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Find Your Tech-Life Balance Through Tech-Free Zones At Work And At Home

Written by: Ellen Kocher, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Did you know that the mere presence of your phone impacts your ability to solve problems and focus? Between smartphones and wearables like watches and rings, it’s challenging to escape technology today. The truth is, the mere presence of your device impacts your problem-solving and memory.

Two frog using bathroom outdoor, one is using mobile phone.

The following graphic always impresses me where we see the difference in “working memory capacity” and “fluid intelligence” if our phone is on our desk, bag, or the other room. It shows that our brain is constantly “on” and cannot completely pay attention, focus, or relax. The continuous distraction also robs us of the ability to think more critically, to do the deep thinking required to solve more complex problems, or to be creative.

Merely not seeing devices reduces pressure on willpower and temptation and keeps us less distracted helping us improve our stress, relationships, memory, and concentration.


That’s why it’s essential to create tech-free zones @WORK and @HOME, especially since these zones are more and more integrated with most of us working from home.


Tech-Free zones are dedicated areas of your home or workspace where you choose not to allow specific devices to be present. Again, this means mere presence, not just “on or off”, because the mere presence is what impacts your ability to problem solve and focus.


Did you know?

  • Meals together at the table without screens are scientifically proven to contribute to healthier social behavior and positive life outcomes for kids.

  • Sleeping with a phone in the bedroom is proven to undermine cognitive functioning and mental health and increase the chances of obesity.

  • 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.

  • Phone screens brought to the bathroom carry ten times more bacteria than toilet seats.

  • At work, quiet zones are the third highest-ranked amenity in terms of value for employees — higher than outdoor spaces, breakrooms, or cafeterias.

How to start

  1. Evaluate what best inspires you, your family, or your employees to be the most present and relaxed. Calming music, natural light, and comfortable seating. Merely seeing nature through a window, image or plants can already have a calming effect.

  2. Communicate your strategy. Use this article to explain the well-being, relationship, and benefits — personal and professional — of unplugged zones.

  3. Negotiate your tech-free zones and times. At home, this might be the kitchen at mealtimes. At work, this might be between 9 am and 11 am to avoid phone distractions while you do focused work. The critical factor is to get buy-in from everyone involved.

  4. Fill the zone with non-tech options. In the kitchen, this might mean cooking together. Elsewhere, it might mean things like books, cards, board games, yoga mats, etc. Your tech-free zone should be a place to connect with the present, pursue personal or creative projects or just enjoy time with others.

  5. Set Up reminders. Something as simple as a sign in the zone or a subtle depository at the door is usually enough.

  6. Lead by example. Whether you are setting an example for your employees or your family, you need to walk your talk by adhering to your messaging.

There is currently no solid scientific evidence that complete digital detoxes have any lasting benefits. Completely giving up your devices could even have negative consequences as you also give up many of the good things about tech.


However, we need to create a balanced, responsible use of technology at @WORK and @HOME. Tech-free zones are a great place to start.


As a Health and Wellness Coach, “tech-life balance” has become as much a part of my coaching as work-life balance, nutrition, activity, sleep, and recovery. Feel free to download all 10 TIPS to balance your online and unplugged time for yourself, your team, and your family.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Ellen Kocher, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ellen Kocher is an Economist and Certified Workplace Wellness Consultant who holds a master’s degree in Health & Wellness Coaching. Following 10 years as an Executive in Finance, Ellen made some major lifestyles change and has dedicated the past 20+ years to walking her talk through workplace wellbeing, promoting a holistic approach to eating, physical activity, health, resilience, and self-care. Ellen has coached hundreds of individuals and groups in dozens of organizations to make sustainable lifestyle changes empowering them to go from knowing what to do to actually doing it! Most recently Ellen’s work focuses on the 50+ demographic.

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