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Developing ‘e-resilience’ when you’re always switched on
12th October 2020, 11:37 am
“Your scientists were so pre-occupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should”. Dr Ian Malcolm (Jurassic Park)
Long before the pandemic, there is no doubt that we have become increasingly reliant on technology. Our smartphones are often the last thing we see at night and the first thing we see when we wake up.
Since the Covid outbreak, digital connectivity has become an essential way of enhancing flexibility and dealing with a very tricky period. However, technology also has the potential to intensify work and blur work-life boundaries, to the detriment of our wellbeing and performance.
‘e-resilience’ is all about managing this relationship so it works for you.
- Turn off notifications
It’s an oldie, but it’s still a goodie. We know that our habits are driven by environmental cues. That pop-up in the corner of your screen or chime in your pocket, best of luck trying to ignore that! Turn them off so you are running your day, not your mobile.
- Put your phone to bed at night (in another room)
This is similar to the previous tip in that the best way to stop a habit is to remove the source. Want to eat less biscuits? Don’t buy biscuits in the first place! This is a particularly important one though because sleep is critical to us being able to recover from a busy day, and technology can really get in the way.
- Build self-awareness: I’m not addicted to my phone, promise!
Both Android and Apple phones have built in applications now so you can see just how much time you are spending on your phone. Check it out, the shock may just motivate you to change your tech habits.
- Get rid of apps that waste your time
Again, there are ways of finding out which apps take up most of your time through the day (ironically, there’s an app for that). Are you spending hours on Outlook or Youtube, whilst also complaining that you have so much to do and not enough time to do it? Might be time to delete a few of those time-wasting apps.
- Ritually check in with emails twice a day – use your natural energy
Maybe you are a morning person and your natural peak of energy is first thing in the day. Why when you sit down to work do you immediately open your emails? Try instead to spend that first hour of your day doing something more challenging, something that requires creative thought, and then check in with your emails later when it suits you.
- Use technology against itself
I mentioned before there are apps to measure how much time you spend on your phone. You can also get apps that block other apps entirely at certain parts of the day. There are apps that help us to track healthy habits. And of course there are fitness aids. If you’re going to use some tech, make sure it’s the type that decreases your reliance on mindlessly reading emails or scrolling through the social media feed.
- Find a hobby that’s not on your phone
Work-life balance may be a thing of the past as our lives are so integrated these days. But one of the ways you can make sure you are truly disconnecting from work is to immerse yourself in another activity. Maybe pick up a hobby that you used to do but haven’t in a while or try something new – anything that get’s your full attention.
- Go outside and take a ‘disconnection break’
I’m working with a lot of people at the moment who say they feel guilty stepping away from their laptop when they are working from home. But truly, the world will not end if you take a short walk round the block or a break to hang up the washing. And please, resist the urge to take your phone with you!
- Avoid 1-hour meetings
Do you know why the most common length of a work meeting (virtual or in person) is exactly 1-hour? Because that’s the default time setting on most of our calendars! That can’t be the best way to run your day surely. If you’re finished with an online call after 18 minutes and 32 seconds, well then hang up – don’t stick it out to fill up the time.
- Don’t rely on willpower
Our willpower is like a fuel-tank. It is fuller in the morning and depletes as the day goes on. If you’re looking up at the nine other tips on this page and thinking “yeah I could do that, but I’ve got it under control. I’ll just use my own discipline to make tech work for me”… then I’m afraid you’re fighting a losing battle.