Eye strain, headaches, neck, shoulder, and back pains, insomnia, a sedentary lifestyle, and social media addiction are just a few of the possible negative effects of too much screen time. However, with so many of us being forced to stay home and work, as well as practice physically distancing ourselves from others when we do go out, our internet-ready tech devices from laptops to smartphones are being used more than ever before to stay connected professionally and personally.
Consequently, it will require proper management to ensure that too much screen time and overuse of social media platforms do not negatively affect us as we stay with our families and work from our homes.
1. Reducing the effects of screen time
Screen-time reduction may not be as easily achieved when you work from your phone, laptops, other computers, and smart devices in addition to using them more often than before for general communication. Still, there are certain things you can do to reduce the impact of the same in other areas of your life. Here goes:
A. Wear Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses are glasses that are worn when using a computer, smartphone, or other device that emits blue light. These glasses help to reduce the negative effects of blue light which some studies indicate can interrupt natural sleep patterns and significantly reduce the quality of sleep. Blue light glasses work by filtering out the blues emitted from the screens while increasing reds and yellows (colours that are more conducive to sleep).
B. Use Devices in a Designated Work Area
We are all too familiar with the scenario of using our laptops or scrolling endlessly through social media while in bed. I know I’ve been guilty of the same. Opting to use these devices in designated spaces outside of the bedroom will significantly impact your ability to sleep (and sleep well) when it is time to do so.
2. Stemming Overuse of Social Media
One only has to type the word ‘social media effects’ in Google to know the adverse effects that endless social media scrolling can have in several areas of our lives individually and consequently collectively. To ensure you do not fall down the rabbit hole of endless scrolling, practice implementing the following boundaries:
A. Designate time for use
A good place to start when managing social media usage is to have time slots allotted to checking messages, posting, and other relevant activities. This will ensure that you are not endlessly scrolling, but instead, you can enjoy social media engagement within reason. Typically, an hour two or three times a day (e.g. morning, noon, and evening) is a great place to start.
B. Define a strategy for your accounts
Having a clear vision for your accounts on social media platforms will help you determine exactly how you use them. A clear vision will help you decide what to post, when, and where. Vision can also help you not to compare yourself to others and what they may or may not be posting. Instead, you are comparing your social media activities to your own very carefully curated vision.
3. Effective Email Management
Checking emails often turns out to be one of the most time-consuming activities throughout the workday. Perhaps because we often check and respond to emails as they come in. Consequently, our work hours are frequently interrupted. A great way to ensure we have uninterrupted work hours while still responding to emails efficiently is to designate your email response time(s). Depending on the typical volume of emails you get daily and how much you respond to the same will determine how frequently and for how long you will check emails.
Generally, half an hour intervals with approximately five times a day is a good place to start. For example, morning, mid-morning, early afternoon, and just before the close of the workday could work.