With this increase in productivity and amplified accessibility to our coworkers, we’re struggling to disconnect from work. We now work longer hours, check and respond to our notifications at night from our couches and beds, when we’re with our families, and even on weekends.
Pair that with the common approach to hop on our phones to log onto social media channels to decompress, set our alarms, track and log macros, do banking, listen to music, and whatever else is possible, we’re a population of “tech'd” out users.
In fact, we spend about 11 hours a day on our devices, and this skyrocketed to 19 hours a day during the pandemic!
And since we’ve been working remotely, it’s been considered the status quo for some employees to work outside their designated office hours, whatever they may be. But all of this digital noise can lead to what’s called “cognitive overload” which can cause you to be ineffective, overwhelmed, stressed and even depressed.
Since the pandemic, we’ve been on meeting calls 50% more. This upsurge coupled with our lack of ability to separate work-life from home-life, we’re now more likely to be interrupted by our spouses and our children while we work, workers are reporting feelings of burnout – 69% of them.
With this influx in connectivity, it’s time to consider how to better manage tech exposure to reduce the likelihood that you’ll feel fatigue or burnout in your daily life.
Set Limits With Social Media
One obvious way to reduce the likelihood that you’ll feel fatigued from tech usage is to set limits with social media. For some, this may or may not be related to the work that they do, but a lot of us pick up our phones and scroll through our favorite social media platform between meetings, after we’ve completed a task, or while we’re relaxing at night.
Picking up your phone to relax is counterintuitive in some sense. Yes, while it may boost your serotonin levels to mindlessly scroll through Tik Tok or Instagram, you’re still connected. And that means you’re more likely to wander over to other notifications on your phone or feel the need to respond to whatever messages you've received in your DMs.
Actually, A University of Penn study found that reducing social media use to 30 minutes each day resulted in a significant reduction in levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep problems, and FOMO.
Instead of using social media as a way to unwind, try to do something else. Do you have a hobby that you’ve let go of, want to learn to cook a certain food, or perhaps you haven’t connected with that one friend in a long time? The time used to scroll social media can be used in better, more effectively relaxing ways. You might even discover something new about yourself with that time.
Getting up and taking a quick walk is also a great way to decompress. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, it can be done off and away from your phone and we highly encourage you to try and ditch technology when looking to relax.
You can also keep yourself accountable by adjusting your settings so that your phone automatically limits the amount of time you spend on social. You just have to remember to be disciplined enough not to bypass that alert!
Defer Non-Urgent Meetings to Katch
Another great way to reduce tech fatigue is to limit the number of meetings you take in a day. And you can do so efficiently and effectively by deferring those non-urgent meetings to Katch. That way, you’ve opened up your schedule to focus on what’s important at that time or possibly step away from your screen to regroup and breathe.
When you’re not tethered to your computer, you’re less likely to feel burnt out from device usage.
Another constructive approach to reduce burnout and tech fatigue is to eliminate the recurring meeting. Oftentimes, these meetings can become unnecessary. There may be no updates from either party involved and instead of having it set on your calendar, you can simply send a Katch when you need to connect at a time that works best for you.
Moreover, you can take Katch calls on the go, so you can pop in your headphones and head out for a walk while you update your colleague on a project, providing some respite from your desks and additional screen use.
Silence Notifications and Take Regular Tech Breaks
You should silence your notifications for a number of reasons; you need time to focus on working on a project, you’re away from your computer, you’ve finished work for the day. No matter the reason, it’s important to create space between when you’re available and when you aren’t.
Oftentimes, we’re multitasking, checking email during meetings, working on a project while flipping between Slack, Teams, and text messages, and this type of behavior can lead to not only lowered productivity, but also stress and burnout.
In fact, we feel so strongly about this practice, that we’ve written about it before because we understand that the constant ding or pop-up from a notification from a coworker and the need to always be “on” is an impossible state to be in.
Another important approach to managing tech fatigue that should also be coupled with silencing your notifications is to take frequent breaks from technology and to also designate time in which you are entirely tech-free.
The more you’re able to reduce those 11 average daily hours spent, the more you’re likely to see the benefits of that reduction and taking breaks often can help you to do so. Instead of spending hours on end at your computer, try to get up and go for a walk, interact with those around you for 15 minutes, take your lunch in a different room, dedicate 30 minutes during the day to reading a book, or doing whatever it is that you may have not yet made time for.
Designating these regular breaks can help you to relax, reset, increase creativity, boost your mood, and improve your overall mental health.
What approaches do you take to avoid tech burnout? If you’d like to keep the conversation going, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!