Three Tools to Cope With Digital Overwhelm

In the culture we live in, we are subject to constant stimulation. It can get overwhelming if we lack the proper coping tools. There was a time in my life when I’d have my phone buzzing next to me while working on an important project while hearing the conversation of my co-worker while getting interrupted by my internal triggers to check social media. After hours a day filled with physical and digital stimulation, I experienced Digital Overwhelm. You know, that feeling when you check your inbox after a long vacation. Or the surface when someone picks up their phone during a meaningful conversation.

Digital Overwhelm can creep in and leave a lasting impression of mistrust, miscommunication, anxiety, and fatigue. Below are three ways Digital Overwhelm can affect your life and solutions to help you cope with the constant noise.





Life

You may feel anxiety and fear when you can’t find your phone. At times, we can feel like we need our phones to survive. This feeling is known as Nomophobia, also known as NO Mobile PHone PhoBIA. Nomophobia is a psychological condition when people fear detaching from mobile phone connectivity.

At least once a week, I intentionally leave my phone at home to confront the anxiety and fear of not having my phone. In addition, at least three times a year, I go a few days without a phone or screen.

This time away from our devices can help individuals be more present, productive, and in tune with their natural rhythms.


Solution: Digital Detox

We all have different schedules and needs when it comes to technology. Many individuals use it for both work and recreation. Carefully plan a way of taking a break from your phone. This can be half a day, a weekend, or even a week. In addition, have a firm intention of returning to your digital life. Use the time away to measure how tech fits into your life that is congruent to what brings purpose to your life.


If you want more help preparing, implementing, and evaluating what this looks like in your life, join me for a guided Digital Detox in October of 2022.


Work

Over the past three years, we have spent more time on online meetings than ever before. Forty-five billion minutes of webinars are hosted on Zoom every year.

Because online communication makes it difficult to read some essential information in a conversation, like body language, it takes more of our focus. This way of interaction can be draining and overwhelming. There is a term for this feeling: Zoom Fatigue. Zoom Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness, anxiousness, or worry because of or while on another zoom call.

Do you ever feel that way? I know I do.





Solution: Breaks & Focus

Allot a 10-minute reset break in between meetings. Ten minutes can break up your meetings and allow your mind to process and prepare for your next appointment.

Another easy solution is to avoid multitasking while on a zoom call. I am guilty of being on a zoom call that doesn’t require my participation, checking e-mails or opening a different tab. Research shows that switching tasks can cost you as much as 40 percent of your productive time.

To combat the urge, close any tabs, put away your phone, and take hand-written notes to stay engaged. Those other messages can wait.


Social

Have you ever felt ignored because the person you were speaking with pulled out their phone? Or when you were on your phone when someone was trying to speak to you? This term is called phubbing. Phubbing can lead to disconnection, frustration, and loneliness, especially by someone you love and trust.

Solution: Transparency

Start a conversation by asking a person:

Are you available to speak right now?

Is this a good time to have an uninterrupted conversation?

Can we have a conversation without our phones?


If it happens while in a conversation:

I don’t feel heard or understood when you pick up your phone while we speak.

Is there a better time to talk when we are undistracted?

Are you willing to put your phone away while we speak? This conversation is important to me.




Resources:

https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue#:~:text=Because%20you%20have%20to%20turn%20certain%20parts%20of,as%20well%20as%20their%20more%20singularly%20focused%20peers.


https://backlinko.com/zoom-users


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