Whether you admit it or not, every time your phone rings, or you get an email notification, or you get an alert for instant message, it’s a signal that triggers extra attention from your brain.
It doesn’t matter if you were looking forward to the call or text message. You need extra mental processing power to take in what is happening. That extra mental energy you use will not improve your well-being especially when you have an issue with anxiety and stress.
And in more ways than one, it is a barrier stopping a lot of people from getting into a relaxed mood.
I’m sure that you must have experienced at least 1 instance when you were trying to do something and was annoyed by the sudden alert from your phone. It happened very often to me while I was sleeping.
So irritated was I about the frequent disturbances I get at night, that I started to put the phone on silent whenever I turn in to bed.
People might complain about being unable to reach me. But I really don’t care. Quality sleep is more important to me than any call that isn’t an emergency. Anyway in an emergency, callers would be able to reach me one way or another.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to counter stress. Friends and colleagues might perceive me as anti-social. But I’d rather let technology make my life better than to make it worse.
Here are some more little tips on managing technology that can make a huge impact on you to relief anxiety issues.
1) Don’t let checking your emails be the first thing you do when you arrive at the office
Once of the biggest things that we stress over on the way to work is about what we will find in our inboxes when we open it. I don’t look forward to it at all. So much so that I dread double-clicking that icon to fire up the inbox.
I wouldn’t be surprised is a psychiatrist diagnose that feeling of mine as fear.
Business operations tend to play big pranks on you by screwing up big time when you are out-of-office. It’s just one of those mysteries of the world.
And they usually come in the form of… emails…
You would never get anything done if you allow your emails to consume you.
So just take a step back. Take control of your tasks management. And take an hour to settle down and complete other tasks before reading your emails.
2) Take control of your phone
The mobile phone is now the single biggest distraction of everyone these days. Everywhere you go, you are going to see people from adults to teenagers fondling it like it has a life of it’s own.
Yes I love my iPhone. But I refuse to let it rule me.
As mentioned earlier, I always switch on the silent mode while sleeping.
Other that that consider only activating sound notifications for apps that are most important. You really don’t need to be alerted when a spam email comes in or when a guy who has nothing better to do shares a goofy image in a group.
Oh… and don’t get me started on Facebook.
I have a flurry of communication apps installed on the smart phone including Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, Line, WeChat, etc. What an irony that they all do very much the same thing. But for some reason, friends and family use all of them and I have to install them too.
But I have found a hack to managing this madness. I only use Whatsapp for family and close friends. So it is the only app that I allow audio notifications. You can still receive banner notifications on the screen without sound.
It has helped me alleviate a hectic way of life. Maybe you can give it a try too.
3) Turn off everything that rings and dings when doing thing that matter
There are more important things in life and at work than to check out what that notification is all about.
Start turning off your phone or putting it into full silent mode when doing them.
- Family time
- Whatever else you deem needs your attention
4) Never reply right away
The faster you respond to messages, the more replies you get. It is like a law of physics.
The only way around it is to stop replying to things that don’t need your attention. Delay responding to matters that don’t require immediate attention. And use phone calls for matters that require immediate attention.
When you make direct calls to attend to issues, you can sometimes eliminate up to 10 messages per issue! It’s faster and more efficient too.
The worst way to manage excessive alert messages is to encourage them by responding to them frequently and immediately.
5) Stop answering work related calls on personal time
Now this is something that depends on your level of employment in an organization. If you are holding a lot of responsibilities, you might actually be expected to pick up call in the middle of the night.
However, if you are not holding an executive position, don’t even waste you time on calls outside office hours. Those levels of commitment are meant for managers and executives. If you are not remunerated at those levels, why take on the extra burden.
Stop answering them and pretty soon, you will stop receiving those call altogether. They get the message.
6) Communicate to your supervisors of your expectations
To avoid getting into the bad books of your boss, communicate to him/her of what they can expect from you during and after office hours.
Most reasonable people will be able to understand you position. Some will even respect you for being firm with your beliefs and values. Usually they will accept that they cannot expect the level of commitment meant for managers.
At the same time, inform the family about your rules. For example, let everyone know that anyone who wakes you from your beauty sleeps will face your wrath.
Technology is supposed to make our lives better, not to make it more frantic. Don’t allow it to harness anxiety in you. That defeats the whole purpose of your devices.