadgets to mitigate distractions caused by cellphones.
Marketed as a wearable for the age of mass distraction, Foci is a biometric wearable that rests upon your waist. The sensors on the device record breathing patterns and runs them through a machine learning algorithm. According to the creator, the algorithm helps the device identify one’s cognitive state and sends small vibrations when it learns that they are ‘distracted’. The complementing app on the cell phone uses a fluid orb that changes color according to one’s mental state, i.e. distracted, focused, fatigued, calm or stressed. Similar kind of activities are also executed by several other gadgets, including the Sensmi Smart Wristband and the Spire Body & Mind Health Tracker.
The Pomodoro Technique works on the principle that breaking down long winding hours into short work intervals boosts productivity and help retain mental awareness. Several gadgets that incorporate this technique have gained attention. One of them, the Saent Distraction Free Device blocks out distractions, encourages focus sessions and facilitates smart breaks in between to ensure one find their optimal work rhythm. By the simple press of a button, it helps build better work habits by promoting mindfulness of the surrounding.
While media has led us to believe that multitasking is the optimum way to work, only a handful of the population is actually capable of doing it. The rest engages in something called “task-switching”, which leads to errata ridden poor quality work. Gadgets that help one organize and prioritize tasks are currently available in the market. The Focus Journal task-Based Organizer segregates urgent to-do lists and longer projects – eventually assisting you to focus on the task at hand without worrying about others and compromising on the overall quality of work.
It would seem somewhat ironic to depend on gadgets to mitigate the negative impacts brought by them in the first place. Of course, one could revert back to the pre-cellphone era and take up practices ensuring mindfulness. Meditation and Yoga are two evergreen disciplines that help attain awareness of the present by focusing on breathing patterns and the movement of our physical self around it. Or one could just learn not to make cellphones such an essential part of one’s lives.
In the short term, mindfulness might not help you attain enlightenment, but reduce work-related stress and enhance the work-life balance. While primitive methods of attaining it are still common around the world, gadgets that help you attain such state are also vitally important. At the end of the day, one must thrive to live in the moment without worrying about the past of the future.