Because of today’s climate, most jobs require using electronic devices both to produce deliverables as well as stay in touch with clients and colleagues. Those who work virtually may also find themselves spending too much time online and with their tech devices.
What hasn’t been or isn’t connected online anymore? That said, you may need a tech break—here’s how you’ll know it’s time.
Signs You Need a Tech Break
On average, most Americans spend 8.6 hours per day interacting with technology. That means we spend the vast majority of our waking hours on some form of tech.
If you work from home, chances are you already know some of the important reasons to take a break from technology, but how do you know when it’s time to detox from your devices for a while? Your answers to these questions can shed some light:
- Do you check your smartphone for emails first thing when you wake up and right before you go to bed?
- Do you go through every day with your smartphone and/or computer within arm’s length, constantly vigilant for new emails and texts?
- Have you taken on such a large workload that you feel it’s hard to step away from your desk, even to take breaks during your workday?
- Do you find yourself working all day and into the night on your projects, stopping only to eat and sleep (if you’re lucky)?
You may also need a tech break if you have physical pain and strain. Tension in your back and neck (sometimes referred to as “tech neck”), headaches, eye strain, dry eyes, and even carpal tunnel syndrome can all be signs that you’re overdoing the tech.
Sometimes needing a tech break comes from our personalities and the ever-present FOMO. Yes, it’s a real psychological phenomenon—the Fear of Missing Out. If your genuine desire to stay in touch with friends and family has turned into a technology addiction that has you checking social media all day long and comparing yourself to the (highly curated) posts you see there, it’s time for a major break.
5 Tips for Taking a Tech Break
66% of our users surveyed spend more time on their smartphones, and 59% say they’re on their computers more often since the pandemic began. Ready for a change? Here’s how to unplug:
1. Take Baby Steps
Begin your tech detox with a short period each day when you’re free from your devices and their distractions. Leaving your phone in the car for 30 minutes during lunch is a great way to do so. Gradually, you can build up to additional unplugged breaks during the workday.
2. Let It Be Known
One thing that can be anxiety-inducing about a tech break is worrying about coworkers and family trying to reach you. Set boundaries, stick to a daily schedule (with designated “office” hours), and let people know about your plans to be offline at certain set times during the day.
3. Put It Away and Turn It Off (Really)
Don’t rely on willpower alone to get you through your tech detox periods. Turn off your phone, or at least temporarily silence your email and social media alerts.
4. Give Your Eyes a Rest
Our rate of blinking decreases while looking at a screen, and your eyes must tense to focus on something near. Think about how this can affect you right before bed? Take time away to focus on something other than the screen.
5. Start the Day Sans Tech
What you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the entire day, so giving yourself one hour before you dive into all those emails and alerts may be just what you need to cope with the rest of your day immersed in technology. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to manage without your early morning tech fix, then find something to replace it—like meditation, a walk outside, or a cup of tea or coffee in an outdoor space.
On a personal level, taking a tech break can enable you to develop closer in-person relationships and help you learn to live in—and appreciate—the moment with those you care about. When you’re fully present and able to interact without technology interruptions, your interpersonal communication skills will also improve.
Ditching the tech every now and then can also improve your self-worth. Did you know that one in three people feel worse about themselves after visiting Facebook? Spending less time comparing yourself to others you see on social media takes you out of negative self-talk and back into reality where everyone has struggles, no matter how perfect everything may seem online.
I provide CIO and IT Support Services alongside a mid-sized technical support team of engineers for business. Bastionpoint Technology is a managed service provider for businesses ranging from 1-500 users! We specialize in Legal, Medical, and Professional services, but support so much more. Retail, Finance, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Non-Profits, and you’ve certainly heard of our clients. We offer unlimited on-demand services, with an on-demand price point to meet every client’s needs. Just call on us – we put your business first!