Creating Digital Balance: Unplugging in a Hyperconnected World


  Creating Digital Balance: Unplugging in a Hyperconnected World

So with digital technology becoming more and more pervasive, it may be easy to forget how important it is to leave the office in the evening and unplug. You have become dependent on your smartphone for all your needs: work, social life, entertainment. And increasingly, we are using our phones in ways that are harmful to ourselves and damaging our relationships.

But there are ways of managing this dependency so that you can reduce any negative impacts on your mental health. The following tips will help you find balance between work and personal life without guilt or stress.

Unplug from Work

I make a point of taking my personal phone out of my pocket and putting it on the nightstand before I go to bed, so I'm not tempted to use it in the middle of the night. After all, you're not going to get meaningful work done if you're tired. It's also a good idea to turn off your email when you go home and switch off your device for the day. That way you can easily take yourself away from work altogether when you get up in the morning. You'll find that you don't worry about missing anything, because there is nothing important to miss! There are apps on your smartphone that enable this already (such as Momentum).

Unplug from Social Media

You don't need to spend a significant amount of time answering every text or comment on Facebook, and it may be helpful to disable notification of your social media apps. You can also adjust your smartphone to go into "do not disturb" mode outside certain hours. This will ensure that you aren't tempted to use your phone at night while you are trying to wind down. It's also worth setting limits to how much time you spend each day looking at posts and pictures on your social media accounts. It's become clear that spending too much time seeking validation from other people online actually makes us unhappy.

Unplug from Technology in General

You may be able to find a way to turn off your Wi-Fi in the office so you have less temptation to check your smartphone after hours, or you can ask your manager for the number of business hours when you can take advantage of Wi-Fi. You can also do things like send out fewer emails this way. It has been reported that over half our emails are unnecessary, and many of them are sent for social rather than professional purposes. [1] A good strategy is to block yourself off from distractions by starting at around 9 p.m., and stopping any internet access past that until 11 p.m., or so, when you get up at 6 a.m. It's also important to make an effort to understand the state of your phone battery. Allow your battery to run down before you charge it again, so you don't end up charging it every night.

Unplug from the News

A lot of what goes on in global news is depressing and can take over your life if you let it. It's better to follow news that is important for you in your local area and read about it selectively. If something really catches your attention, follow up with more information obtained from neutral sources like Wikipedia. For example, if there is a devastating hurricane in another country, instead of watching hours of footage on news channels you could try to find out what the actual impact of the storm has been. You can also become an informed observer by seeking out news from other sources like Reddit.

Create Balance by Planning Time Away from Technology

You may want to schedule time for yourself every day without your smartphone or computer. I've created a habit of going for a walk around the block with my family at sunset and returning home in time to collect our children from school. This gives me some time with them before work and has allowed me to get some exercise every night. It's important to take some time away from technology and stimulate other parts of our brains via our 5 senses.

I usually write something new each morning on my iPhone and try to look for a few minutes each morning in the morning when there is still enough light. I also recommend getting out in nature by going for a walk or a swim at sunrise. The point here is to give yourself time away from technology so you can connect with yourself in meaningful, non-digital ways that can bring balance back into your life.

Ask Yourself These Questions:

Do you see your smartphone as a friend or a tool? Do you find smartphones to be addictive, or do they support your life? Do you have any long-term goals related to social media that might benefit from being updated in writing, on paper, or on your computer? How many times a day do you check social media accounts? Do you think this is too often (more than once per hour)? What concerns do you have about the amount of time that you spend on social media and smartphones each day? What benefits do these things provide for your work and your life in general? Are these benefits worth the negative impact they may be having on our mental health? If we only become more hyperconnected. Why not become more human?

If you want to make more time for yourself, remember that by reducing your smartphone usage you are likely to be happier in the long term. You will have more time to spend with your family and doing meaningful work. You'll also reduce your stress and anxiety levels while also improving your mental health.


1. Phuah, C., & Mark, L. I. (2016). Working email: A critical review of the literature on working email use, employee well-being, and organizational performance from a positive psychology perspective. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(5), 1399–1421. doi:10.1007/s10902-015-9329-2

2. Whurr, E., Crone, N. R., & Levine, D. M. (2012). A meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on screen time and adolescent wellbeing: The association between internet, computer, TV or video game use and adolescent mental health problems or wellbeing. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(4), 424–432. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.09.012

3. Eccles J & Goodman R (2009). "The role of positive affect in the neuroplasticity hypothesis". Perspectives on Psychological Science 4:5–15 doi:10 .1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00084.x

4. Sacco, T., & D'Mello, S. (2014). The dark side of health social networks: A preliminary examination of the associations between health information sites and negative emotional states about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment among breast cancer patients in the United States. Journal of Cancer Education, 29(3), 534–541. doi:10 .1007/s13187-013-0570-6

5. Oda, K., Sugiura, M., Ikegami, J., & Konishi Y (2016).


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post