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In its most simple form, digital wellness refers to using technology, such as mobile phones, social media and the internet in a way that promotes active, healthy use, rather than passive scrolling. Not only can mindless scrolling be a time waster, but excessive use of tech like social media can lead to health problems like increased levels of anxiety and depression. Alongside this, according to CharlieHR, 87% of employees are unable to manage a healthy work/life balance.
In the time of COVID-19, this issue is especially pertinent as we’re all spending more time at home with our devices and less time out and about with our friends/family. The temptation to reach for our phones is higher, which leads to an increase in passive (and sometimes unhealthy) use.
Whether you’re a virtual PA or another type of remote worker, you may feel it’s impossible to practice digital wellness, given technology is essential to your way of working. However, it’s something you can achieve if you’re looking to use technology more mindfully. We have put together a few of our top tips to help you incorporate mindful use of tech into your daily routine.
Top tips for promoting a healthier digital wellness lifestyle
Invest in consolidating technology
Whether it’s using one software for all of your finances and invoicing, or moving your file-sharing process to a universal cloud-based system, investing in easy-to-use platforms that consolidate different functions will minimise the time you spend working. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to bring all of your finances under one roof, cloud-based companies such as Freshbooksand Xeroare designed to make things as easy as possible. Research what’s right for your situation and you’ll soon save time on your daily tasks.
Turn off notifications where possible
Some notifications are absolutely essential to the daily running of a business. For example, you may have social media notifications turned on for marketing purposes, or emails set up so you’re alerted when a new client makes an enquiry. However, how many times have you checked an alert, only to find yourself scrolling through social media five seconds later? While you can’t turn your notifications off altogether, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of trying to minimise them where you can. Whether this is during out-of-work hours or in your lunch break, make it easy for yourself by setting an alarm to remind you to switch them off.
Use tech outside of work hours in a positive way
If you’re looking to improve your digital wellness, start by thinking about how you use your tech personally as well as at work. If you’re curious about how many hours per week you spend on different apps, find your phone’s ‘screen time’ function. If the results are shocking to you, you’re not alone. According to research from RescueTime, we spend three hours and 15 minutes on our phones, on average per day. On top of that, 20% of those surveyed used their phone over four-and-a-half hours daily.
So, how should we use our phone in our leisure time? Try to focus on something that looks after your mental or physical wellbeing, like meditation app Headspaceor a program to help you reach a fitness goal, like Couch to 5k. Of course, it would be unrealistic to stop using social apps completely, but by being aware of how you’re using them, you can turn some of those negative habits into positive ones.
Force a limit on your screen time
The ‘screen time’ function on your phone doesn’t just let you know how much time you’re spending on your apps. It will send you a weekly report of your activity, allow you to set downtime and app limits, and even set a schedule for time away from the screen.
For example, if you want to limit the time you’re spending on social media, simply select the ‘social networking’ category and the time you want to spend on those apps each day, week or month.
Leave all tech at your desk during a break
This one is fairly self-explanatory, but so easy to forget. When you take your breaks throughout the day, whether it’s for coffee or lunch, leave ALL tech (including your phone) at your desk. This will mean you can actually switch off and enjoy a proper break from work, which is the purpose of the exercise! It’s a great excuse to do something that will truly relax you, like picking up a book or indulging in a yoga session. This will leave you refreshed and ready to jump back into work mode.
Enjoy tech-free days
Considering our lives are completely integrated with technology, this may seem like a ridiculous suggestion. While it’s definitely not for everyone, taking a day every so often to turn off your phone and laptop may be exactly what you need. It will open up your time to practicing a hobby, learning a new skill, catching up with friends or family, or just enjoying a soak in the tub with a book. You could choose to go for a long walk, or simply get out onto your balcony and enjoy the sun.
However you spend your tech-free day, chances are that – once complete – you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before! We find that we sleep better, feel a greater sense of calm and have much more energy. We hope you do too!
If you’re looking for more resources to help you navigate the new normal, check out our insights page.