Controlling technology: Three Tips to Conquering "TechnoStress"

by Camille Preston

Controlling the technology we use is increasingly difficult, given how pervasive it has become in our lives. We all get TechnoStressed at some point. You know, that stress of too much technology, too often—too many e-mails or texts or tweets or just too many channels, gadgets, and options.

I was on a plane recently, and as my fellow travelers and I packed up our various gadgets (iPads, iPods, iPhones, BlackBerrys, Nooks, Kindles, laptops, etc.), one joked to his seatmate, “Where would we be without all our technology?” His soured and weary travel companion replied, “A lot less stressed and probably a lot happier.” Gulp. Is he right?

All this technology is designed to support us, and yet it is leaving many of us drained, exhausted, and unfulfilled. I recently read an article about 17-year-olds voluntarily opting out of Facebook because they were unable to manage the stress. All around I hear laments of e-mail overload, from students to clients to my 76- and 82-year-old parents. TechnoStress is real.

Controlling technology usage should be easy. After all, we choose how to use, interact, and respond to it, right? Well, we should. It is up to use to control it, not the other way around. So, here are three simple ways to help you control technology usage, so you can get a grip on technostress:

1. Find a special spot for your devices. When you get home, set them aside, altogether in one place.

2. Resist the urge to check your e-mail constantly. Disable the reception ping or icon, and schedule time to check and respond to e-mails. Every time e-mail interrupts you, it costs you time, money, focus, and brainpower. And get off unnecessary e-mail lists.

3. Create a want-to-do list. As opposed to a regular to-do list, a want-to-do list will help you think beyond the gadget in your hand and the work you have to do.

Getting a grip on TechnoStress is imperative in order to function fully in the world, to be purposefully productive, and to have room for happiness, joy, and meaning.

About the author: Camille Preston is the founder and CEO of AIM Leadership, an organizational development company committed to developing powerful, authentic leaders. She is the author of Rewired: How to Work Smarter, Live Better, and Be Purposefully Productive in an Overwired World. She is a psychologist, executive coach, writer, facilitator, and highly sought-after public speaker. For more than twenty years, she has guided leaders, executives, policy makers, professionals, and individuals alike to new heights of leadership, performance, efficiency, and greater happiness and fulfillment.

AIM is one of the country’s premier leadership development firms with a dozen associates and hundreds of blue chip, Fortune 500, government, nonprofit, and private clients around the globe, including NBC, Zappos, MGM Mirage, Citrix, the Corporate Executive Board, Mars, Verizon, GE, Capitol One, the US Army, and others.


Procurement Books said...

I for one admit to having TechnoStress. As an online worker, I need to check e-mails and social networks all the time. It's a habit already even if I have nothing to do for the day. I guess I have to know my limits because it IS becoming stressful. Thank you for the reminder! Great post!

joy@women entrepreneur confidence said...

I neither, every morning I woke up the first thing I would do is be in front of my computer, working and surfing. These tips were really needed especially for us online workers.

Deb Bailey said...

Procurement Books - email and social media can take over our time if we're not careful. You're right - it becomes a habit and it's hard to break! Thanks for your comments!

Deb Bailey said...

Joy - I also log on to my computer before I do anything else (other than having coffee). It can be a challenge because we're online for business. Glad you enjoyed the tips!

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