In this day and age, technology is critical. Between working remotely, video calling, scanning social media and the news and binge-watching TV shows, our screen time is getting longer and longer. In trying to find a new sense of balance, there are a few things we can do to alleviate some of these growing pains. Here are five suggestions on how to fight screen fatigue.
Use your voice
To avoid getting pulled into your phone, you can use your voice to ask your virtual assistants such as Google Assistant and Siri for help completing actions, like setting an alarm, sending a text, playing the latest news, getting answers to questions, help to find recipes or ordering takeout and much more. You can also create custom or ready-made routines to trigger several actions with a single command. For example, say “Hey Google, good morning,” Google Assistant turns on the kitchen lights, starts the coffee maker, reads out the calendar and plays the news.
Find active alternatives
As our days fill up with video calls, try to step away from the screen and add physical activity into your life. Whether you go for a run, a bike ride or a walk during a telephone meeting there are many ways to squeeze movement in. If you have children, you could even exercise with them. As you make progress, use Google Fit to keep track and earn heart points which can help you meet the World Health Organisation recommendations. That said, don’t be discouraged if you fall short. Every little bit of movement adds up and has tremendous health benefits including improving mental health and helping you sleep better.
Discuss and plan tech use with kids
If you have kids, chat with them about the content you each prefer and work with them to plan out a schedule for listening, watching, playing and interacting with it. Does the content align with your family’s values? Does the experience affect your kids’ behaviour in ways that help them relax and/or thrive? If not, consider alternatives and discuss your reasoning. Use this Family Conversation Guide to get help talking to your kids about finding positive content and other tech topics.
Intentionally detach from and reattach to work
Clearly segmenting work time and non-work time improves one’s satisfaction with their wellbeing. Turning off notifications and putting your laptop out of sight reduces the tendency to check work email or hop into a last-minute video meeting. When it’s time to get back to work, take a few minutes to think through your goals for that work time before getting started and create a dedicated workspace to signal to your brain that it’s time to focus.
Reduce blue light before bedtime
Blue light can have a negative impact on our natural sleep cycles by delaying the release of melatonin and increasing our alertness. Putting away screens before bedtime has shown to help people fall asleep easier and sleep better. Start with around 30 minutes of screen-free time before bed and work your way up to two hours, depending on what works best for you. Try reading a book or listening to an audio program instead so you don’t have to engage with a screen.