During my morning coffee-and-email routine, I saw a headline on Associations Now that rang true to my heart.
Granted, my job is very heavy in the digital world. As the Social Media Marketer for an Association Management Software provider, you can imagine that I am constantly surrounded by screens flickering between our awesome product, E-mails, news, and social media.
I bet that small staff association leaders may not have exactly the same things on their screens, but are pretty close to a similar work flow. Chris Brandon points out in his article that it’s a growing problem, and that smart phones just add to the screen-addiction. I’d go as far to say that that intense digital connection can even threaten personal relationships.
Think about it. How many times have you had to fuss at your kids to put down their phones at the dinner table? When you go out to eat, how many cell phones do you see on neighboring tables? How often do you see bluish glows light up a row in front of you at the movies? It’s a strange world when people surround you but you’re disconnecting from them so you can get on your smartphone… to connect with people.
Chris gives four tips to help with burnout:
1) Respect the weekend
2) Change your tone from snarky to… less snarky
3) Take a break
4) Set consequences for indulgence in digital addiction
He offers great explanations, too. Check out the whole article here!
I would go so far to add a couple more:
5) Read actual books
This was actually a recommendation I picked up at a conference from Arianna Huffington, who bans electronics in the bedroom and reads actual books before snoozing. Give your eyes a break and turn a page. It’s amazing how that sound and feeling charges up the psyche.
6) Listen to music
Okay, so the music can come from Spotify or Pandora, but once the volume is up, step away from the computer and let the music sink into the background while you play with your kids, pay bills, or just relax. Music triggers different parts of the brain and can be a great exercise in digital-disconnect.
7) Make it a point to have an actual conversation
Of course even with all of the online connections you’re going to actually talk to people, but on your off time try and be conscious of the time you spend actually engaging with someone with no electronics in either hand.
8) Get enough sleep
If you must keep your smart phone, laptop, or tablet in your bedroom, turn them off, close them, silence them, or hide them. The lights and sounds can disrupt your sleep patterns, and really and truly, how often does someone actually need to contact you in the middle of the night?
It’s a tough habit to break and really, it’s kind of impossible in some ways. You’re a dedicated professional with a lot on your shoulders: it pays to be connected. However you can’t do a million things at once if you’re stressed out and overworked, so remember to take some time for yourself too and unplug!