HOW TO CONTROL YOUR CRACKBERRY ADDICTION ; When Sophie Goodchild found herself taking her mobile with her to the loo she realised technology was... [Evening Standard (London, England)]
(Evening Standard (London, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) HOW TO CONTROL YOUR CRACKBERRY ADDICTION ; When Sophie Goodchild found herself taking her mobile with her to the loo she realised technology was ruling her life. Happily, help was at hand. Here she passes on the advice from her 'techno detox' expert ARE you in need of "BlackBerry" Botox? The latest finding from beauty experts is that squinting for hours at a smartphone causes premature frown lines. It seems e-addiction is now damaging our bodies as well as our minds.
We live in an "always-on" culture and that means relying on iPhones and BlackBerries to enable us to communicate and compete. But the Stress Management Society warns that our brains are not wired to cope with the demands of a digital age; people are buckling under the pressure.
The society's director, Neil Shah, says Londoners must get "smart" with technology so that it works for us, not against. Shah, whose clients include the NHS and Home Office, says: "Technology has changed how we live in such a short period of time. But our bodies were never designed to live in a sprint state." To help us survive, the society has launched a one-day stress bootcamp. It includes tips from Andrea Sangster, a communications expert, on handling 21st-century stress. So what can we expect from a technology detox? NOMOPHOBIA OR 'NO MOBILE PHONE' PHOBIA Research by the Post Office reveals more than half of mobile phone users in Britain fear being out of mobile contact, losing their phone or running out of battery life. I'm one of them. My stress levels soar when I'm in a signal blackspot. My phone is even with me when I'm in the bathroom in case I miss a call. Solution: Try switching off your phone at least at mealtimes (and in the loo). Or go analogue. Andrea suggests an alarm clock instead of a mobile for your morning wakeup call. Being digital-free also means no electromagnetic waves, so sleep quality is improved. It also stops late-night texting.
FOMO "Fear of Missing Out" was first coined by Harvard Business School to describe students who subscribed to every campus activity. Londoners exist in a competitive culture requiring instant responses. "Fear of missing out" on a work offer or invite compels people to check emails obsessively. Solution: Andrea points out that Sir Richard Branson checks his emails just once a day, and he's successful. Be strict in allocating a time to read emails, she advises, and never open work messages at home.
FLITTING The demands of email, Facebook, phone and blogs have created a culture of interruption. Result? A fragmented approach to work and loss of "pure performance", which is the time when we make our breakthroughs. "Each time we are interrupted it takes us 15 minutes to get back to where we were before," says Andrea.
Solution: Work smarter, not harder, is Andrea's message. Manage technology so that it doesn't rule you. If you're opening every email, you're not focusing on priorities. Ask "Is this the most important thing I can be doing right now?" MEDIA CREEP My inbox receives around 100 emails a day, including updates from numerous networking sites which I can't remember subscribing to. I can no longer pick out what's important. Solution: The advice from the workshop is to de-commit. If your inbox is overloaded, it's time to remove yourself from non-essential mailing lists. Don't use your email as a filing system, save documents onto your hard drive. Otherwise you'll always be tempted to "creep" towards your email inbox.
THE ROADRUNNER Like the cartoon character, my head is spinning when I go to bed because ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL DALLIMORE When it comes to Facebook, it's not just children who can benefit from Time Up Kidz or EZ Internet Timer I don't allow enough wind-down time from technology. My worst habit is taking a late peek at my hotmail, just in case I've missed something. Solution: "Everyone has demands on them," says Andrea. "But you don't always need to be available." Children get a bedtime story and a warm drink, not a Google update. Always allow yourself technologyfree time before going to bed.
SOCIAL BUTTERFLY The social networking site craze has passed me by. But Andrea confesses to a "preoccupation" with Facebook at one point in her life, which meant she was getting little work done. "Facebook isn't a social life," she says. "It's detached from reality and real interaction with people." Solution: Remember why you signed up in the first place. If it was to remember birthdays, then focus on this task when you log in.
Another trick is setting your own parental controls to limit your time online. It's not just children who can benefit from Time Up Kidz or EZ Internet Timer.
Focus on priorities. Always ask yourself: 'Is this the most important thing I can be doing right now?' When it comes to Facebook, it's not just children who can benefit from Time Up Kidz or EZ Internet Timer (c) 2011 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.