4 Ways to Fight Back
The most effective way to combat digital burnout is to simply log out, unplug, and relax. But it is not that easy. The 24/7 demands of our connected world make it nearly impossible to go cold turkey and turn away from our digital devices. With that in mind, here are a few real-world strategies for fighting digital burnout:
1. Don’t Respond Right Away
Many people feel the need to drop what they’re doing and answer messages as soon as they come in. This constant sense of urgency can lead people to feel overwhelmed and anxious. To fight these feelings, set aside certain times of the day to answer your texts and emails. Remember that not all communication is urgent. Most of it can wait. “In our clinical program, we’ve worked to be efficient about our internal communication,” said Potter. “We implemented an email code that helps with urgency and need for response. For example, we’ll write ‘NRN’ for no response needed if sending an update so the recipient knows they don’t need to write back.”
2. Leave It at Work
Your phone and computer allow you to be in contact with your coworkers 24/7. But do you really need to stay in touch after business hours? Try putting your phone away when you are having dinner with the family, taking a walk, or watching a movie. Also, do not check your work email before you go to bed. Relax and get a good night’s sleep. Your messages will be there in the morning.
3. Face-to-Face, Not Screen-to-Screen
How many people do you communicate with exclusively through texts, social media, or email? And how can you start to make small changes in how you communicate? Potter shared, “On our team, we encourage each other to take frequent movement breaks, even ending meetings 5-10 minutes early to allow for movement. And, when possible, we’ve converted Zoom meetings to be on the phone so that we can move around while we talk.”
While staying in touch with people digitally does wonders for our mental health, particularly in this time of limited travel and social distancing, it is not the same as meeting face-to-face. When you can (and when it’s safe), connect with friends, family members, and coworkers in person. Meet for coffee, take a walk, stand six feet apart in your driveway. And when you do get together, turn your phone off and put it away.
4. Cull Your Digital Herd
How many online accounts do you have? How many social media platforms are you on? Do you need them all? Do you use them all? Probably not. Go through your phone and computer and delete the stuff you don’t want and don’t need. You’ll cut down on messages and distractions. It will add time to your day—and peace to your life.