• Is It Time for a Digital Detox?

    What would we do without technology?
    Can you survive without your cell phone?
    Are you overwhelmed with Facebook notifications?

    Technology makes it easier for us to tackle our ever growing to-do lists. Sometimes technology is more of a time stealer and takes away our ability to live in the moment. When I am spending precious time with my mom, she often admonishes me with a, “Can’t you put your phone down for two seconds?”

    I am starting to realize that technology creates a false sense of urgency. Does this sound familiar?

    • I must check my email even when I’m off the clock.
    • I must immediately respond to all emails
    • I must respond to my instant messages now
    • I must update my Facebook status now
    • I have to watch this video of “grandma’s dancing” now

    Don’t get me wrong, technology is very convenient and enables us to stay connected to family and friends. You no longer have to wait for Christmas card photos to see how much the kids have grown. We can now easily keep in touch with our friends and family from coast to coast. I have to ask, what ever happened to actually talking to people instead of texting, emailing or instant messaging? As a business owner, it’s a time saver as well as a budget friendly tool that helps increase client communication resulting in higher product sales.

    Unhealthy Side Effects

    Neck and Back

    Recent research proves that too much technology can be bad for our health. For instance, every time you look down at our phone to check our email, we are adding 60 pounds of pressure to our neck. The Hansraj’s illustration below demonstrates the impacts on our neck and back:

    Eye Strain

    Sitting at a computer all day, constantly texting on your smartphone and watching TV while glued to your tablet at night can cause digital eye strain. Our eyes need to take a break from the lights of our computer screens. According to a USA Today article, nearly 70% of adult Americans report suffering from dry eyes and blurred vision caused by digital eye strain.

    Tendonitis

    Too much texting can lead to tendonitis or text claw. If you think about it, the way we hold our phones is not a natural position for our hands. Repetitive hand motions can lead to pain in our wrists, elbows and shoulders.

    Managed Surfing

    I started setting aside a 15-minute block of time every two to three hours to take a quick peek at what’s happening at my favorite places on the web. 15-minutes is plenty of time to catch up on Facebook and check out Huffington Post. I turned off my sound notifications so I am not tempted to take a peek when I hear a ping or a chime.

    Managing Your Email

    Our inboxes can be a major source of anxiety for many of us. I know my inbox stays full with messages from colleagues, clients, friends, family and the many publishers that send me content I have subscribed to. By the end of the week, I’m spending more time managing the 500 emails in my inbox than actually working.

    I decided to set up secondary email accounts. Friends and family now email me at a gmail account, subscription emails go to a yahoo account that I set up. I don’t need to check promotional emails every day. I save those and go through them at leisure. For my work emails, I set up folders that help me prioritize the emails.

    Another way to cut back on emails is to have a phone conversation with someone. We lose a lot of time when email chains get too long. Sometimes it’s more efficient and less confusing to pick up the phone and call.

    Smartphone

    I find that mobile devices and apps can often undermine my productivity. Think about it, how much time do you waste fighting the auto correct when composing an email? In some instances, a phone call may be more efficient.

    Smartphones create a sense of immediacy. What do you miss when you are in a meeting checking your phone? It’s more professional and imperative to be present and in the moment rather than checking emails or playing Words With Friends.

    Try being more disciplined with your smartphone at work. You don’t need to have your phone on you at all times. According to Robert Half, research shows that tech gadgets are leading to a decline in workplace etiquette.

    Digital Detox

    It’s time to cut the cord and take your life back. In other words, give your overloaded brain a break. Unplugging helps recharge your mind allows you to:

    • Reconnect with your creativity
    • Improves your mood
    • Boosts concentration
    • Makes room for more meaningful intellectual connections

    Not convinced that you are a digital addict? If you check your email before you get out of bed or while you are in the bathroom, you may have a problem. If you need tangible proof, keep track of how many times you check your email throughout the day. The number by the time you go to bed may shock you.

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