So this kind of freaked me out…
I recently stumbled across the below infographic (ironically while mindlessly surfing the web), and the implications are startling. In particular the part that says “it took 5 days for participants to have more natural, variable heart rates after being cut off from email” drew my attention.
I know I typically write about losing fat, getting stronger, and staying in shape but what the hell is the sense of getting fit if your brain is always on high alert like some damned lab rat waiting on the random food pellet to be released as it compulsively hits the feeder lever?
But I’m not going to belabor the issue either. I think the info graphic speaks for itself and I definitely noticed the symptoms of multi-tasking in myself when I honestly reflected. At a minimum I think it’s worth some self-experimentation with limiting digital access and I’ll share with you my planned experiments after the infographic. But first… Here’s the infographic:
So what can we do about it? Below are a few “rules” that I’m going to establish for the next month to see if I notice a benefit to my productivity and health:
• Do work before checking email and social media. Currently the first thing I do each day is check email, Twitter, and Facebook. I will be blocking off the first hour of the day to do high priority work before checking email or social networks.
• Block off specific times for email and social media. I will be limiting email and Facebook to twice per day, 9:30am and 4:30pm, in 30 minute blocks (I’m lucky in that I don’t get that much email and should be able to handle it in two 30 minute blocks if I stay focused). Twitter will be kept to the same twice per day blocks, but also stay open between 7:00pm – 8:00pm as I often connect with friends and other bloggers during that time.
• No cell phone in the bedroom. I was sleeping with my iPhone on my bedside table because I used it as an alarm clock. But when I thought about it, I was also checking email, Twitter, and Words With Friends as I tried to fall asleep. Now I still use it as an alarm clock, but I put the phone on “Airplane Mode” and plug it into my stereo in the living room.
• Computer and cell phone off at 8:00pm Monday – Friday. No excuses. Same for Saturday with the exception of cell phone staying on after 8:00pm in the rare instance that I’m out socially and I need to connect with someone.
• Sundays are digital free. No computer. No cell phone. This one will be tough to do with the computer as I always seem to have some project going on (new Kindle book coming soon!), but with some pre-planning I can make it happen.
What do you think? Is the digital lifestyle hampering your productivity and maybe even your health? Have you implemented any “rules” about digital access that have helped? Are you going to try limiting your digital access for 30 days or other period of time as an experiment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.