August 23, 2018
How much time do you really spend with technology? Balance your devices with these tips.
Picture this: you spend more than 9 hours every day in front of a screen, including your TV, phone, and computer. Of the time that you’re awake, that’s over 50% of your day. Since modern-day jobs require extensive use of technology, digital habits from the office can trickle into the home and affect productivity, focus, and sleep. So, how do you find the right medium between work, technology, and home life? Here are a few tips to help strike the right life balance with your devices:
Technology is built to help your productivity, not hurt it. But with so many careers dependent on technology, it can be difficult to find the right balance between staying productive and staying tech-free.
Methods like time-blocking can help keep you on the devices you need, only when you need them. Rather than writing a to-do list, time-blocking allows you to schedule your appointments. Block off time from 9-11 to finish creating your reports and from 11-12 to grab lunch with your friend. Scheduling time for non-work activities is just as important as scheduling a team meeting. To keep yourself accountable, enter these times into the calendar on your device so others don’t assume you’re free to chat.
As you continue to practice time-blocking, you’ll learn how long certain tasks may take you so that you can better evaluate your time. By setting specific deadlines and parameters, you’ll feel less inclined to immediately respond to emails or browse social media. The more work you do in the office, the less you’ll have to do at home.
If time-blocking isn’t enough, try silencing your temptations – including notifications. Merely receiving a phone call or seeing a text notification can increase error by over 25%. Since fast broadband delivers information within seconds, it can feel like you’re constantly faced with these distractions.
To combat interruptions, consider downloading Offline, an app that mutes digital distractions. Upon installation, the app will track your phone usage to provide feedback on the types of activities and apps you engage with the most. From there, you can select who and what you’d like to mute and for how long. Whether you’re blocking social sites during the day or work messages in the evening, you set the restrictions to minimize distractions and maximize productivity both in the office and at home.
Bedtime is not just for children. To help you achieve maximal sleep each night, establish a reasonable bedtime so you don’t stay up until midnight scrolling through your Facebook feed. As a best practice, set an alarm 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed and unplug from all your devices (including the TV). This can promote your brain’s release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) which helps you fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed.
If you absolutely must respond to a late-night work email, make sure you turn on “night mode” to dim the light and weaken its effects on stimulating your brain. Whenever possible, choose activities like reading, meditating, or journaling rather than binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix. Whatever you choose to do, sit back, relax, and stay away from your devices at night for optimum sleep and recovery.
With so many different devices at our disposal, it can be challenging to stay tech-free. While work requires constant engagement with technology, fast internet invites us to spend our free time in front of a screen, too. From browsing Facebook to streaming your favorite TV shows, temptations are everywhere. The good news is that they can be silenced. Solutions like time-blocking, muting notifications, or staying clear of technology are only a few of the many ways you can strike a healthy balance with your devices and stay productive in and out of the office. Try them out and see what works for you.