Three Ways to Unplug from Technology and Get More Done
We all know the upsides to technology—greater connectivity, proven efficiencies, powerful tools and so much more. No doubt, you depend on the latest innovations in your business and life. But along with technology often comes a slippery slope. Without positive, proactive habits around how it’s used, technology has a way of consuming and controlling us. From how well we sleep to how effectively we engage with others, today’s modern devices and other technologies can hinder our daily performance, not to mention goal achievement and success overall. That said, as a leader, it’s important to champion technology whenever appropriate. But remember, it’s up to you to role model the behaviors that will communicate when and how it fits into the workplace—and when and how it does not. Challenging as it may be, temporarily “unplugging” may be exactly what you need to foster better focus, connect with others, hold effective discussions and increase the efficiency of certain tasks before you.
Sensing you need to curtail technology a tad? Here’s how to cut back personally so it’s not getting the best of you or impacting your ability to lead at work.
1. End Screen Time Early
Nowadays, so many people climb into bed and start watching stressful shows or use their phones to surf the web and do social media. Problem is, studies show screen light tricks our brain into cognitive activity that also triggers cortisol—a stress hormone. This obviously doesn’t bode well for settling the mind, body and spirit. It can lead to difficulty falling asleep and getting the rest that’s needed for a productive next day. Given this, I realize disengaging from technology at night can be a hard habit to break. To boost your odds of success, choose a replacement activity, for example, light reading, meditation, soothing music, a hot bath or other calming activities that give your brain the break it needs.
2. Limit Social Media During The Workday
I’m willing to bet that on any given day, you could probably spend an entire day doing social media and/or emailing with friends. In theory, this could derail your entire workday and goal achievement. Of course, it isn’t your friends’ fault that so many of them are available and willing to connect and “distract” you. It’s just the way of the world. Thanks to technology, people are available and at our fingertips more so than ever. Recognizing this, it’s important for leaders like you to set controls on how often you engage with friends on email and social media when you’re working. Quite simply, if you don’t, it can hijack your ability to focus, perform and lead. Equally important is noticing when work emails, texts and messaging morph into social conversations or other tangents that bump you off track. Just like a verbal conversation with co-workers, notice when you’ve got to course-correct, then discipline yourself to do it!
3. Seek Help If You Need It
In our modern world, Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) and Compulsive Internet Use (CIU) are real barriers to performance and productivity for many people, including leaders. Finding it impossible to disconnect or disengage from technology? Constantly checking your accounts, counting how many “likes” you’ve gotten from a post every minute, or making choices to spend time on a screen instead of on vital responsibilities and other healthy activities that bring you joy and reward are symptomatic of possible addiction. I’m not going to advise you on how to get help—it’s a very personal matter. But I will suggest that you seek strategies, support, advice, resources, etc., so you can feel empowered and motivated to make changes for the better. For more information, research or Google “virtual addiction.”
What’s your biggest challenge with personally managing email, screen time, or social media?