Take a Break from Technology

Step away from the technology

For a couple of years my email signature read “Go outside. The graphics are amazing.” Though it wasn’t original to me, I did have several people ask me if they could use it in their signature.

It’s important both for personal and professional reasons to step away from the technology. There are dozens of articles about why that is important for your personal well-being. I want to address the importance of stepping away for professional well-being.

  1. The Tyranny of Email. Us desk workers often have our email up on our computers all day long. The problem is with what I call the tyranny of email. Whenever a new message comes in, if you feel the need to stop whatever it is you’re doing and respond to the email, you have a problem. If getting away from your computer isn’t possible, close your email for a while. This morning I ignored email for more than an hour to work on a proposal. The proposal turned out well and I was still able to respond to the emails in a timely fashion, just not IMMEDIATELY.
  2. A Change of Pace. We are blessed to have offices on the north bank of Clear Creek. When we need a break, taking a walk along the creek is awesome. But you don’t need a creek to get away. Walk down the hall. Turn away from your computer and do a few stretches.  Close your office door and jump up and down. How does any of this contribute to your professional well-being? Often you can be much more productive by taking breaks throughout the day. I have to force some folks on staff to do this but when they do, they always come back refreshed and with a new perspective on the issue(s) they are addressing.
  3. A Different Medium. If you do all of your work on a computer, try using a different medium. Your brain actually thinks differently with different media. Use your white board instead of your keyboard. Try using a notepad (not a computer tablet! I’m talking about one of those yellow notepads with lines on them) to take notes or compose on. I’m not asking you to do this every time but by doing it from time to time it helps you use different parts of your brain and you might be surprised on the different kind of results you get.

You might be getting a raise sooner or landing more clients faster by trying one or more of these. The overall goal is to take steps to help you focus more or focus differently on what is really important. Technology is just a tool to help you do your job.

8/28/2013 update:

I just came across this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OINa46HeWg8. It explains it best!

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