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Step Away From the Screen

Screens have never been a more consistent part of everyday life for society, and with that comes challenges. To start, it’s exhausting to stare at a screen all day, whether that’s a laptop, iPad, TV, or smartphone. In some cases, it might be unavoidable, especially if you’re someone who’s working remotely.

With the mix of actually doing your work, participating in video calls or meetings, scrolling through your social media accounts, texting, or FaceTiming with family and friends, screens can be tough to step away from. But walking away every once in a while should be worked into your schedule.

  1. Better Sleep
    Numerous studies prove that using screens, specifically close to bedtime, can make it harder to fall asleep. It might be challenging to avoid scrolling through social media or checking your email before bed, but try to turn it off far enough ahead of turning in for the night. The reality is that sometimes it’s unavoidable, so in those cases, consider adjusting your device to set how much blue light it radiates if possible or invest in a screen cover that filters out some of the blue light.
  2. Increased Productivity
    If you’re someone whose blood pressure goes up with every new red circle notification that pops up on your device, put it down. Even better, when it’s possible, turn off notifications during the workday. Receiving texts, phone calls, or emails while deep into a workflow can be incredibly distracting. Rewind back to the days before you got pulled into a Slack conversation, a group text alert caught your eye, or an email notification ding echoed from your laptop. What a time of productivity that was. Don’t get it wrong, accessibility can be a great thing, and sometimes these interruptions lead to increased productivity down the line. Still, it’s essential to know the difference between interruptions and distractions.
  3. Reduced Stress
    Do the red notification circles on your device stir anxiety or the bold text within your email inbox raise your blood pressure? Designate times during the day to check your email or phone. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when countless notifications are left unread, but it’s important to create boundaries of when they are attended to. If curated social media images or messaging on social media lead to feelings of inadequacy or stress, keep in mind that reality isn’t the filtered version of life you see on the screen.


Actions Steps for Your Workday

Consider Phone Calls – When possible, schedule a phone call vs. a video call. Sometimes a video call is necessary, and that connection shouldn’t be taken away when needed, but it’s worth considering picking up the phone when it makes sense to.

Prioritize Activity – Set an alarm to get up and move around. This will help maintain energy and allow yourself to reset if most of your workday revolves around you sitting at a desk.

Pick Up a Pen – Write out notes or create sketches on paper instead of typing them out on a computer screen, in a notes app, or within a software program.

Disconnect at Lunch – Give yourself a break for your entire lunch or at least part of it. Step away from the screens and turn off the notifications. You might be surprised at what great ideas you conjure up when you’re unplugged.

Prioritize Notifications – It may be unrealistic to expect that someone can silence all of their notifications during the workday, but it’s critical to prioritize them. Turn off some and leave on the ones you need.

Does screen time take up more than half of your waking hours? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out 5 Reasons to Take Your Vacation Time.