How to take a break from technology … with the help of technology

It’s no secret that technology is increasingly present in our lives, especially in the last year.

We use our devices to stay in touch with friends and family, to educate and entertain our children and, many, to work from home.

But the endless virtual interactions have led to what has been called Zoom fatigue, according to scientists at Stanford University.

To avoid digital exhaustion, companies are now trying to design technological solutions that promote productivity and creativity and allow less time to be spent looking at a screen.

Take breaks

Microsoft has introduced a new tool in Outlook that encourages people to have shorter meetings with lots of breaks.

Settings schedule meetings 5 ​​minutes past the hour, to provide a natural break between calls.

The tool was created in response to Microsoft’s own research, which found that consecutive virtual meetings can make the people feel stressedoh let it be distracted.

The researchers performed brain scans on 14 people during four consecutive half-hour meetings, some without breaks and others with 10-minute breaks between each meeting.

The analysis revealed that the absence of breaks led to a sharp increase in stress levels, especially when switching from one call to another.

Taking a physical break from screens is also essential, as this can improve our ability to concentrate, ”Nick Hedderman, head of subject matter at Microsoft’s UK branch, tells the BBC.

It suggests that managers can create a “Positive culture of distance work” with these premises:

Shorten meetings to between 20 and 40 minutes. Hold “team meetings” that are not work related. Schedule voice-only meetings while walking, “to change scenery and improve physical well-being.”

Clear boundaries

“If we are aware of our behavior and set clear limits and schedules, we can choose to have technology that works for us rather than against us,” explains Naz Beheshti, a former executive assistant to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

In his new book Pause. Breathe Choose. Become the CEO of your wellness highlights the importance of being bored, a lesson Jobs learned to foster creativity.

“The next time you have a gap in your day, refrain from filling it,” he says in his book.

“Resist picking up the phone or other electronic devices, which could temporarily entertain you with something that scatters you, like the endless update of your social networks.”

There is a growing number of scientific studies showing that phones and notifications have a detrimental effect in productivity and attention.

Technological stressTechnological stress“If we are aware of our behavior and establish limits and schedules” we can handle technological stress, indicate the specialists. (Photo: Getty Images)

Research from the University of California at Irvine found that it took 23 minutes to return to a single task after a notification. And people managed to focus their attention on computers for an average of just 47 seconds, before moving to another screen such as the phone.

Research suggests that notifications can take time to recover, cause errors, and cause stress.

Daily limits

Both Apple and Google have tried to empower smartphone users, with Apple’s Screen Time feature and Android’s Digital Wellbeing tool.

The user’s device will inform him how much time he spends in each application and how many notifications he has received.

You can set limits and hours and customize notifications.

Light PhoneLight PhoneAn investigation found that it took 23 minutes to return to a single task after a notification. Devices like Light Phone try to avoid it. (Photo: Light Phone)

In addition, Google adds a new function that will send an alert indicating that you have to look up from the phone when walking.

No notifications, even the presence of a telephone It can reduce the ability to concentrate, according to a study from the University of Chicago.

Digital detox

For those who do not have the will power to disable notifications, there are technological hardware solutions.

The Light Phone is a simple mobile phone that aims to eliminate distractions caused by smartphones.

It has very basic capabilities: calls, text messages (and group) and alarm.

It can also incorporate a calculator, a simple music player, and a podcasting tool.

But the phone “will never have social media, Internet browsing, email, news, or advertisements,” the company promises.

Light Phone orders have increased significantly during the pandemicas people have a hard time disconnecting at home.

“The problem is still there, if it is worse because we are locked in,” explains co-founder Kaiwei Tang.

Only 50% of Light Phone users use it as their main phone, many use it for the weekend, on vacation or at night, when they want to rest, adds Tang.

reMarkablereMarkableReMarkable is a digital notebook that allows us to digitize notes that we take by hand without added distractions. (Photo: ReMarkable)

And to draft documents, or edit them, reMarkable offers a technological solution … to the notebook.

It looks like a tablet, but it feels like it’s being written on paper. Technology can also convert your handwriting into a text file to send via email.

But because it’s designed to “get you into a productive state,” you can’t surf the Internet, receive emails, or even check the time.

“It is not just a device, but a movement contrary to all that,” says the CEO of the company Magnus Wanberg.

Say what it is “hypocritical” that large technology companies place the responsibility of limiting screen time on userss, when devices and algorithms are designed to be addictive.

“Concentration is the scarcest asset we have now,” he adds.

Woman with computerWoman with computerWork periods with true concentration are “short-lived and hard to come by,” experts say. (Photo: Getty Images)

In-depth work

There is a growing awareness of the importance of not interrupting the “deep work”[onwhichyouaretrulyfocusedsaysProfessorDuncanBrumbyofUniversityCollegeLondon[enelqueestásverdaderamenteconcentradoafirmaelprofesorDuncanBrumbydelUniversityCollegedeLondres

“We know that in-depth work periods are short and hard to come by,” he adds.

“Therefore, you have to take advantage of these periods wisely, and disable notifications during them “.

But while this may be more productive, these work patterns may not be suitable for everyone.

You are at the mercy of your boss“If you don’t respond to calls or emails for long periods of time, says Bruce Daisley, former vice president of Twitter and now an author who writes about face-to-face work culture.

“Virtually all modern work is not optimal for concentration,” he adds.

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