Is technology an example of having too much of a good thing? In some cases, yes, and science agrees. Excessive screen time has been linked to conditions from eyestrain to stress. Then there’s productivity. Distractions that promote procrastination, from social media to streaming videos, keep us tethered to technology all day long. While we think those constant checks of our email, texts, news updates and posts are productive, they’re not. They are just making our workday busier.
While a digital detox for your practice is not practical (we need digital refractors, OCTs, retinal cameras, EMR, practice management systems, etc.), it does make sense to take breaks from non-essential, personal tech during the day (we’re talking smartphones, tablets and desktop screens). After all, you’re constantly counseling your patients about the dangers of digital eyestrain and sharing the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds). Of course you want to practice what you preach.
Aside from reducing eyestrain, a break will boost productivity. A recent study of workers going a week without email delivered some interesting results. To no one’s surprise, the participants initially reported anxiety, but then they calmly coped with their new situation. They walked to a coworker’s desk instead of sending an email, and they reported being more focused when they were at their desks working.
What about the week’s worth of unread email? The participants approached their in-boxes with the same laser focus they gave to their uninterrupted work. What’s more, they reported it was easier to deal with chunks of email at one time than throughout the day.
Chunking, as it’s called in productivity circles, is not new. But it’s hard to employ in today’s fast-paced information-driven world. This small shift in how you approach technology can shift your day making it more productive”¦and possibly even less stressful.
Joanne Van Zuidam | Editor-In-Chief