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Let your humanity disrupt your technology use, not the other way around

Shutterstock_675630538Ping! Behold: the sound of the first morning email. Unfortunately, that undeniable sign of the work day starting is the exact kind of wakeup call you needed. I wouldn’t say rolling out of bed at 7AM is the easiest thing after a late-night session of mindless scrolling, but hey, you spent the entire previous day responding to emails and fixing that PowerPoint pitch for your client. You deserve a little tech-fueled R&R. “Alexa, play ‘Island in the Sun’”

Your life is complex, and technology has been there for you, simplifying it every step of the way, right? It helps you get up for work, it helps you do your work, it helps you socialize and plan. What’s not to love? So, you mosey on to the bathroom mirror, eyes still glued to the screen, stumbling with exhaustion, and there it is. There’s that embarrassing weekly notification: “You average 8h 46m of screen time a day!” (I don’t know if Android users get these, so if not, here’s a glimpse of the dark side).

“WHAT?!”

No wonder you’re so tired – so stressed! No wonder you toss and turn all night! Unplugging is hard, but is your willful ignorance finally taking its toll? Do you have a problem?

In continued celebration of Women’s History Month, the Go Beyond Disruption podcast hosted the insightful Amy Vetter. Vetter, a CPA, CGMA, and yogi, who helps finance professionals make their way out of that technological blackhole. She shares tips on mindful technology – the practice of being present, aware, and thus intentional about our technology use. This promotes healthier relationships with our gadgets and an all-around healthier state of being. Here’s are four things we learned from her:

  1. Women need eight to ten hours of sleep at night, and men need seven to nine – and it’s not happening. Long work hours, late-night television and phone-use before bed are keeping people from meeting their sleep quota. Sleep clears emotions from the day before and ultimately allows us to be more present at work and with our families. It’s a vital component for optimal brain function. Maybe the email can wait until tomorrow morning.
  2. Your choice to focus on text messages rather than people is hurting your relationships. Consider the message that you’re sending a person who’s prepared an entire presentation only to see you check your phone several throughout it. What about the experience you’re creating for someone trying to have a conversation with you? Use your emotional intelligence. What you’re really saying is, “I’m bored, and you’re just not that important.” Rude! Try using the ‘do not disturb’ feature on your phone to give people your full attention. A better option is to take your phone off the table altogether. These baby steps to unplug from your phone in moments that should prioritize human connection can lead to long term success in personal and business relationships.
  3. It might be time to delete this lie from your resume: Strong ability to multitask. The truth is, you can’t – or maybe you can, but it’s hurting more than it’s helping. According to Vetter, multitasking actually makes your IQ drop a couple of points. So, avoid the deadly trap of scrolling down your timeline or reading your email while you watch TV. It’s to your benefit to stay sharp. After all, the robots are coming!
  4. Vetter is founder of the B3 method: Business + Balance = Bliss. Some business situations – whether meetings, projects or presentations – create stress for us. Take the time to find the best ways to balance this stress. Whether it’s taking a walk or listening to music, it’s important to give our brain a rest so we can be more efficient and more productive during the day. These activities are healthier substitutes for technology use before bed.

One thing we know for sure: disruption is here. Technology is fueling change in all areas of our lives at an alarming rate, and all these changes can become stressors. Yoga has been Vetter’s tool of choice, but she encourages anything that will allow you to be alone with your thoughts and feelings to take inventory on your personal needs. But first, you must unplug to figure what it is you need to alleviate stress. Your well-being depends on it.

Learn more by listening to Vetter’s episode of the Go Beyond Disruption podcast.

Mballa Mendouga, Communications - Manager, Corporation Social Responsibility & Campaigns, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants 

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