By Rachel Peck
Our digital devices and social media have significantly impacted our personal and professional lives in many positive ways. However, they often act as a distraction – instead of promoting good work and personal life habits. We could all use a break from our screens from time to time, as taking a step away from devices and apps can help you become a better, more creative communicator. Here are our three reasons PR and marketing pros should put the devices down and take a digital detox:
You’re on your work social media, or clients channels throughout each work day. Then we’re willing to bet you have an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and maybe even a TikTok of your own. By the end of the day, if you’re anything like us, you have a headache from scrolling and caption creating. It’s important to be aware of the number of times you pick up your devices and check in on social media, not only for mental health purposes, but for its effects on focus and productivity.
Pro tip: Schedule in your social media time throughout the day to prevent constant checking of channels. For example, schedule a check-in first thing in the morning and again in the early afternoon.
It’s no secret attention spans have decreased considerably in recent years – thanks to social media. We already have to worry about capturing our audience’s attention, but we can’t ignore social media’s impact on our own productivity and ability to create engaging content. Next time you’re working on a writing assignment, or a project requiring focus, be aware of how often you pick up your phone for a “quick check-in.” Was it really all that quick?
Pro tip: Turn off notifications. While it’s a good practice to stay informed, especially when you’re managing multiple client accounts, you don’t need to be receiving every Twitter update and Instagram “like” at all hours of the day and night. It may seem difficult at first, but we challenge you to give it a shot.
While setting professional boundaries is difficult, setting personal ones feels even more impossible. However, it’s not enough to only be aware from 9 – 5. Setting digital restrictions in your personal time will help you feel more refreshed and rested for when you return to work. If you’re like us, you’ve taken a look at your daily screen time and probably been shocked. How does someone spend 5+ hours a day on a device? It’s not difficult to believe, especially when you’re managing social media for clients. Look at this as an opportunity to challenge yourself by freeing up even one hour at a time. What would you do with that additional free time? Read, cook, take a walk or nap? Your choices are endless.
Pro tip: It’s widely acknowledged that our screen time has a direct effect on our sleep patterns, and in turn, our brain function. Many smartphones have the ability to restrict notifications during certain hours of the day. We suggest turning off notifications at least one hour before bedtime, if not sooner. Try reading or journaling before bed to give your mind a break.
Overall, remember you control the tech devices in your life – even though so much of your life is dependent on them. Start small by setting boundaries during your workday, then challenge yourself to spend a few hours away from your devices each day. We think you’ll be surprised at what stepping away can do, not only for your mental health, but for your ability to focus.