Are you smitten by your smartphone? Tethered to your laptop? Pretty much constantly connected? It sounds like you’re in need of a digital detox.
What are the dangers of never switching off?
Mobile technology has changed the nine-to-five forever, and replaced with an ‘always-on’ 24/7 working culture. Have to ever checked into your work emails while still in bed? Or done ‘just an hour’ of work when you return home? Then you’re not really switching off properly and it could be damaging your health and productivity – and that’s before we even touch upon an obsession with checking into your social media accounts.
A 2015 study of 3,000 UK workers, conducted by Microsoft, found that more than two-thirds (69%) were regularly required to work outside of their official hours. Although this change in what is deemed ‘normal working hours’ has no doubt made flexible working a more feasible option for many workers, if those workers are never switching off or working longer hours, any work/life balance benefit is lost.
A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a human resources company, has found that “flexible workers are much less likely to report being under excessive pressure than people who don’t work flexibly, with 29% of flexible workers saying they are under excessive pressure every day or once or twice a week compared with 42% of people who don’t work flexibly.”
This can lead to exhaustion and both physical and mental burnout. Having a digital detox is a good way to avoid this, here’s how.
How to have a digital detox
Work out how much time you spend using tech
The first part of any digital detox needs to look at how you can reduce stress, particularly when it comes to work and using tech. Add up the total hours you spend on your devices – both in and out of work – and if this outweighs the amount of waking hours you spend off them, it’s time to reconsider the amount of work you’re doing and what you’re doing with your free time.
Set yourself an achievable target
Ideally, you’d be able to kick your tech habit all in one go, but it’s unlikely that’s possible. So work out the simplest ways to cut down the number of hours you’re connected – this could be by not checking emails until you actually start work, or staying off social media and hour before bed – and finding a solution that works for you.
Get enough sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is vital to well-being, and gadgets can really hamper your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Avoid checking into your tech an hour before bed time – the blue light emitted from them keeps the brain awake – and even try to store your gadgets in a different room overnight.
Tell everyone what your doing
It always helps to have other people involved in your digital detox, so tell all your friends and family what you’re doing and, if possible, have them join in with you – this will help spur you on and make you less likely to fail.
Have you ever been on a digital detox? Let us know what you did and how you got on.