Digital Detox (Step Away From Your Devices!)

Does this sound familiar?  You wake up, grab your nearest device (which is likely your alarm clock), hit the snooze button a few times, check the weather and maybe glimpse at some news headlines. Next comes rapid succession of a glimpse at Facebook, LinkedIn, and texts and e-mails that greet you in the morning.  Maybe you play a few rounds of scramble with friends, answer a few more e-mails and finally get ready for work.  As you head out the door, you grab your laptop bag filled with your power chord, files, gadgets and a notebook or two  (all weighing in at about 20 lbs. or more) and leave for work, all the while talking on the phone or texting.

When you get to work, you immediately plug your laptop into your docking station or not (go wireless!), and plunge in.  If you do have a traditional desktop set up, it’s a safe bet that you also have your beloved gadgets nearby.  Whatever device you work with, if you are like the rest of us, you find yourself at the mercy of that endless stream e-mails, texts, tweets, more FB posts, LinkedIn messages, phone calls and the list seems endless!

If you can’t  relate to what you just read, congratulations!  You are a rare breed!  But take a moment and look around.  Everyone seems to be plugged into SOMETHING!  And yes, while we may feel ultra productive these days, since we can now do our work anytime, all the time  and anywhere.  And it’s not just work! Our devices are now the resource center for our music, photos, games, news, weather, travel, socializing, dieting, cooking, finances, learning, sports and the list goes on and on.  But at what cost?

In a recent NY Times Article, award winning journalist Matt Richtel writes: “In a place where technology is seen as an all-powerful answer, it is increasingly being seen as too powerful, even addictive.  The concern, voiced in conferences and in recent interviews with many top executives of technology companies, is that the lure of constant stimulation — the pervasive demand of pings, rings and updates — is creating a profound physical craving that can hurt productivity and personal interactions.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a BIG fan of technology and an avid (sometimes addicted) user.  But I wrestle with the negative effects of technology, both physically and mentally.   And I figure if I am wrestling with it, chances are, so are you.   So here are a few things for you to check in with.

Hunching, Crunching & Slouching: Without a doubt, our devices are taking a toll on us physically.  The smaller and more portable they get, the more crunched up and small we get!  Laptops, tablets, and phones compromise our postures taking a major toll on our necks, backs, wrists, hands, arms, shoulders and eyes.  Be mindful of your posture and take advantage of accessories like lapdesks, docking stations, external keyboards and monitors to help you maintain comfortable and healthy postures.

Compromised Communication:  Even though it is easier than ever to communicate with each other, the quality of our communication is being drastically compromised.  We are encouraged to express ourselves in 140 characters or less.  We no longer talk in real time or sit down for face to face interactions.  And chances are when we do sit down face to face with someone, one if not both parties will be texting someone else under the table!  And the irony is, that even though we are more connected than ever, studies have shown an increase in a feeling of social isolation, depression and loneliness!

So, make sure to go have lunch with a friend, pick up that phone and talk to someone dear to you and when you are with someone, really be present and text your other friends later.

2011-09-10-125353(62).jpgAvoiding Burn Out: Once upon a time, the workday had a clear beginning and a clear end.  Work that spillied into the evenings and weekends were the exception not the norm.  Today, work follows us everywhere and all the time, because it can, and conversely, Facebook, online shopping and other distractions creep into our work day compromising our productivity and time management.  The fact that we can multitask and have constant stimulation from cell phones, computers, devices, televisions and gaming devices only reduces our downtime and increases our stress levels.

Here are some signs that it’s time for a Digital Detox:

  • You respond to e-mails and texts no matter what!
  • You feel restless and anxious without your devices.
  • You can’t get through a meal without texting, e-mailing or talking on phone.
  • You go to sleep and wake up to your devices.
  • You have trouble sleeping because you use your devices before going to bed.
  • You look at multiple screens at the same time (TV, phone, laptop and tablet)
  • Family time is spent with everyone on their devices
  • You feel strung out, and feeling like you need to constantly keep up with all of the pings, rings, beeps and alerts that your devices are beckoning!

Getting away from your devices is easier than you think.  Simply walk away from your screens.  Organize your time and make sure to schedule in some screen free time each and every day.  Avoid your devices one hour before going to bed and one hour upon waking.  Reconnect with your friends and family in person.  Make certain days screen free.

Remember, your devices aren’t the only things that need to get recharged!

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 10.49.22 AMVivienne Fleischer, PBE Co-Founder

         Please share how you get away from your devices in the comments below!

                            Want more ideas to avoid Digital Overload?                                                  

               Visit us at www.pbergo.com for onsite and online training!                                     

 

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