Being stuck at home all day during lockdown means many of us will have become even more attached to our screens – regardless of whether we’re working from home or not, many of those long hours at home will be spent checking phone, tablet and computer screens.
And that’s before we even get onto the box-set binges.
If you do happen to be working from home, things can be made even worse by the working day starting earlier and finishing later – a blurring of the work/life boundaries can really exacerbate tech stress.
What are the signs of tech stress?
Are you continually scanning your devices for messages, emails or social media updates?
Does a dead battery send you into a blind panic, especially if your charger is nowhere to be found?
Does the amount of time your laptop takes to boot up send you into an apoplectic rage? A rage that’s intensified when the application you’ve been impatiently clicking on suddenly opens dozens of windows?
Then you could be suffering from tech stress.
Are you suffering from tech stress?
More and more of us are developing a tech dependency. Thanks to the proliferation of ‘must have’ devices available, and the multitude of functions they each perform, many of us simply can’t get through the day without them.
If your smartphone is hooked up to our social media applications, email and calendar (and whose isn’t?) the phone then forms the hub of your business and social life. Then there’s the photos stored on it, the music stored on it, the videos stored on it and it’s easy to see why you would feel lost without it – it’s a dairy, calendar, event planner and photo album, not to mention a music and video library.
And you can also call and text people on the things too.
So it’s hardly surprising people were losing it when the recent iOS 7 update completely wiped their iPhones, this wasn’t merely about losing some contact numbers, there probably memories and a potentially expensive music library on there too.
And then there’s the fact that we’re always available, connected to the outside world 24-hours-a-day – something psychologists have labelled the ‘always on’ syndrome.
This means we never switch off from work life or social life; if no-one is getting in touch we turn to social media to see what everyone’s up to; if there’s an issue at work, we can all too easily take it home with us.
And if we’ve got problems outside of these spheres, they can be exacerbated by the fact we can’t switch off and have a constant stream of data coming at us.
So what can we do to stop it? Follow our seven-step plan to make sure you’re not ‘always on’…
Putting your life on hold
Leave your phone in your glove box when driving – this is also a good idea where road safety is concerned.
Use the ‘silent’ function on your phone, that way it’s far less likely to distract you, even if you keep it about your person.
Set yourself some boundaries, for instance, don’t check social media ’til lunchtime and don’t make personal calls or texts in work time – this could also do wonders for your productivity.
And when using your phone, call people instead of texting. Instead of batting around ideas via email, set up a conference call.
Try to turn your smartphone off at night, or avoid leaving it next to your bed, as studies suggest even just a beep or a light from the phone can be enough to disrupt sleep.
And ban smartphones at family mealtime.
If you feel you have something of a chronic tech problem, keep a log of what devices you use, when you use them and why you use them – then look at where you can cut back.
How to beat stress and sleep better
Tech stress can really interfere with sleep, especially if you stay up late checking your phone or are woken up by it in the middle of the night.
A lack of sleep makes stress worse, but stress can also make it harder to sleep, so the infographic below has some great advice on beating stress and sleeping better.