Make Technology Work for You, Not Against You!

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Whether you work in a crowded office or from home, you have no doubt experienced that pull of technology. Studies have shown that as women, we are actually often more annoyed than men by constant changes in technology. With the New Year, it’s time to find ways to de-stress our technological atmosphere.

First of all, remember that the nagging need to check Facebook, Twitter, a text or to make sure you didn’t miss an important email does not have to alter your entire day. Make your iPad, netbook and smartphone work for you by setting your own limits.

Researchers have found that when people unplug for 24 hours, they experience physical and mental symptoms of distress. So how do you do it, when you feel the urge to check your cell phone the first thing in the morning and as you close your eyes to go to sleep?

Try some of these ideas. Get moving! Go for a walk, sans cell phone. Breathe in and out and it will be there when you get back. Write a handwritten note to your best friend with a ballpoint pen. Not a tablet.
Take a nap during the day, or get lost in your own city without using Google maps. Instead of checking that cell, ENJOY your morning cup of coffee. That’s a simple start.

Try a yoga move, or take an art class to unleash your creativity. You can’t hold the tablet or cell while painting. Another way to unplug is by using one of your grandmother’s handwritten recipes, instead of looking a recipe up online. It’s a cleansing feeling.

Read a book–one with actual paper pages. Or take a bath, tech free for a few minutes. Try decluttering that closet and keeping your space clear, while simply listening to music.

De-stress for a few moments through a day by hosting a phone-free party, where everyone brings a potluck dish but leaves their phones off. You could even play a board game.

While many of us feel overwhelmed by all the technological changes, it’s comforting to know that technology actually drives our global economy. But this shouldn’t scare us.

Why can’t technology actually work as a tool to enable, not disable, our business? Our own minds are in control of the technology we choose, and while it may not be perfect, it can provide tangible benefits if leveraged correctly. It’s when companies adopt technology without a clear strategy that problems can occur. Proper training on policies can help.

Yes, new technology represents change, and we all know change impacts productivity, but most of us are rational people who can adjust if we feel our lives are better for it. Focusing on technological solutions that yield the greatest value for our investment is key to making our computers and multiple other devices work the way we want them to.

Companies that make good use of relevant technological innovations can improve and revolutionize the workplace, minimizing stress in some ways. For instance, new technology has made it easier to telecommute than ever before. Collaboration is essential to business even when everyone is not working just across in the next cubicle. Free applications such as Google’s cloud-based suite of products allow staff members working from remote locations to collaborate and share documents easily.

Businesses are wise to make sure traveling employees stay equipped with up-to-date mobile devices and the support solutions to keep them connected. If you’re a business owner, make a careful assessment of your company’s greatest productivity challenges. For instance, dealing with slow or obsolete hardware and software can slow down even the most productive employee. It’s possible to lengthen the lifespan of older desktop computers by virtualizing operating systems on offsite servers. Working with expert information technology specialists can help keep everyone focused on the job.

Social media and all of its associated applications are simply new and powerful tools that can help you achieve higher levels of productive collaboration and increased workplace engagement. But don’t fall into the FOMO malady, the fear of missing out! I have taken a break from Facebook at times when I began to be envious of my girlfriends who always seem to be smiling from a beach somewhere.

The pace of innovation will not slow anytime soon. It’s up to us to keep our napkins beside our plates instead of our cell phones, and to come up with our own way of keeping up to date. Use your creativity, and perhaps some trial and error, in creating a plan that works with your own cell or smartphone, your own laptop or tablet, and your own car.

And let’s make 2016 the year we all succeed beyond our wildest dreams! HLM

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