Technology has improved our lives and efficiency in so many ways. At the same time, technology is speeding up our pace of life. It has blurred the boundaries between work and home life. Technology allows us to work from home but it also means we bring work home. Gone are the days when we could shut the office door behind us and leave work at work.
As a society, I hope we will get to the point where we realize these habits are bad for us and actually decrease our productivity. In this environment of increasingly fuzzy boundaries, we must ensure our technology is managed so our time at home is protected for much needed recovery and relaxation.
It is important to organize our homes and routines as a sanctuary from stress. Research shows, we need to learn what world class athlete’s already know: recovering energy is as important as expending it. To do this, you can make three changes to your home routine:
- Schedule technology free times while you are at home
I know it is difficult; the temptation to check your email or work on your smart phone has a dopamine like affect. But if you are using your smart phone while you are trying to participate in family activities or accomplish a task, you are multi-tasking. Focusing is faster and produces better quality work. In this case, the “work” may be playing with your kids. I guarantee your conversations; relationships and email efficiency will improve if your smart phone is put away for periods of time.
- Put your phone away after 9pm
Russell Johnson, Assistant Professor of Management at MSU said, “The amount of time people spent using their smart phone after 9 PM had a detrimental effect on sleep that night, as well as it carried over and impacted how fatigued people were the following morning.” So, the more time people spent cramming in extra work at night, the less productive they were the following day.
- Don’t sleep with your cell phone beside your bed
“You just can’t detach, when your cell phone is sitting beside you on the bed side table, and you’re continually getting messages and texts that really do make it difficult to disengage from work,” said Johnson. Even if your cell phone is in “sleep mode” beside your bed, it is likely you will forego sleep time, as you check your phone one last time before going to sleep.
If you are over the age of twenty-five, you have likely been taught to multi-task, respond instantly and be constantly available. It is a trap!!! Don’t do it! We teach people how to work with us. You can create boundaries between one task and another and between work and home life. You can make your home a sanctuary, a place for rest and recovery. You can start by managing your technology, so it doesn’t manage you.