3 Simple Strategies to Keep Your Sanity in a Over”screen”ed, Over”tech”ed World

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A recent article states that, on average, people check their phones 110 times per day. That’s once every 9 minutes – if you sleep for 8 hours. How often did you check your phone 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Now, this doesn’t count the time you check your tablet or your computer, or TV (do people still watch TV?) or your best friend’s phone. I mean, if there’s a phone lying around, unused, all lonely, I’m definitely going to pick it up and play a prank! I probably will lose my best friend after doing that, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. (Hint: definitely put in a lock code on your devices)

Needless to say, that we spend way too much time in front of a screen (how hypocritical am I that I’m writing this directly into my computer…)!

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I probably don’t need to mention the effects of screen time on your brain, body, mind, spirit, etc. But I must, here’s a small list:

  • Makes it hard for you to sleep at night
  • May lead to attention problems (dod you see that squirrel?), anxiety, and depression
  • Raise your risk of gaining too much weight
  • Sitting and watching a screen is time that is not spent being physically active (you’ve missed 110 chances of activity – just today!)
  • Have I mentioned posture?

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So, what can one do?

Here are three simple first steps to remedy, just slightly, some of these effects.

  1. Wake up media free. As soon as you get up, take some time to just reflect upon your sleep and rest time – you sleep about one-third of your life and there’s a lot that happens during that time. If you give yourself a few moments of acknowledgment that you have taken care of yourself by sleeping, you’ll already be starting the day on a good note. Give yourself a few minutes (ideally an hour) to gather yourself, do some exercise, make a healthy breakfast, read a paper magazine, book or newspaper (if those still exist by the time I hit publish), or meditate. Use those long forgotten tools called a pen and paper to jot down what you want to do for yourself today. For extra points (life’s all about points, right?), do the same at night.
  2. Wait to check your email. Save your email for specific times of the day. Quit out of your email program and refrain from checking it until the specified time. Email is someone else’s agenda for you, not what you need to be doing to get your work (or play) accomplished during the day. If it’s urgent enough, they’ll call, right? Many times, if you wait long enough, some of the “issues” you need to deal with in email will have resolved themselves by the time you check it again. People will also get used to the fact that you don’t respond at their beck and call and you respond when it’s appropriate for you to do so. Also, if you separate tasks like email into buckets, you will be able to go through your inbox more efficiently and find the holy grail of inbox zero!
  3. Walk away from your computer. Schedule yourself time to actually take a break from sitting too long. Have a reminder pop up on your screen that tells you to get up and go for a walk. Creating small reminders like this in your calendar can really affect how your day goes. Take a walk to the water cooler, get a breath of fresh air, go chat with a colleague that you’ve been neglecting. A few minutes of getting out of your seat can have a huge impact on how you feel for the rest of your day.
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This could definitely be a longer list but this is a start, yes?

Do you have strategies that help you keep sane and healthy in our electronically leashed lives?

Adnan Iftekhar