Maybe more than most, I have a real love-hate relationship with technology.
I was pretty geeky growing up; I became a digital marketing expert in my career; and now, I run my business online with the website management, social media and everything else that this entails. I love staying connected with friends and family all around the world. I’m also a big fan of work-life integration, and given that I enjoy my work so much and it’s very flexible, I’m not precious about setting clear boundaries.
And yet. The manic checking of my own phone makes me nervous, while other people doing it annoys and offends me. I spend my days hunched over my laptop and, when I overdo it, I get migraines or can’t sleep. On the whole, it seems that technology can often cause more stress and issues than it helps.
As a result, I’m trying to find a balance so that I can use technology for good – to drive my business and to connect with the people that matter – while preventing it from becoming an evil that takes over my life.
Here are 3 simple steps to unplugging, when you run your own business:
1. Turn off the notifications on your phone
You know those little red circles on your iPhone? Addictive, right? So distracting and overwhelming, forcing you to manically check to see what’s happening and who’s said what on each and every social network.
Here’s a life-changing tip for you: you can turn them off! I can’t tell you what a relief it has been since I did this. I only keep WhatsApp, since that’s where I message those people that really matter. Of course, I still check my phone throughout the day but I do it on my own terms, without it being dictated by those pesky red circles.
2. Step away from your computer
It may seem impossible to get away from your computer given the nature of work these days, but staying hunched over your desk all day is not healthy. Before you know it, hours have passed without you having even left your computer to get a glass of water. Too much screen time will drain you and you’ll find yourself making mistakes.
Mixing things up a bit will spark ideas and make you more creative. Not only will you feel better physically and mentally, but you’ll see better results in your business as well. So move to a different chair and write using pen and paper, get up and do some planning on your whiteboard and, even better, get away from your office completely and go outside and go for a walk.
3. Put your phone down
As entrepreneurs, we love our work and love the flexibility, and so we make that an excuse for working late into the night, at weekends and on holidays. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, working less will actually make you more productive.
Put your phone (and your laptop) down at the end of the day. Go and cook a nice meal. Listen to some podcasts while you tidy your room. Go and read a book. Do anything that doesn’t involve being stuck to a screen, so that you can unwind and get ready for a deep and restful sleep when the time comes to go to bed.
I love the possibilities that my phone and laptop bring – but I also love the sense of calm and grounding that comes from putting them away.
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