Is it time to turn off your work emails, log out of Facebook and allow yourself some peace and quiet?
A recent article titled, The busier you are, the more you need quiet time, prompted me to think about the impact of instant communication on our everyday lives and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quiet time to think, relax and rejuvenate.
Instant communication dominates our lives, allowing us to be in continuous communication with others. We are bombarded with communication through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, email, WhatsApp and text messaging. Tablets and mobile phones have become an important part of our day as we cling on to them in anticipation, waiting for them to buzz, beep or ring.
According to research carried out last year, the average person swipes, taps and pinches their display about 2,617 times a day and spends about 2.42 hours a day touching the smartphone display. Furthermore, 87% will check their phone at least once between midnight and 5am.
The acceptance of instant communication being available 24/7 has weakened the boundaries of time defining when it is acceptable and not acceptable to contact someone and this has resulted in the incompatible overlap of work and play. If your boss emails you at 10pm, does he or she expect a response that evening? Is it right to answer a work email whilst giving the kids tea? Should we be checking Facebook whilst at a friend’s house? Is it right to be responding to personal messages whilst at work? The boundaries are becoming blurred making it harder to understand when it is acceptable to switch off without undermining our friendships or work ethic.
This bombardment of instant communication makes us feel overloaded, tired and stressed. We are starting to see people becoming disillusioned with the continuous flow of Facebook communication or increasingly stressed by the constant access to work email. The return of the iconic Nokia 3310 has even caused excitement as we reminisce about the days of being unable to check emails and Facebook on our phones (although, I have recently read that these may have 4G!).
Is it now time to switch off?
Have a think about how you can temporarily switch off from the instant communication in your life and restore the boundaries of your work-life balance. Can you turn off your work emails at appropriate times of the day? Can you limit yourself to checking Facebook once a day? Can you allocate a day, or part of a day, each week for quiet relaxation? Perhaps you can go for a long gadget-free walk, read a book or listen to some music. Just think how refreshed, fulfilled and happier you will feel when you allow yourself some peace and quiet each week.
Ensure you take time out of our busy world to give yourself time to think and relax.