Managing technology for a healthier lifestyle

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

You’ve put in grueling hours at the office this week. Soccer practice is in full swing, your kids have upcoming dance recitals, laundry doesn’t stop piling up, and you have a meeting with a client that you need to prepare for.  The calendar on your phone is continually sending you reminders and you’re constantly attached to the e-mail function of your phone.

Life is always busy and at times, it can be very stressful. Technology can help you manage what’s going on in your life and can help you organize your work commitments and other social priorities. But, when you become too attached to it, it can become a preoccupation and sometimes, an obsession. In fact, a recent article discusses how people that use smartphones for business at night have generally a lower overall level of productivity. If you’re conducting work late into the night, you’re less able to mentally unwind and detach yourself from the stresses of work. This leads to mental fatigue and can disrupt sleep patterns significantly.  After a series of surveys, results showed that if you’re lying in bed answering emails or working on other business, it’s likely that you’re getting less sleep and in the end, will feel less energized when you are actually at work. (1) 

Consider your use of technology and your patterns when it comes to managing work and your personal life. Are you continually checking your phone for text messages, emails, or voicemails? Do you feel anxiety when your phone isn’t near you?  Drawing the line between using your smartphone responsibly and using it in excessive can be a struggle for many people. 

Here are a couple of ways that you can help set new technology boundaries:

  • -Don’t take your phone to bed with you at night.
    Make your room a place of relaxation. It should be a place of comfort, not a place of stress, so shut off your phone and leave it somewhere else at night. Whatever it is, it can wait until morning.
  • -Take a vacation that requires you to disconnect.
    Vacation is necessary for everyone at some point. Next time you go on vacation, don’t take your IPad or laptop. And if you take your phone, set a limit on when you use it. A vacation without the use of technology allows you to rejuvenate, recharge, and re-center yourself on what’s really important in life. 

Live your life to the fullest potential and start managing technology instead of having it manage you!

1.Mozes, Alan. “Smartphone use for business at night not so smart?” WebMD News from HealthDay. February 7, 2014. Accessed online February 22, 2014. http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20140207/smartphone-use-for-business-at-night-may-not-be-so-smart 

 

By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Doan, MD PhD