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Terae Walters

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

A picture of a hand holding a phone with a blue, green, and orange case.
Courtesy of Terae Walters.
If staying off tech devices is something that is very difficult for you, try dedicating an entire day to not using your phone or social media.

We are living in a technological age. With all different kinds of devices being present in our lives, they offer many distractions that can take away from more important things in life. As a young adult going through university with a media-based job, technology is very evident in my life. How I choose to separate my social life from my professional and academic life is very important. I need to allow myself to work hard and create worthy content while also staying focused on my goals. Ever since I have owned my own smartphone, social media has been a very apparent part of my life. Posting photos and engaging with other people online is something I enjoy. I absorb all different types of content and I love to share my own opinions on different things. I believe technology can be used for great things, but it can also be very detrimental to one’s mental health and wellbeing. 

When I started focusing on my academics and taking my professional life more seriously, I realized how distracting my cell phone really was. It took away from my ability to focus and highly contributed to my anxiety. I was constantly receiving different alerts, looking at what other people were doing, and comparing my life to theirs. I started to notice that being on my phone was the first thing I did in the morning and the last thing I did before I went to sleep. When this became a routine, it started to feel normal. It was only until I took a step back and realized just how negative my devices were on my quality of life. It took away from my focus at work and individual projects were taking longer to complete. I couldn’t fully emerge myself in my creative processes because my phone was always present. 

Having a proper sleeping schedule is something that majorly contributes to every aspect of our daily lives. Some people don’t even realize just how important a proper amount of sleep is to the overall functioning of our bodies. When I was immersed in whatever was going on in my online social life, I was staying up well past midnight and not getting out of bed until the afternoon. This routine caused me to feel extremely drained and prevented me from being productive the next day. Because of this, I decided to set rules for myself and lessen the amount of time I spent on my phone. I also made sure that I was turning it off earlier in the night so I could sleep at a more reasonable hour. After doing this a few times, I immediately started to notice positive results. I had more energy during the day, I was waking up earlier and getting more done, and my mental health was improving. It wasn’t a major adjustment, but it was clear that just this minor change helped me.

Another way that I decided to spend less time on my phone was putting my focus and extra energy towards something more productive. I have written in journals for years, but recently I have spent much more time and energy into improving my writing skills. Whenever I felt bored or had extra time on my hands, I decided to write instead of turning towards social media. This ranged from poetry to simply writing down my feelings. My journals ended up being a safe space for me to release anything without fear of being judged, whether it was good or bad. It allowed me to use my brain power for positive things and not stare at a screen for hours. It was also a way for me to improve my creativity and be more self-reflective. You don’t have to be good at writing to write things. The best part about journaling is that it is completely private and allows you to release anything that is on your mind. It is quite a therapeutic process that has improved my mental health in ways I could never imagine. One of the best parts is being able to look back at what I have written in the past and compare different parts of my life and see how my writing improves.  

If staying off tech devices is something that is very difficult for you, try dedicating an entire day to not using your phone or social media. When you do this, make sure to fill your time with other activities. Be observant and pay attention to the things that change, how they are affected, and most importantly, how you feel. When I spent an entire day without my phone, it was much harder than I expected. I didn’t realize how much I used my smartphone for simple things such as basic communication. Although I felt disconnected from the social world, the ignorance of not knowing what was going on was surprisingly gratifying. I spent most of my day doing things I normally wouldn’t do, and in the end, it felt good to be ‘offline’ for a while.  

Although technology is an extremely innovative addition to our daily lives, it can be addicting and distracting. Without even noticing, it can prevent us from getting a proper amount of work completed, contribute to mental health issues, or cause problems in relationships and many other related issues. You must use self-discipline to step back and make a change. It might seem insignificant, but simply putting your phone down, devices away for a few hours, or even focusing your energy on other more important things can really help improve your focus and productivity. Technology is something that will never go away, it will always be present in our lives. Therefore it is our responsibility to control the ways in which we use it and make sure good things come from it. Separating technology and social media from other aspects of your life can be difficult at first, so start off simple and try not using your phone for a day and see what happens!


Terae Walters

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Terae is a second year Communications student currently employed in her first co-op work term here with the SFU OLC team. With a history studying Motion Picture Arts at Capilano University, her interests surround creative storytelling and inspiring those around her. For this podcast she aims to initiate conversation about important and valuable topics that can be useful for all different types of people within the SFU community.

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Dec 9, 2021

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