Burned out at work? You’re not alone. Today’s ever-expanding work tech—designed to increase employee connectivity and productivity in the age of remote work—is a key culprit in the stress and burnout epidemic. According to Zapier, roughly seven in 10 Gen-Z (71%) and Millennial (69%) employees admit they are constantly on or checking their work communication tools outside of work. Additionally, roughly one-third of Gen-Z employees (33%) and almost two in five Millennial employees (39%) say they check their work email/messaging tools more than they check their personal social media.
Time to detox
Joshua Becker, a pioneer in the minimalism movement, reveals 5 signs that you need a technology detox. Among them: you spend more time on digital devices, the internet and social platforms than intended, you feel guilt or dissatisfaction afterwards, and you are motivated by a fear of missing out.
The good news? A technology detox, along with some other simple work-life changes, may be easier than you think. Four tips:
- Be proactive. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth apound of cure.” Likewise, averting burnout is much easier than dealing with it, physically and mentally, after the fact. Ask your boss or coworkers for help before—not after—you’re stretched to the breaking point. Do your email in three 30-minute blocks rather than incessantly throughout the workday. And, even in today’s hyper-connected workplace, be intentional about your boundaries.
- Focus on the big picture. Sure, a technology detox can help you reset. But making small, sustainable lifestyle changes over time is a smarter strategy in the long-term, especially when you’re talking about your mental health. Go dark digitally an hour before bedtime. (Simply silencing your smartphone doesn’t count. Set it out of reach, too.) Use social media blockers like Flipd or StayFocusd. And take a half-hour lunch—away from your desk and devices—every day.
- Seek meaning. Cutting back on your connectivity is only part of the solution. Filling those newfound spaces with meaning is just as important. Pursue a passion project. Make your off-the-clock time with family and friends really matter. (No multitasking allowed.) And balance work with meditation, a mind-body exercise such as yoga, or any other spiritual or self-care practice that resonates with you.
- Share your intentions. There’s no reason to go it alone. Let others in on your technology detox. Enlist a partner in crime. (Bonus points if you connect offline.) And as you aim to make more lasting work-life changes, ask the trusted truth-teller in your life to hold you accountable.
Ready? A technology detox isn’t a magic bullet. It is, however, a simple and doable step in the right direction. Better yet, it can lead to other work-life changes that will help you stave off stress and burnout—and safeguard your mental health.