While it may be the norm for many, being connected 24/7 to your computer, laptop, smartphone or iPad comes with a price. Here are three good reasons to take breaks from digital technology.
1. Recharge from job stress – According to a survey conducted by VTech, being constantly accessible for work was the number-one source of technology-related stress. Studies show, however, that in spite of modern work trends, our brains need downtime for recovery and we need our evenings and weekends to disconnect and recuperate from the stresses of work. Although it can be tempting to continue to check email, return text messages and answer work calls after normal work hours, it is important to allocate time for yourself and switch off work stress. Tell your colleagues that you will be unavailable after a certain time, turn off your phone and computer and set aside some work-free time each evening to relax. Your employer will benefit too, as you’ll be coming back to work more relaxed and recharged each day.
2. Maximize your productivity – Studies have found that multitasking reduces your productivity by 40 percent. This is because our brains are designed to focus on one thing at a time and bombarding them with unrelated, extraneous information only slows them down. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who are regularly besieged with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who completed one task at a time. To improve your productivity at work – or for other cognitive tasks – do one thing at a time and give it your full attention. Disconnect from your phone, texting, email, social media, etc. and schedule specific times during the day to attend to these.
3. Improve your mood – Mental health researchers report that being overly tuned in to smartphones and laptops causes over-stimulation, anxiety and stress. A recent study showed that people now check their mobile phones more than 150 times per day. Just like your physical body, your brain needs downtime too. Mental health experts now recommend scheduling breaks during the day from all digital technology, “unplugging” during dinner and at least two hours before bedtime.