Time for a digital diet

Sometimes it feels pretty overwhelming: a bit like being bombarded by an avalanche of information. Emails constantly arriving in your in box, another post on facebook or the constant chatter of twitter. This is the age of digital communications.

In just eight years the digital revolution has changed the way we communicate, think and socialise. Everything can be tailored for the individual in terms of information received and we’re constantly lured in to checking our phones, tablets or computers. As a result we’re always plugged in, pretty much 24/7 minus when we’re asleep.

And yet there are no apparent rules. We expect people to respond to emails almost instantly. We want to share every morsel of our lives with friends. We always want to be in touch just in case we might miss something.

From morning till night we are plugged in spending hours staring at screens of varying sizes. Its almost as if we’re seeing the real world via the virtual world. As soon as something flashes up on our smartphone or tablet we instantly check what out what has happened.

Many people are effectively addicted to their screens. Going a a few minutes, let alone an hour, feels like an eternity as we might have missed something.

I have to admit I spend too long looking at my iPad particularly. Its like a digital comfort blanket and I feel in touch. Even when I’m doing something else I am tempted to scroll through my twitter wall or check emails.

Its the same at work (and this is now the norm). We work through emails – it gives us a satisfaction that they keeping arriving in our in box and that we’re dealing with. But the ultimate question is: is this the most efficient way to work? The answer seems to be ‘no’ as we don’t concentrate on the task at hand.

So in February I’m starting my 7:7 digital diet. I will abstain from looking at screens between the hours of 7pm till 7am. And at work I will check my emails less often – three times a day when I arrive, at lunchtime and before I leave in the evening – and spend less time firing off emails to fill a moment in time.

I want to have the space to think again. I want to have the time to complete tasks rather than flipping between them. By taking time out from the digital overflow I hope that I will become more efficient and also spend more time on other things.

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