3 Ways Tech is Causing Stress While You’re Working Online
The impact of tech on the wellbeing of online business owners, remote workers or virtual teams
The impact of tech during the global pandemic has been unprecedented. I’m not going to talk to you about the future. The future is happening now. Thanks to the pandemic, there have been two years of tech growth in two months as more people are now using tech for an everyday thing from ordering food, working in teams, homeschooling children and keeping up to date with family and friends. This is our new normal.
Does technology hinder your mental health by introducing more distractions and stress in your online business?
I will focus on the accelerated use of technology and on good tech vs bad tech. Personally, I believe that not all tech usage is created equal. I can say for sure that technology impacts our mental health; you can see this in just how much more stressed out we are today.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared stress a worldwide pandemic. (World Economic Forum: 2020).
So, what is it about technology that is making many of us anxious and stressed? Especially when we operate by working online, virtually and remotely? It is like a double whammy! I need to be online and plugged in for most of my day. It is how I work, make money and how I pay my bills.
I advocate that online business owners, virtual and remote workers need to have the right tools in their digital wellness toolbelt to address how tech adds stress to working online.
Stress is the perception that we do not have enough resources to accomplish our responsibilities.
It is becoming more evident that tech has become one of the leading causes of anxiety. I want to reflect on how tech and stress correlate and impact our mental health when we are on the internet, social media, or smartphones as online business owners, remote workers and virtual teams.
🤯Internet = Information Overload
There’s no denying that the internet has been one of the greatest inventions ever made and is one of society’s most influential forces in human history thus far. The power of the internet has allowed us to have unprecedented access to news, knowledge, and entertainment from all around the world.
As an online business owner who works with remote clients and teams, the internet is where I conduct my business and where the very problem of digital wellness lies.
Albert Einstein said, “Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it.”
We have so many ways to find our information that it is now a curse. This overwhelming access to information has led to something called digital information overload. The human brain is unable to handle the high influx of information we pump into it.
What does digital information overload do for a business owner?
- Less focus because you are task switching from writing to project management tool pings, to email overload.
- Too much multitasking from consuming and creating online leads to more errors.
- Longer hours online lead to physical problems from severe dry eyes, headaches to email apnea (the process whereby you hold your breath when you open an email).
- Decision fatigue from too many choices or too many options to choose from.
- Lack of ability to manage information, store it or do anything useful with it.
- Decreased attention span as our brains grow accustomed to overstimulation and we start looking for things that are “new”, also called “shiny object syndrome”.
Our brains are not hardwired like the internet and when overload is chronic, we live in a state of unresolved stress. We become anxious that we can’t meet ongoing demands to process more information.
📝Recovery tip: When you work online, remotely or virtually for work, be mindful to seek non-electronic stimulating activities.
🚨Social Media = Use With Caution
If you’re getting sucked into social media, then social media is doing its job. These platforms are designed to prompt a hit of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine to hook users while engaged. I know this too well, as I am a digital marketer by profession and social media is the gateway to how I help my clients grow and scale their business online. I guess that it may be the very reason that you, too, may use it in your business.
Social media is a glorious tool when used with caution. It was invented with the sole purpose to be a way for us to stay connected with friends and family, to foster meaningful discussions, and to keep on top of this rapidly globalized world.
If only social media was able to stay true to this original plan but what we see today is quite the opposite. The harmful effects of social media could look like…
- Experiencing a negative mood shift thanks to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which is the emotional response to a lack of connection with the latest activities or information.
- Feeling envious after seeing the highlights of a competitor having a 6-figure launch, speaking on stages or being booked out which can lead to feelings of depression.
- Loss of trust when social media content is misleading or sensationalist also known as clickbait.
- Dissatisfaction and lack of progress due to the constant search for a silver bullet to a problem because there is surely a tool or “an app for that.”
Yes, it is great that social media allows us to connect with our clients, customers and teams online and many social opportunities that weren’t possible before. Recognize your compulsion to apps and your screen time.
📝Recovery tip: Start taking stock of how social media makes you feel. Do you feel better? Or do you feel worse? Once you start being mindful of this, you can start using it more to make you ‘better’ and less of the ‘worse.’
📴Smartphones = Fun But Addictive
Our world assumes that we are using smartphones and that we keep them constantly accessible. If the smartphone allows the internet to fit into our pockets, so does our client work. Today we are just one tap away from viewing another client email, visiting a sales page, messaging a team member, or sending a text about what is for dinner tonight.
If we were asked to give them up for even a day, I doubt many of us would be able to without feeling that itch. This is called nomophobia, the fear of being without your phone. Yes, it is a very, very real thing! From GenZ to Millenials, from parents to online bsuiness owners. The struggle is real.
We are more connected now than ever because of our smartphones, but what may come up for us is:
- Being inundated with app notification, messages, pings and dings that keep us occupied.
- An involuntary need to check our smartphones, even if we have zero notifications.
- Doomscrolling when we’re tired, can’t sleep or feeling anxious. It’s the tendency to scroll or swipe through bad news, even though it is saddening, disheartening, or depressing.
- Losing track of time as our scrolling and checking quickly eat up hours, and this hefty cell phone usage increases in sleep disorders and depressive symptoms.
- Decreased self-esteem as we are more attracted to materialism and social comparison, both of which play a major factor in our feelings of value and worth.
Screen time does not have to win the battle we have with our smartphones. We need to explore further how we can use our smartphones in a healthy way- a simple act of taking off notifications will do wonders for managing stress levels and limiting distractions or charging your phone out of the bedroom. At the same time, you sleep ways to break our dependency on your smartphones.
📝Recovery tip: Give yourself off-hours where you turn off notifications, turn off data, leave the phone in another room, or shut it off completely.
How do you want to safeguard your mental health in this rapidly advancing tech era?
The solution isn’t to avoid the internet, social media, or smartphones. If we’re honest with ourselves, we want to embrace these revolutionary tools that help us do what we do in our work online. However, we need to be more aware of their inherent perils. Take time to reflect on your tech usage, both personal and for business.
📝Ask your peers if they have felt stress from tech from the internet, social media or smartphone usage in their business online before. I know I have, have you?
💡Learn more about creating your Digital Wellness journey with the Digital Wellness Collective that exists to equip leaders and changemakers with tools to assess and address digital wellness.
Originally posted on Grad Blogger