For all the ways that technology has benefited society, it’s also come with some less desirable side effects. With heightened accessibility and instantaneity comes the downside of a new set of pressures: to capture, share, Tweet about, and post on Facebook the minutia of our lives—and keep up with everyone else’s, too.
Whether we realise it or not, technology-related stress creeps into our lives. So give yourself a break. Check out these tips to get your tech-stress under control.
1) Be conscious of your technology use
The first step is pinpointing your weak spots. Maybe you’re a Facebook addict, a constant g-chatter, or a nervous texter. Figure out what your “tech habit” is, and log how much time you spend each day on it.
2) Set time limits
Once you’ve pinned down your habit, set limits for yourself. Start your day with a goal in mind, like “today I will only have g-chat open for one hour,” or “today will be a Facebook-free day.” It may be a challenge at first, but you’ll lessen your overall anxiety if you can control your tech distractions.
3) Cut down on multi-tasking
Nervous toggling between chat programs, tabs on your browser, and Excel, Word, or PowerPoint not only lowers your productivity, but it will stress you out (even if you don’t realise it). Make a point of having only one web page open at a time, and set breaks when you’ll check your personal e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook. Purposefully checking these as opposed to thoughtlessly meandering onto them, or having them stay open in the background, will help you stay focused throughout your day.
4) Make a list of your priorities
Having a lot to do, plus getting frequent e-mail and phone interruptions, can cause stress levels to spike, leaving you unsure of what to do next. List your day’s priorities, and when you find yourself starting to drift through internet sites, BBMs, and instant messages, look at your list. Consistently reminding yourself of what you have to get done means you have less chance of defaulting to browsing through Facebook while you try to decide what to do next.
5) Learn to use the off switch
Schedule a technology-free night, where you deliberately turn off your phone, keep your laptop shut, and exercise your mind in an active way. Having a conversation with someone in person can remind you that true interaction cannot be replaced by a computer screen or a smartphone!
For more on technology and stress, check out “This Is Your Brain On Technology.“
The author, Liz Elfman, is a contributing writer to Pretty Young Professional, and a post-graduate student studying international relations. Previously, she worked for IBM and as a researcher at The Atlantic.
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