Additional tips for streamlining your digital life
By adopting new online strategies this year, you can boost your work productivity while expanding time available for exercise and other life enrichment activities.
Almost one in five people report that they’re constantly online. Even more concerning–most folks are now spending more time on their smartphones than face-to-face with family and friends, much of it on social media–a major trigger for negative, stressful emotions. These and related factors correlate with lower quality of life.
Studies demonstrate that too much screen time adversely affects physical and mental health, e.g., weight gain, the incidence of depression, anxiety, social isolation, as well as stunted social/academic and physical development among children. The major culprit is the adrenaline spikes we experience with frequent stress. That’s not a problem if you exercise regularly. If you don’t, however, adrenaline turns into cortisol, a highly dangerous toxin implicated in a range of degenerative outcomes including premature aging, deep fatigue, even organ failure.
Additional Strategies for reducing screen time
- Turn off your device notifications (unless you’re waiting for a critical update). Don’t be like one of Pavlov’s dogs! –Respond to email/texts, etc. at structured times, e.g., twice a day, if at all possible.
- Test your website’s contact page and all internal links. You may find messages from potential customers you’ve been ignoring. If your internal links aren’t working or your site is slow to navigate, remedy the situation ASAP.
- Deactivate the automatic running of software systems that you seldom if ever use (as well as app updates for your phone)–except for those essential to your daily work.
- Track how much time you’re spending online by using an app like Moment for iOS or QualityTime for Android. This will give you an excellent behavioral metric to monitor future improvement.
- Refresh your online personal information every year, including social media profiles (especially your LinkedIn bio); your email signatures; website copyright year (having the original launch date makes it appear you’ve never updated your site info) + template footers, etc.
- Assess your social media presence to ensure quality of content and overall security. Look at your 2016 posts with a fresh eye. Were they informative and upbeat? Did you avoid creating or forwarding provocative, potentially business-limiting posts? It was harder than ever to tick those boxes last year, all the more important to do so in 2017.
- Update your resume and portfolio to incorporate new projects, clients, achievements (preferably supported by metrics) and contact information. Keep current with your references by giving them each a call to update them on your status and to make sure their contact info is accurate.
- Notify your family and friends when you’re going to be too busy to respond to texts. Request they postpone contacting you until a specific date/time.
- Periodically categorize your inbox by sender to avoid forgetting to respond to any personal, non-urgent message.
- Review invoices to ensure you and your clients begin the year with a clean slate. Organize them, if you haven’t already, to prepare for 2016 taxes.
- Don’t forget basic computer maintenance–Have you blown out your computer lately to prevent overheating, etc.? Have you recently cleaned your keyboard (a known disease vector)? Is your surge protector working?
Create a ‘restore kit’ in the event of system failure.
- Finally, write out (on a short paper list) all the important phone numbers of relatives, close friends, and colleagues. Though it takes a half hour or so, creating a hard copy of that information and putting it into a safe location can be a lifesaver.
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