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Is all your life on one device? You might have single-screen stress

Using multiple, task-specific devices to do different things has significant advantages. Digital diversification could help increase focus and productivity.
By Cherylann Mollan | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 07:32 PM IST

This is a rare marketing term that the world actually needs. Digital diversification is a strategy that aims to reach out to the same person or type of person on as many platforms and devices as possible.

On a personal level, it’s a far less annoying concept. If you digitally diversify, it means you are using multiple, task-specific devices to do different things, rather than using a single one to do them all.

Here’s why that’s a good thing. If you set your alarm on an old-school clock or radio instead of your phone, you’re less likely to start scrolling through messages as soon as you open your eyes. If you read on an e-reader and not your phone or tablet, you don’t have email inboxes and social media apps pinging and ruining your attempts at a quiet afternoon. If you limit Twitter to your laptop, well, you get your life back.

Longer-term benefits could include increased focus and productivity. “Reduced overall screen time and less doomscrolling can also be expected to improve overall mood,” says therapist and leadership coach Sajeda M Batra.

Psychiatrist Hozefa Bhinderwala says digitally diversifying can also help temper the drive for instant gratification. You could find yourself reaching impulsively for your phone less often (and who doesn’t want that). “Delaying gratification helps you develop self-control and patience. It also teaches you to manage your emotions better,” Bhinderwala adds.

Victor Agnel, 29, a client servicing executive at a wealth management firm in Mumbai, began using multiple, task-specific devices about a year and a half ago and says it’s helped him become more focused and productive.

He’s doomscrolling a lot less. At work, he uses a smartwatch and Bluetooth earphones to check and reply to messages, email and calls. “The interface of a smart watch makes it difficult to access social media; images are tiny and you cannot really scroll,” he says. During his long commute home, he uses his phone to watch movies or check into social media platforms. To listen to music, he switches to an iPod so his favourite songs don’t have to compete with pings and rings.

Remember, just because one screen can rule them all, doesn’t mean it should.

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