Are you drowning in emails? Is your iPhone in meltdown? Have you got over 1,000 friends on Facebook and do your Twitter followers want to know what you had for breakfast this morning? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you are probably suffering from information overload.
Studies show that more and more professionals check their email inbox outside of office hours, while on holiday and after 11pm every night. In fact, one in four of us spend more time online than we do asleep. And shockingly it is now common for people to check their phone 200 times a day! That sounds insane until you actually think about how many times you look at your own phone and suddenly 200 seems very doable!
We must no longer allow others to dictate our mood, our focus and our ‘to do list’ and accept that a digital detox might be the best thing for us and it may just allow us to become less reactive and more proactive.
Fortunately, perhaps, our infatuation with all things technological seems to be slowing. Smartphones, tablets and laptops appear to have lost their allure and even the FitBit and Apple watches seem not to be appearing on our Christmas wish lists any longer. So are we just bored, Brexit-poor or gadget weary?
If you are really clever, you can probably think of only three things at any one time and as most men think about sex every thirty seconds that leaves only two! If your brain becomes hotwired by all the demands that techno fans make on you, you might forget what you were supposed to be doing and get sidetracked.
So how can we clear the backlog of paper, respond to the endless emails and ensure that we have an effervescent presence on LinkedIn?
Maybe you could try some of the following…
1 Know that it is okay to turn off your phone. You know that feeling of panic that you get before leaving work and going on holiday…the panic that everything will fall to pieces without you, and you will miss something vitally important (although it never happens.). If you feel the same way at the thought of turning your phone off, then maybe it’s time to hit the off switch.
2 Try deactivating some notifications so you aren’t at the beck and call of whenever your phone/laptop tells you that you are needed. This might be especially pertinent for you if you find that you often write a ‘to do list’ which never seems to get any shorter, and yet you are always up to speed with what’s trending on twitter.
3 Buy an alarm clock rather than using your phone to wake you up in the morning. This will stop you from spending the first 30 minutes of your day catching up on everything that you think you’ve missed while you’ve been sleeping.
4 Ban all phones at meal times. You will have seen those couples and families who go out for dinner together and don’t say a word to each other as they are just too busy tapping away on their phones. Don’t become one of them.
5 Read a book. Books offer you the escapism you need to recharge your batteries. Reading a book rather than looking at a phone is especially important just before bed as the bright phone light awakens your senses and makes it more difficult to switch off.
So how do these sound? Maybe you are excited at the prospect of a bit of down time? However, if you are left feeling uneasy at even the thought of actually doing any of the above, then maybe it’s even more important that you try at least one of them!
Electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets emit blue light, which signals to the brain to stop producing melatonin – the substance that prepares the body for sleep by tricking the brain into thinking it’s still daylight. The research, which was published in the journal Plos One, studied the habits of 635 US adults over a period of 30 days and found the median time spent on a smartphone was 3.7 minutes per hour. They also measured sleep quality over the same period. Further data collected relating to 136 of the participants showed that longer average screen-time was associated with poor sleep quality. The researchers estimated that one minute of time on a smartphone or tablet increased the amount of time it took to fall asleep by a minute and a half.