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A challenge to millennials: cut down on distractions

Texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, the movie theater, video games, drinking, pot, parties and maybe some homework in there, if we’re feeling productive. There are things vying for the attention of our generation, most of which are not inherently bad, but all of which are unnecessary for our survival.

I would contend that technology has great value when it does not consume our lives, and there’s nothing wrong with having fun. But if you feel as though you don’t have enough time in the day to do what you need to do, consider cutting down on a few of these unnecessary distractions in your life (or even just one), and you might find you suddenly have plenty of time to finish that essay, work out, spend some time with friends or otherwise do something of more value. Here are some suggestions.

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1. Delete a social networking app from your phone. This sounds a bit trivial, but something magical happened when I deleted Facebook’s app off my phone: I check my phone less. I can still get to Facebook if I feel the need through my web browser, but not seeing that logo on my phone screen has made a world of difference. I find that I’m more focused on friends I’m hanging out with and less on Facebook statuses that don’t really matter, and that I can get work done faster when I’m not impulsively checking my phone.

2. Cut (one) Netflix, YouTube or gaming obsession out of your life. How many cat videos make one millennial’s life complete? Sure, watch “Breaking Bad” if you like it, but is a third re-watch really necessary? There’s nothing wrong with relaxing in front of the TV or the computer screen sometimes, but entertainment is just that: entertainment. It’s not a replacement for life. I find myself infinitely happier without cable in my life, without the urge to buy a $60 video game every month, without marathons of “Game of Thrones” or the obsession of hunting through Netflix to find a movie I haven’t watched yet. Pick one obsession you feel isn’t really that fulfilling and try living without it for a month, and watch your free time expand.

3. Party less heavily. I’m an unusual case because I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs of any sort, but what’s always baffled me about these things at parties is that people often say they “had a great time” the night before but “don’t remember it at all.” How do you know you had a great time, then? If you went to an awesome concert, don’t you want to remember it? Maybe this is way out of left field, but I want the good times in my life to always be there. I don’t expect everyone to be like me, but if I have a good time with my friends, I want that to last.

Try one or two of these sometime. They’ve made my life quite a bit more relaxed and enjoyable; maybe they’ll do the same for you.

Collegian Columnist Dan Rice can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter by @danriceman.

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