Work Life Balance: Put The Phone Down And Slowly Back Away… Here’s Why

Susan Sly Work Life Balance Expert on Technology

Does technology negatively impact our work life balance?


Is our dependence on technology bad for us?

Can we have work life balance with our technology dependence?

According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, Americans aged 18 and older spend more than 11 hours a day watching TV, listening to the radio, or using smartphones and other electronic devices.  

It is mind boggling that we are spending 11 hours a day on technology. Most people sleep about 7-8 hours a day, so between those two activities, 18 or 19 hours of our day are spent with our eyes closed or fixated on a screen like some sort of mindless zombie.

Susan Sly - Work Life Balance Expert - Infographic: Americans Use Electronic Media 11+ Hours A Day | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

We have 5-6 hours outside of slumber and zombie-mode. With those we have to eat food, shower (hopefully!!), get dressed, etc. Some of us might have children and/or pets with needs that require time as well. The house isn’t going to clean itself, either. At least not in most cases.

So what’s left for us?

I really don’t feel like tallying up the exact number of minutes that remain – after all, I only have a few free minutes in my day as it is. But the bottom line is this… We are addicted to technology. Look around. All you see is people with their heads buried in their devices, sometimes even while driving.

The reality is that many of us are forced to spend some amount of time on computers or mobile devices due to our jobs. Technology is a necessity for business but is it good for our work life balance?

Also, I’ll admit, technology is pretty darn awesome when you think about it. We have incredible capabilities of finding anything we want in seconds, but that doesn’t mean we should google every question that pops into our heads.

And it is incredible to be able to connect to people all over the world in real time. But it sure feels like I really didn’t NEED to know what my Facebook friends ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Realistically, we all must spend some time on devices nearly every day. However, we should also be cognizant of how we are spending our time outside of the hours that could be considered ‘mandatory.’

I am confident that when you look back on your life, you won’t be saying, “Gee, I wish I had spent more time reading political rants from unqualified people.” Or “If I had only watched more cat videos.”

Work life balance is about just that – balance of the many areas of our life.

The bottom line is that we should all look at the habits that we have and think about what impact they have on our lives, both positive and negative. Simply try to adopt more habits where the result is a positive one, and drop (or at least cut back on) some of the habits that produce negative results.

Did you know that over 205 billion emails are sent and received every day?

We have all been sent emails or copied on emails that don’t have any relevance to our existence whatsoever, and it is frustrating. The average office worker sends or receives 121 emails per day according to a report released by the Radicati Group.

It’s just madness and it needs to stop! Who can read and/or write 121 emails per day? You might even be forced to respond to some as well.

Let’s not forget the additional 23 billion texts sent everyday.

So it’s not as astronomical as the number of emails sent, but text messaging is gaining steam fast, according to research group Portio. We have all kept a text thread alive longer than it needed to go, or maybe even sent messages we regret.

There is no perfect answer on cutting down on the amount of time that is spent on technology; and reliance of technology varies from person to person, but becoming a slave to the screen is not a healthy or fulfilling life for anybody.

Lost in translation?

Furthermore, so much of what is sent in emails and text messages are devoid of context and/or tone. We might be saying something in jest, jokingly, etc., but the person on the other end might not see it that way. The intentions and overall message of an electronic message can easily be misconstrued.

In so many ways, technology has made our lives much easier, more convenient, and in most cases, time efficient… but only if used properly, and not abused. The digital revolution has no doubt helped make mass communication part of our daily lives, but we must be careful.

We cannot afford to spend 11 hours of our day on technology, and we cannot afford to let digital interaction completely replace the authenticity and straight-forwardness of face-to-face communication. The younger generations have developed amazing technological skills, but the people skills are sorely lacking.

Don’t be a slave to your technology 24/7. Put the screens down from time to time, look someone in the eye, and make a real connection. You just might be surprised what a difference you can make in your own personal life and your connections with other people.

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