Many of us are glued to our devices around the clock, and it’s transforming the way we relate to one another. But there are ways to help maintain a balance, writes Anastasia Dedyukhina
Do you complain you don’t have enough time? I consistently see clients underestimate time spent online by approximately two hours a day: a whole extra month per year. What would you do with all this extra time? Set a goal you can really look forward to, and track your digital usage for a week by installing a free Rescuetime browser extension. Then? Cut the biggest distractions.
2. Time management
Give up on the idea that you need to be connected 24/7. In the age of digital distraction, information is abundant, but our attention is limited. Remove all notifications, and use blocking apps and extensions – for example Stayfocusd, which is free – and functions that let you take control of when you send and receive email messages, like Boomerang. Take back control of your agenda from your devices.
Give stories, not stuff
3. Space management
We need space in our heads to digest information, take good decisions and be creative. Set up a daily ritual of locking your devices out of sight when you finish work. Arrange tech-free zones in the areas where you relax and process information – the bedroom, dining table or bathroom. Get an old-fashioned alarm clock instead: this will improve both the quality of your sleep and your sex life.
4. Relationship management
We still don’t have etiquette around how people can contact us online, so we end up managing multiple communication channels: email, WhatsApp, social media, text messaging. Be proactive and advise people the best channel to contact you on, and when they can expect to hear back from you. By managing their expectations, you free up parts of your brain.
Don’t rely on willpower alone to change your digital habits: online temptations will quickly deplete it. Instead, create daily structures to support yourself. Finding something truly inspiring to do will help: we often go online not because we need to, but because it makes us feel important or helps us avoid being sad. Replace this artificial dopamine high with a natural one. Social achievements, discovering new exciting things, and doing things you truly enjoy, will make you less tempted to go online so often.
Consciously Digital works with businesses to help people stay healthy in an ‘age of digital distraction’
Read our feature, The big disconnect: how to tackle tech addiction here