“Technostress” is the inability to cope with new technologies in a healthy manner. It occurs when the rapid development of technology outpaces society’s ability to understand how to responsibly use it.
Enter the smartphone: A device that enables us to be totally accessible at all times.
This is a modern phenomenon, and, to be frank, we don’t really know how to handle this level of constant connectivity. As a result, there’s the expectation that we should always be available: To respond to that text message, reply to that email, pick up that phone call, “like” that Facebook comment. And since many of us carry our inbox, address book, and social media network in our pocket (or on our wrist), we’re never truly “off the clock,” and that means little (or no) time to unwind and decompress.
The ever-present threat of a digital interruption can have side effects paralleling symptoms of depression or other mental illness, such as: chronic fatigue, cynicism, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, mismanagement of priorities, a sense of ineffectiveness.
Despite what some apps may have you believe, having your smartphone in arms reach isn’t doing your productivity any favors. When studying for class or engaged in a work-related project, the constant pings, flashes, and vibrations distract and lead to errors, typos, and potentially shoddy work.
Keep Your Phone on Silent
It’s hard to resist the urge to check your phone when it’s vibrating away in your pocket. Help yourself by switching your phone to silent.
Turn Off Notifications
Another simple solution to a nagging problem. By turning off notifications, you can use your phone efficiently without distraction.
Try “Inbox Pause”
Inbox Pause is an application that can be synced to your Gmail, Outlook, or iPhone that stops new emails from coming into your inbox. Not only does it re-enforce the separation of work and leisure time, but it can even be used during the day to help you focus by preventing interruptions.
Charge Your Phone at a Safe Distance
If you’re charging your smartphone on your nightstand or next to the couch, you’re more likely to respond immediately to a message or notification. A little distance from your phone will do you some good; charge it in another room where it isn’t easily accessible.
The thought of deleting Instagram, Snapchat or any other of your favorite applications might make you shudder, but you’ll quickly realize how easy it is to get through the day without them. Remember, it only takes a couple of minutes to redownload most apps, so there’s no need to deliberate too much. Who knows? You might be fine without them for longer than you’d expect.