Tech-life balance is about living on our own terms, making conscious choices about our screen use, and not just wasting hours on mindless scrolling. Rather, since time is all we really have, I suggest examining our values and how our Internet time fits into our overall lives—and then choosing what we really want to spend our time on.
Balancing our technology use is necessary in our ever-connected world. Average use of screens in the U.S. is pushing 5-6 hours a day, and even more for some.
Perhaps the most harmful effects of too much tech is how much time it steals from other aspects of living, which creates imbalance in our lives. It’s this imbalance that causes issues like Internet addiction in some cases, and for many of us, sleep deprivation, increased stress, negatively impacted academic and work performance, and problems with our friends and family relationships. Spending just three hours a day on screens is equivalent to us having spent 10 years of our lives on screens if we live to be 80, and if we spend six hours a day—that becomes a quarter of our life spent, or 20 years spent on our screens.
Why do we like screens so much?
We use screens for many reasons, sometimes it’s for fun or to combat boredom, and other times it is to avoid tasks and other life challenges. Research shows that about 80 percent of the time we spend on our devices is NOT for work or academics—but rather for infotainment. Screen use can be an automatic response to distract ourselves, boost our mood or combat even just a moment of boredom—for which we have little tolerance.
Another significant impact of excessive screen time can be reduced motivation and decreased mood; this is called reward deficiency syndrome and it happens as a result of using intoxicating substances or behaviors that leave our brain functionally depleted of the ability to experience low-tech pleasures. In short, life becomes flat and uninteresting compared to the fast changing and entertaining stimulation of the Internet.
What can we do?
Create a more sustainable and mindful use of our Internet and screen time and develop a plan that is built around what we hold important in our lives. Adjust our tech time around our true goals and values, not adjust our lives to the time we have left over after our screen use.
Changing our screen habits may be difficult to do because the Internet can be so addictive. Also, most of us have a hard time keeping track of time when we are on the Internet, so we will need to really pay attention to our time online.
We can change our screen habits and delete some of the empty digital calories (and hours) we presently value and hold so dear, but that give us very little in return.
We do not need to completely take away something fun, educational or constructive, but rather remind ourselves that our brains can easily become hijacked by this time-sucking technology and it’s only by conscious use that we can relegate our technology into its proper place in our lives.
For more information on how the Greenfield Recovery Center can help you or your loved one with their technology addiction, call us today or complete our contact form.