According to a 2014 report by Deloitte, “overwhelmed employees” are an urgent challenge confronting organisations today. The report says that “24/7/365” operations employees “tethered” to technology and “information overload” are the key factors contributing to this malaise. It is worrying that although 65% of those executives surveyed felt this was an “urgent” or “important” issue, 44% are “not ready” to resolve the problem.
Being physically and mentally exhausted not only affects your health, but it also affects the morale of all those around you: your family, your friends and your coworkers. So how can you change things, so you start and finish 2015 full of vitality and focus? Here are a few suggestions.
Think differently about your time
Philosopher of technology, Paul Virilio, says this:
Time is not something that can be measured with a pendule. Time is something that we build together within a tribe, a family, a region .
We have to think differently about how we apportion our time if we are to thrive in a digital age. Virilio argues that it is the quality of time that matters, not the quantity of time.
Become a “gourmet” of technology
According to the writer and activist Cory Doctorow, to be a “gourmet” of technology means we do not accept every piece of technology. Instead we make deliberate choices about the technology we use and how we use it. This way, we savour technology, rather than have it become our default setting. Tom Chatfield from The School of Life suggests three ways to become a “gourmet of technology”, which I have summarised below and which he discusses in his video, shown here:
Ask yourself whether you need the use of technology to achieve a certain goal
For example, very important decisions are best made face-to-face, where you can watch people’s body language as you talk to them.
Ask yourself, “What works best for me?”
If your most productive moments are achieved when you have no distractions, make it a rule not to have any disruptions when you need to focus. Studies have shown that the average user checks his mobile devices up to 150 times a day; simple strategies such as deliberately leaving your device at home are effective.
Remind yourself that technology is not a neutral tool
Many of us feel that we are compelled to answer a phone call simply because it rings. When we receive an email we feel obliged to respond. But we don’t have to. Technologies are systems designed to achieve something – whether that is to get us to send even more emails or interact more with Facebook, see who’s just followed us on Twitter, and so on.
Recognise how you feel when you are thriving
If you are able to identify how you feel, think and behave when you are overwhelmed, you can take the necessary steps – for example, go for a short walk - to prevent your becoming overwhelmed. Similarly, if you can identify how you feel when you are thriving, make a point of finding ways to get yourself back into that state – even if that’s simply doing more of what you know makes you happy.
Confront your inner critic
If you are prone to negative thinking, resolve to be your own defense lawyer. Defend yourself vigorously, and remember that thoughts are not facts.
To thrive in 2015, become a “gourmet” of technology, so that you are in control of what you use, when you use it and how you use it; reframe your negative thoughts by confronting your inner critic; recognise the markers of overwhelm; do more of what makes you happy; and build and nurture meaningful relationships. By making even small changes in these areas, 2015 should ‘feel’ better.
Image via Ne Bolet