Digital stress and its impact on productivity

Nowadays, technology accompanies us in almost every area of ​​life. Wide access to the Internet, smartphone or laptop means that with one button we are able to check almost any information, make a phone call, send an e-mail or make purchases. Unfortunately, such a wide access to technology, despite many advantages, also has a number of disadvantages, such as addiction to the phone and a high level of stress, while we cannot take advantage of it temporarily.

What is digital stress?

Digital stress is often experienced when using digital technology, social media, and apps. The stressors that are triggered by technology include:
stimulation that is caused by the excess of information provided;
too many tasks that are performed simultaneously;
remote work, which requires constant human activity, which makes it difficult to take a break;
too large and common access to applications and information services.

Why is digital technology so stressful?

Technology in a broad sense gives us the ability to reach a wide amount of information that the human brain must then process. It is this stimulation that causes difficulties in the fulfillment of both professional duties – productivity significantly decreases, as well as private ones. Did you know that due to digital stress, the number of sick leaves is increasing? On the other hand, the efficiency, commitment and creativity of employees are reduced. The most important factors that make technology stressful in general are:

– Distractors – these are applications, e-mails, messengers, social networks. They make it harder for us to focus on the task entrusted to us, and they also disturb our peace.
– Information overload – by receiving information that is too short and chaotic too often, disrupting our linear thinking. Therefore, human concentration is significantly disturbed, it is more difficult for us to focus, moreover, we use mental shortcuts more often.
– Distraction – using the phone is associated with frequent vibrations, sounds and notifications. It makes us more distracted, lowers our productivity, and makes us less creative. In addition, research has confirmed that the cognitive skills of people who regularly use digital technology deteriorate, and thus, our memory deteriorates and the ability to learn is reduced.

What are the consequences of the abuse of digital technology?

According to the report “Work Safety in Poland”, which was released in 2019, as many as over forty percent of employees in Poland experience digital stress. It is digital technology that is behind the feeling of pressure, lower mood, lower productivity and worse commitment to the task entrusted. Undoubtedly, it should be remembered that technology has a number of advantages – it helps us in the implementation of both professional and private duties. Nevertheless, it is worth taking care not to abuse it.

How to deal with digital stress?

If you have noticed that you also suffer from widespread digital stress, it is worth implementing a few rules. First, learn to recognize your stressors. This can be done by writing down your habits and then thinking about which ones are associated with your stress. Another rule is to turn off the business contact after working hours. However, remember to first warn your colleagues that you will be out of reach during the given hours. However, if there has to be contact with you – do not check your e-mail every few minutes, give yourself a break. Also, remember not to install every accidentally found application on your phone, it is worth sticking to the principle of less is more here. Nowadays, we feel the pressure to keep up with every application that is created, but if you feel that a given application will not be useful to you – you should not install it. It is worth using only useful applications that do not cause stress in us. Another rule that will help reduce digital stress is not to use digital technology at least one hour before bedtime. For example, using the phone just before bedtime stimulates our brain, which is unable to adequately calm down and tune in to bedtime. In addition, the blue light that is produced by phones reduces the production of melatonin, which directly causes sleep problems. It is also important to do at least one day a week in which we limit the use of technology to the necessary minimum. Thanks to this, our brain will rest, which will certainly stimulate it to be more productive on the other days of the week.

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