One in four Americans report they get stressed out when away from their email or phone for longer than 30 minutes, according to a survey conducted by GMI and commissioned by Crucial.com. Furthermore, 84% of the survey’s male respondents admitted to checking a mobile device while driving, in a movie theater, at a funeral or at a child’s play or recital. Reallllly? Technology overuse is making many feel guilty about the amount of time they spend digitally connected. Life balance expert, Mary LoVerde, author of “Stop Screaming at the Microwave” and “I Used to Have a Handle on Life But it Broke,” provides the following tips on how you can reconnect with friends and family to help balance one’s use of technology.
Establish Personal Tech-Life Balance Policies
Take a look at what you value. Set priorities and policies to help you stay connected to what is most important. For example, everyone values family time, but it is not always prioritized. You might make a family policy that limits technology at the dinner table, after 9 p.m. or while children are completing homework. Maybe you, your partner or caregiver can agree to shut off technology for an hour before bed to give attention to each other and the children.
You no doubt value your safety and the safety of those around you. Make and enforce a strict policy around texting and driving. Make both unacceptable and practice it. Sticking to it will not be easy at first but over time it will become easier. Announce to others out loud what your policies are. Put it in writing. Consider placing it on the refrigerator or some other common area for all to see, review and adhere to. A clear and public declaration can lead to peer pressure, which can help ensure that you stay true to your promises.
Maximize The Efficiency Each Device
Waiting for programs to load can be a frustrating time-waster. Make each device as user-friendly as possible. The speed and amount of memory installed helps determine how fast applications are able to operate. Upgrading your system’s memory, software and closing apps not being using are simple low-cost ways to help your technology help you.
Pick Sleep Over Technology
Checking Instagram, e-mail or LinkedIn cannot compete with the benefit of a half hour more sleep each night. In many ways, your brain is a computer, too. At night your neurological PC repairs genes, se-cretes many regulatory hormones (including the one that makes you lose weight), conjures up the necessary dreams that keeps you sane and stores information learned throughout the day. Given the choice between technology and sleep, opt to get some more shuteye. The payoff is priceless!
Look Up, Discover and See
Seriously! Every once in a while just look up and see what is going on in the real world. It is all around you. Make eye contact. Smile at someone. Breathe deeply. Pay attention to the world. There is magic out there that you are missing.
Stop Taking Yourself Sooo Seriously
Getting clarity about your technology and needs thereof will help you take it less seriously – all of it! When we let go (of some) of the gadgets and technology, other ideas will come. The muddy waters will become clear and focusing on new and exciting people, places and things will occur. We have to believe that Chicken Little’s sky will not fall if we log off for an hour. If we miss a selfie, a posting, or a call, the planets will remain in orbit. And, if you are lucky, you might find yourself recon-necting, laughing out loud (more) and taking you less seriously – just because you unplugged the device.