April 6, 2021

What Is Digital Wellbeing And Why We Need It?

What Is Digital Wellbeing And Why We Need It?

How are you today? No, I’m not just asking. I mean, how are you, really?

As screens, dots and pixels become more and more of our daily lives, how capable are you of really stopping and embracing how you feel? How often do you feel like you’re genuine self on the Internet?

Digital wellbeing is more than just screentime. Digital wellbeing goes deep into your relationship with digital and technology. It also affects almost any relationship in your life.

Is email the first thing you check in the morning or do you kiss your partner on the forehead, saying good morning, gently? Do you stop, and say a few things you’re grateful for before taking your phone, dying for that dopamine rush of new notifications?

Does your phone help you to do more tasks efficiently? Or really, you’re just using it to procrastinate and scroll endlessly through Instagram feed?

Quality > Quantity

Whether it’s work or personal life, I’ll cherish quality over quantity at all times. But how can we connect that to digital well-being?

It’s all about making priorities. Saying no. And I’ve made that mistake way too much, that’s why I’m sharing this with you so you might not make it.

In order to be effective at the right things, you’ll need to say no to a lot of things. Digital wellbeing is about making priorities and knowing you can do it all - just not at the same time.

Disconnecting from the social media networks, instant messaging and email will give you more clarity and focus. It’s about saying no to the toxic FOMO and productivity culture. It’s about saying yes to freedom and priorities.

Working from home during the pandemic

I worked from home even before the pandemic started, so things didn’t change that much for me. But I can imagine what kind of different set of problems people experienced during these global pandemic. Working moms juggling kids and job responsibilities, essential workers dealing with losses everyday...

Healthy boundaries

Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I’m using apps to workout, track my time, manage projects, collaborate and shop. But there has to be a limit. You need to be aware of how you’re using the technology or it takes over your life and starts using you.

While life-located-on-digital channels might keep us safe from physical contagion, it has the potential to propagate ‘mental contagion’ as emotions (fear), thoughts (conspiracy theories), and behaviours (panic buying) through the population.

However there are some ways to use digital mindfully and responsibly.

  1. Take back control. Just a simple gesture, a task or planning can give you a sense of control over your life. The key here is that you are in control. No more passive viewing and scrolling, but more action and thought behind it.
  2. Using digital to nurture relationships. As we mentioned, yeah, you might be staying away from COVID, but it might be toxic for your health. Take this opportunity to reconnect with long lost friends, call your family members and re-build important relationships.
  3. Work smarter, not harder. One of the things that forms our wellbeing is our sense of competence, so why not put all this free time you might have on your hands to good use? You can learn a new language without the hassle of commuting, you can have private training lessons and you can establish a self-care routine.

According to Think With Google, people think technology has a neutral or positive impact on their wellbeing. On the level of engagement, people most often check phones for notifications and passively scroll through social media.

Perception is deeply correlated with time spent on the activity. People actually often spend more time on activities that they believe have a negative impact on their wellbeing. Does that sound like you? Furthermore, they spent less time on activities that they believe have a positive impact on their wellbeing, such as reading books, using health or fitness apps or learning a new language.

What steps can you take to be more mindful about your digital wellbeing?

  1. Plan ahead and take action

During the COVID-19 crisis, I joined the “The 5 AM Club” and I love it. The whole idea is that you wake up at 5 AM, and do a twenty-minute exercise, twenty-minute planning, and twenty-minute study. During that quiet time, I usually tackle planning my day. If you’re familiar with the brain dump technique, then you know that you can simply dump all your tasks on paper and sort them out into four categories:

  • Urgent & Important
  • Urgent but Not Important
  • Important but Not Urgent
  • Less Important & Not Urgent

I will usually plan to do most of my creative, attention-seeking tasks in the morning. Any mundane work that might include a computer and social media, like answering emails, I like to plan for the afternoon.

  1. Dedicate time in your day just for social media

That might sound counterintuitive, right. I’m encouraging you to dedicate time just to social media. It can be half an hour, 15 minutes, anything you’re really comfortable with.

In that time, you’re free to scroll through Instagram as much as you like. Now when you have social media off your hands, you can focus on your other tasks freely.

  1. Switch off (work, social media…)

Think about the number of notifications you get in a single day. It might be an inseparable part of your work life, especially if you’re working remotely, but still, there need to be some healthy boundaries.

The perception of notifications can easily be measured on a chemical basis since we know that dopamine levels rise when we are checking our notifications and our email.

Having uncontrolled email notifications distract workers and every time a worker is distracted it takes them up to 25 minutes to regain their focus back to the task that they were originally completing.

What’s my solution? Snoozing notifications in certain periods of the day. You can easily do it on your computer as well as on your phone. For example, my phone will automatically mute all notifications from 10 PM to 6 AM. I know that is my free time off the phone and social media and there are no “pings” to check up on in that period of the day.

You can use it in other ways, to block off times of clarity during the workday or dedicate an off time with your loved one.

Another thing I like to do is to “forget” my phone at home when I’m going out for a walk. It is a way to be more present and more on top of my digital wellbeing.

  1. Focus on a single task

Multitasking can be counterproductive to getting anything done. To be more efficient, reduce the number of screens around you and focus on a single task. Achieving deep focus will enable you to access deeper levels of creativity, be more productive and successful.

What changes are others doing to improve their digital wellbeing?

Well, according to Think With Google, 1 in 4 people have made changes to their technology use to gain a greater sense of digital wellbeing. Four in 5 people who took steps to improve their well being reported a positive impact on their overall wellbeing.

Those steps included:

  1. Deleting certain apps on their smartphones
  2. Changing device notifications to receive fewer notifications
  3. Reducing time spent on certain apps

Remember, there are no quick fixes and change won’t happen overnight. I’m also guilty of forgetting to pause and detox from the screen, but I’m taking action.

I’d like to invite you to our Facebook group where we share exclusive materials that will help you, for example, take charge of your overconsumption of social media or help you implement new habits. Yes, I’m inviting you to a digital group that might mean more screen time, but it will also mean that you’re joining a tribe of successful, smart women that will cheer on your successes and motivate you to sustain the best version of yourself.

It’s all about finding a balance, and only you know what works the best for you. Is it taking a day off, using apps that will block off certain chunks of your day, or is it simply reflecting each day on your digital consumption?

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