Digital Detox Top Tips
- Do you remember life before the digital age?
- What is your relationship with tech?
Technosphere – The sphere or realm of human technological activity; the technologically modified environment. Can be described from both a personal and global level.
Technostress is concerned with our adverse reactions to technology and how we are changing due to its influence. As technology has become an increasingly significant part our lives technostress has developed a lot and impacted many people and the people surrounding them.
Technostress changes people due to technology in ways that are not good for us physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Some have even suggested that it is draining the human spirit as we retreat more and more into a virtual world.
- Distractions at work
The main distractions that we face at work:
Personal Technology: Our smartphones – and now smartwatches, fitbits etc. – have blurred the line between personal and professional communication. We can now receive work emails and phone calls on the same device as private Facebook comments, Instagram photos, and an array of other personal information.
Social Media: Social media offers us new ways of communicating with unprecedented numbers of people. It can also be a productivity killer, taking our attention away from work tasks and breaking our concentration.
Organizations can no longer just block people’s access to websites that aren’t work-related – smartphones can get around this, as they operate on cellular networks independent of any work-based Internet access. So, people must be gently encouraged to use social media responsibly, so that their productivity and focus aren’t affected.
Browsing: Reading the latest headlines, checking sports scores, and ordering new clothes online (even for the office) can easily steal 30 minutes of our time, as well as often being a breach of workplace rules.
- The cost of continuously checking your emails
If interrupted by email, how long does it take to return to your original task?
What proportion of your emails are unnecessary?
How long do you spend processing those emails?
The consequences seem to be that a lot of time is wasted or lost through not being aware of the impact of interruptions and time dealing with unessential or unnecessary emails. Essential in this context means relevant to the work they need to do and the priorities for that day or week.
In addition to lost time there is also an impact on the brains ability to concentrate.
- The signs of digital burnout
- Physical energy low
- Emotionally exhausted
- Immunity compromised
- Little effort in relationships
- Increasingly pessimistic
- Unproductive at work
What is Digital Burnout?
Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Burnout has been assumed to result from chronic occupational stress. Such stressors are caused by overloading the mind and therefore the body.
Digital burnout has the same symptoms – as listed above. However, it has a different set of causes. One of those causes is our online – or double – lives. Social media and the uptake in mobile devices has promoted a parallel, digital existence.
- PREPARE TO CHANGE BEHAVIOURS – 4 week challenge
Week No 1: Self-Awareness
Week 1: Spend some time each day as you go through your routines becoming more self-aware. That is: noticing how you are paying attention.
For these challenges, it can be useful to have a notebook, diary, or perhaps an app that allows you to record your daily activities and thoughts.
Note the following:
- When your attention is optimum and when it is low? Consider various times, tasks, people, places (like going to a daily business meeting in the afternoon)
- If you feel your attention is low, ask: Am I too mellow? Or the opposite, am I too anxious? Is my mood in my way? Is there something invading my thoughts I need to get off my mind? Am I having destructive thoughts? Etc.
- At the end of the day, see what kinds of things are distracting you. Distracters will, of course, change as the many variables that can affect you per day change. But the more you repeat this activity, the more you will discover “your” patterns of distraction. Or, crucially your “pattern of Self-Interruption” – see notes on next slide. The idea is to raise this point now and then emphasize it when looking at so called multi-tasking.
- Later in the day, take a look at your list. Pick a significant incident.
So week one will be spent paying attention to how you pay attention within the various and more significant elements of your own daily routine. Each day spend time making a note of these so you can reflect upon to them later.
Week No 2: Create boundaries and ‘Breaks’
On a daily basis create space to consciously ‘pause’ & reflect, every time you are interrupted or distracted, you need to gather new strength to pick up where you left off, and you waste valuable minutes trying to figure out exactly where that was. This becomes exhausting over time.
However, this is referring to unplanned interruptions or self-distractions. The idea here is that you make sure you are at a point where you can leave the work with a sense of completion – at least to that point. It is then much easier to pick up where you left off when you come back to it. The sense of interrupting and not completing a task is known as “attentional residue”
Avoid constantly checking your emails:
- When in mono-tasking mode, put on the out-of-office notification for a few hours a day, instructing colleagues to call you only if it’s urgent.
- Turn off incoming email audio pings and alerts.
- Set email preferences to receive emails hourly instead of as they happen.
- Set a timer to remind you to check email only once an hour or every two hours. Or, better still only check emails once you’ve completed the mono-task you set yourself to do.
- Choose “low productivity” times– There are likely certain times of day when you do your best work , maybe in the morning or maybe late at night. Schedule an email check-in for your less productive times, and save your peak hours for high-value work.
Week No 3: Focus & Concentration
Each day create space to consciously mono-task
For each day of this week you are going to focus on your ability… to focus – no multi-tasking
Try making this as specific as possible if you know you have habits of multi-tasking, e.g.:
- Do you start and stop emails? Write an email until you’ve finished it and hit “send.”
- Do several things while having a coffee? Perhaps take a moment to just drink your coffee.
- Leap onto Twitter as soon as I see something? Don’t read an article and Tweet about it – read it, then
Address your distractions – do one thing at a time
If you catch yourself doing two things, switch your focus back to one.
Agree to put away phones
Track your own use
Schedule use and activity
Use browsing only as a reward
Create space to mono-task – one of the best ways to ward off your distracters. Find a quiet space – this can be a place or a way of shutting others out, during your day to work. If you go somewhere and take your laptop with you, remember that this is time to focus on work, so avoid doing anything unrelated to this specific task.
You can install blocking software, such as Freedom, to help you to decide which websites or content you want to block for yourself.
If it’s acceptable within your organization, use a brief personal browsing session as a reward for an hour or two of high-quality, focused work.
Week No 4: Frame your day around sleep not screen time
- Avoid using your devices for the First and Last thing of Each Day
As we have been mentioning our screen lives (email, social media sites, online news) have created an instant-response culture that has been found to be addictive, stealing our ability to concentrate. And so, as the UC Irvine referred to above and U.S. Army researchers have found, spending time away from our screens, and digital activities can significantly improve one’s ability to focus.
While I’m not suggesting you don’t check your emails, news or social media altogether, one easy way to break the mindless habit of checking what was highlighted earlier is to start and end each day fully unplugged. Devoting your start at home to yourself, family etc., and at work for your start with your most critical, concentrated task will allow you to begin your day with a sense of accomplishment and control. And preserving your last part of your day to relax and unwind will get you prepared to sleep — another activity that’s crucial to improving focus.
Time to stop using the internet as our default relaxation
Use your phone with a specific task in mind
Rearranging the apps on your phone.
You do not necessarily have to get rid of anything to complete this challenge. You just need to weigh the value of each app, delete the ones that you a) do not use or b) do not bring you joy.
- Put all of your remaining apps into folders – ideally, just one folder. To do this, touch and drag your apps on top of one another. When you’ve finished, set your phone’s background wallpaper to an image that reminds you of your week goal.
- Turn off non-urgent notifications on the apps you can still see. On your iPhone, you can go to “Settings” –> “Notifications” –> “Badge App Notifications.”
- 3)When you need to use one of your apps, pull up your phone’s search function. On iPhones, swipe down anywhere in the center of the screen. On Android, use your OK Google search field.
- you can also attack your desktop browser, your email, your Google Drive, or wherever you spend your time.
- Apps to stick with your digital detox
Pause the digital start the real:
- Pause (free) designed to help us connect with real life & free you up to do more
- Moment on iOS tells you how many times you checked your phone & how many hours a day you spent using it.
- Rescue Time find your work life balance: understand your daily habits so you can focus & be more productive
- Feel Good Digital Detox toolbox
On their own, negative emotions are neither good or bad.
Emotions: identify your feelings
Listening: your emotions matter