During the pandemic, as our professional and personal lives blended, with entire days being spent at home, technology has been a lifeline for many – enabling us to continue our work and keeping us connected while being apart.
It has, however, highlighted a valuable lesson. One of the challenges we face is that we allow our tech to manage us, our days and our time – with constant notifications tempting us back to our screens.
Remote work has made this even tougher, feeling like we’re on call from our dining tables and never truly switching off. All of this is having a detrimental effect on our wellbeing and leading to overwhelm and burnout for so many.
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As we navigate what our next work chapter will be, with many settling into a hybrid model, spending some days in the office and others at home, it’s the perfect time to really ask how tech is supporting our life instead of pulling us in too many different directions.
We have an amazing opportunity to re-evaluate the role that tech plays so we can use it to our advantage when needed and ensure we’re switching off from it all together when not. So how can you keep tech positive and make it work for you?
1. Set boundaries with your tech and communicate your needs
Have a conversation with management and your team about creating focus time: time in your day that you can block out to really dive into a project, turning off notifications on your computer and your phone. Use apps for motivation and even remove access to certain websites if you need help building your self-discipline.
2. Make your calendar work for you
Schedule in time throughout your day for other tasks such as emails, calls and meetings. Blocking out free space is also important so there’s time planned in to take care of urgent client work and more reactive tasks that inevitably crop up.
3. Set reminders to move, stretch, check your posture and drink water
Use your tech to help you stick with your healthy habits and to build even more wellbeing practices throughout your day. With the endless options for tracking our health and gamification, tech has made it motivating for many to measure their progress and create new healthy habits from walking more, sleeping better, meditating and eating healthier.
4. Prioritise time for you and your wellbeing first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening
Doing this instead of starting and ending your day with emails or social media is going to have huge benefits for both your physical and mental health, giving you that crucial time away from your screens.
5. Incorporate more low-tech solutions into your days
Plan face-to-face and walking meetings with colleagues when in the office and phone calls while working from home. Keep Zoom for presentations or learning opportunities such as workshops.
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, a neuroscientist from the University of California who teaches about the science of happiness at work, says: “What I’m seeing in the literature is more and more evidence of how important it is to be intentional and deliberate about the ways we’re using technology.”
So, let’s be more intentional with our tech. Turning off our notifications and planning our days so we can really switch off and step away will ensure that we’re prioritising ourselves and our wellbeing. We can then keep using tech to our advantage instead of allowing it to run our days. Manage your tech instead of it managing you.
Image by Artem, Podrez