The first thing we see at night or in the morning is sadly no longer our loved ones or a good book. It is more than likely the screen of our smartphone.
We are now in the digital era, where all is ruled by technology. It has chaotically and randomly flooded into our daily lives and has impacted every part of it. Sometimes, it may feel like we are drowning, but is this because of technology itself or is it our own inability to set healthy tech boundaries.
Inside Telecom would like to share our top 5 tips for setting healthy tech restrictions that will enable you to become a happier spouse, parent, co-worker, and/or manager. That is, if you are able to put your phone down and concentrate on our writing for the next five minutes.
Turn Off Notifications.
You might be thinking that you can just ignore notifications and that you do not need to turn them off. It is common to feel that you need to be constantly in the know and connected, like you are going to miss something important. However, research has shown that those who keep their notifications on, report very high levels of hyperactivity and inattention. This is consequently attributed to a lower productivity and psychological well-being. Perhaps, you will not be the first one to know who wins the game but it could be worth it for your own mental health.
Cut down on Newsfeed Check-Ins.
Cut down and control how many times you check your News Feed. This can be email, social media, news and sports. Try to check-in just three time per day. A recent study demonstrated that checking emails less frequently, significantly decreased stress, and lead to an increased sense of meaning, social connectedness, and even a better quality of sleep. Not to be too ‘out there’ but also try waking up to an old fashioned alarm clock – the ones with big digital letters and a built in radio. I’m sure there is one knocking around the house somewhere. Using your smartphone alarm raises the chance that the first thing you see when you wake up is depressing news headlines or an endless and daunting string of unread emails waiting for you.
Protect Your Consolidation Time.
Believe it or not, you brain actually uses any downtime it has to consolidate all of the information it takes in during the day. If you fill your downtime with digital distractions such as playing games on your phone, posting on social media or even reading e-books, your brain has little time left to process the world and to form long-term memories. It is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation and the Mayo Clinic to eliminate screen time one hour before you sleep in order to block the release of stimulating neurotransmitters that keep your body from entering a restful state. Attempt to have device-free brain breaks (before bed/after waking up) to enable your brain to recharge and refocus.
Do not be afraid to protect those around you from being overtaken by technology. Have times where you are all WiFi free and ensure that your kids have their electronic devices connected to a timer in your control. Parents can use the same safeguards to control their own internet use. Program your router to turn off at a certain time every night and block distracting sites after a specific hour.
Be a Model of Digital Citizenship.
We all have standards for what we wear when we go to work or when we go out, for how we speak when children are around and even the jokes we share with others. We should also have standards for our use of technology when we interact with others. Try to look up from our computer when someone walks into the room, take our earbuds out to say hello, close our laptop and refrain from looking at our phone during real conversations. There are few things more annoying than trying to have a conversation with someone who is texting or responding to emails. Do your best not to be that person and encourage those around you to do the same.
The ability to draw boundaries around technology use is a superb initial step towards controlling the flood of technology and overwhelming information in our everyday lives. It can indeed be hard to create new habits, but after a short period of adjustment you will find that you are happier and much more in the present. It might even have a positive effect on those around you!