A recent Ofcom report suggested that we now spend more time online than we do sleeping. That’s a pretty big chunk of your day connected to the digital world. Tech companies are even designing new features to help us manage our time online and device usage more effectively. Maybe you’re already using some of the digital wellbeing features on your teach? So is that constant connection adding to or detracting from our lives? What is digital wellbeing and why is it important?
The infatuation with the digital world seems to be over. A quick search of ‘digital’ will unearth ‘digital detox’ or the ‘disconnect’ movement. Digital addiction really is a thing and it’s harmful to our health, our self esteem and our brains. There’s even a new word for it, nomophobia, the fear and anxiety that arises when you are separated from your mobile phone.
Too much tech will depress you
2018 saw Google OS launch a digital wellbeing initiative, recognising that increased use of gadgets has an impact upon our mental health. Research increasingly suggests that the more time we spend connected to tech, the lower our mood and the more depressed we are likely to become.
So, do we go cold turkey and ditch our digital life? Whilst it’s true that excessive plugging in will leave you feeling exhausted cold turkey isn’t the answer. Managing your time online will reduce the risks associated with technology and help you achieve a better digital balance.
So if you recognise a resistance to disconnecting it may mean it’s time for a digital divorce and to devote more time to your digital wellbeing. Here’s how.
1.Don’t go full on Luddite. We live in a digital age and we’ve lost count of the number of times that tech has made our lives easier at PCG. We couldn’t live in the Lake District, work internationally and do what we do without it so we’re not advocating smashing your gadgets up in protest. Digital wellbeing is all about finding the balance, not isolating yourself. Bringing mindfulness to your digital use and consider what’s important to you as well as what isn’t.
2. Delete social media apps. We know it’s handy to have them on your phone but that’s kind of the problem, right there. Remove apps and alerts from your phone and commit to using them on your desktop instead. This will give you an easy win with your digital wellbeing. Shifting to desktop use will cut the time you spend mindlessly swiping and free up time for other things you’ve been missing out on.
3. List your gadgets. List all of your tech and then create a schedule of how much time you want to spend on each one. Not sure how long you spend on each app? Enlist the help of a tracking app such as social fever . If you’ve already got digital wellbeing features on your gadgets, allocate a usage time and stick to it.
4. Tech free mealtimes. Ditch the tech when you’re at the table. We’re so used to eating and doing something else at the same time (watching TV, working at your desk, checking social media) that eating for eating’s sake has become something of a rarity. When was the last time you focused completely on your meal without distractions? Use mealtimes as an opportunity to build your focus and decrease your stress levels by practising mindful eating.
5. Commit to a cut off. Hands up if you’re guilty of emailing into the wee hours? We thoughts so. We’ve all done it. The problem is we end up exhausted and burned out working that way. The business world recognises the folly of working late into the night and how sometimes less is really more in disguise.
That’s why companies like VW are turning servers off or restricting access in the evenings. You can do the same by setting a time each day when you stop work for good. Your performance and your wellbeing will improve as a result.
We love talking about digital wellbeing, resilience and optimising performance. That’s why we’ve worked with thousands of people and Fortune 100 companies to provide digital wellbeing, resilience at work and stress management training courses along with executive resilience coaching.
Want to know more? take a look at our Free Resilience Toolkit or get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.