Technology is a wonderful thing, Almost everything can be done on the screen these days, from reading the newspaper to grocery shopping and dating. However, as with most things, there is a fine line between being useful and being a problem. The screen pulls our attention from what is happening around us, and takes us into another world. With computers, iPads and smartphones, we are never away from a screen.
The constant use of electronics is often thought of as a joke. However, for some people it can be a serious problem, in the form of an addiction. We are aware it’s possible be addicted to something that is available via the internet. For example, online gambling, porn, or shopping. However, the internet itself, with “regular” websites, can also be addictive. As Dr. Hallowell explains, some people can get addicted to the feeling of being online.
The good news is that most of us who experience screen sucking don’t develop an addiction. However, spending too much time behind your computer or cell phone can still be a problem. It can affect your relationships, sleep and productivity, and so much more.
Going online can be a used for all sorts of things that aren’t totally necessary, but seem helpful. For example, a quick check on your phone helps relieve boredom, perhaps when you are in a meeting or family event. It can also help reduce stress, be a crutch for social anxiety, and it can make you “feel” productive.
If you think you might be falling into bad habits and reaching for your screen a little too often, here are some tips:
1) Identify how much time you are spending on your computer, iPad, and cell phone. If you aren’t sure, track yourself for 3 days. This will be eye opening! No one I know who has done this said, “wow I go online a lot less than I thought.”
2) What you are doing in your screen time? Are you checking email, Facebook, reading the news, checking the stock market? Write all those activities down.
3) Do you need to be behind a screen to do all those things? For example, you do need to answer emails. However, you don’t need to read the news online. You could pick up a paper newspaper.
4) Why are you reaching for your phone or screen? Are you bored, procrastinating etc?
5) With the information from #4, is there an underlying issue to address that would be helpful to your life and business? For example if you have social anxiety (lots of ADDers do), checking your phone (for emails or going online) in social situations is very comforting. It makes you look busy and it takes your mind off all the people. However, by using your phone as a band-aid, it stops you for reaching out for help for the social anxiety. When you address the root cause, you won’t need the phone so much and your business will grow!
6) Reply to email in chunks of time, rather than having it open all day. This alone will increase your productivity.
7) Make it a personal policy to always turn your phone off in meetings and social events and even at home with your family.