Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Getting the tech-life balance right


As essential as technology is to most people, it has its drawbacks. It’s all too easy to spend hours scrolling through social media posts, checking emails, or playing mobile games. This type of behaviour can result in mental and physical health problems as you become too dependent on technology. However, there are ways to get the balance right.

Understand how technology affects your life

Technology, when used as a distraction rather than a tool can impact your work and social life. The modern workplace often requires technology and so it is difficult to erase it from your life completely, or even for extended periods of time. However, if you actually record how often you spend online you will become more aware of how much time you are spending being distracted.

Do you:

  • Check emails and social media as soon as you wake up?
  • Remain logged into to online accounts all day?
  • Receive notifications and respond to them immediately?
  • Communicate with friends and family mostly via apps and social media?

Although this may seem entirely normal, it is important to realise how much time online is stopping you from interacting and socialising in person. Besides the practical implications of spending so much time online, there’s the impact it has on mental health to consider.

According to a report compiled by the Royal Society for Public Health, sites such as Instagram can have a negative effect on teenagers’ mental health. This investigation reveals that Instagram contributed to “anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying, body image and 'fear of missing out'".

Consider changing your settings so you no longer receive non-essential notifications and log out of sites and social media when you are not purposely using them.

Limit time online

Once you've made a record of how much time you spend online, if you realise it’s quite considerable, make a conscious effort to change.

You can do this by:

  • Responding to work emails only during working hours and put your out of office response on as soon as you finish work 
  • Allowing yourself only set times when you can access social media and emails
  • Leaving your mobile at home when you don't need it
  • Not using your mobile or device while in bed

Once you’ve limited your time using devices, you may realise that it has been causing you to neglect hobbies, activities, and even other people in your life.

Fill the void

Although your fingers may be itching to message someone or to scroll through timelines and pages, give yourself something else to do instead. Be in the moment when enjoying family activities and relish in the feeling of being completely committed to a family day out, group activities, or even just listening to one another without being distracted by the ping of your ‘phone. Take up a new hobby or go back to an old one and rediscover the feeling of being connected to activities you enjoy.

It isn’t all or nothing

Although taking a day or more away from technology each week could be extremely beneficial, in reality, technology keeps us in touch with friends, family, and current events. There’s no need to shun technology completely, but finding a healthy balance is sensible. Set yourself realistic time limits and create a habit of technology-free time each day and you will soon realise how much more fulfilling your life can be.


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