Last time we looked at how best to use our electronic devices at work. But there is also something to be said for how we use them outside work. Not only for our general life balance but also because that balance in itself will affect how efficient we can be at work. Our brain can only take so much as we have emphasized over the past months.
First a few practical pointers:
– put your mobile phone away: put it on your desk, a table, in your bag. It is not attached to your hand!
– avoid all screens in the bedroom and switch everything off at least half an hour before going to bed;
– if you use your mobile phone as an alarm clock, put it on flight mode and at least one metre away from your head. Even better, use a dawn simulator as an alarm clock instead, your sleep quality will improve and your performance at work will no doubt follow!
– Do not check your phone messages and emails first thing in the morning; give your brain and body time to wake up gently;
– introduce “switch off Sundays” or digital detox holidays for the whole family… not for the faint hearted!
Do I hear you say: of course! Well, fantastic then! But studies show that 65% of people are addicted to their phone and anxious to lose their mobile, not being in a connected area or having a flat battery. There is even a fancy name for it: FOMO: fear of missing out, of not being connected. Even if you are have not gone that far, give it a real think: are you actually doing everything on the list here? Could you imagine yourself going a day without your mobile phone, tablet or laptop?
Test yourself with Gwen Bell’s Social Media Meditations:
1. What’s my purpose for being online right now?
2. Am I using the social web to disengage from an argument or uncomfortable conversation?
3. During designated family/date time, am I sneaking glances at my device?
4. Do I frame events in my life with the statement: “this will make a great blog post”?
5. How many browser windows do I have open right now?
6. Am I neglecting something at this moment by reading a post/updating my status?
7. How often am I performing vanity searches on myself?
8. Am I telling in-person folks to “hold on” while I take a call/text?
9. How is the internet serving me in this moment?
10. It is time for a phone/internet consumption break?
Now of course, this is not about denying the amazing capabilities of our latest gadgets. Each new invention has its critics and that is not new! To put a smile on your face, here is what Plautus had to say about the invention of the sundial: “God damn the man who invented hours, who first set up a sundial in this city, and who divided up my day into miserable little bits! When I was a little lad, my belly was my sundial – much the best and most reliable of the lot! When he said it was time, you ate, if there was any food in the house. Now, even if there was any, it doesn’t get eaten unless the Sun gives the word. Nowadays, the whole town is full of sundials, and most people are crawling around half dead with hunger.” (in Barrie Jaeger: Making work work for the highly sensitive people)
But remember: you are in charge, chose your use of technology, do not let it use you.
Florence is an international expert in stress and sleep management, a performance coach and sophrology practitioner. She works with executives who need to perform at a high level and face pressures and challenges on an everyday basis.
She teaches them practical tools and strategies to be at their best when they need it most, know how to “switch off” and “on” at will, remain in control, have energy, focus, a clear head and build resilience. With methods similar to those used by Olympians, she helps her clients develop the brain power of a corporate athlete: their mind at its best.