As Christmas is literally just around the corner, our thoughts may start to turn to what we’re going to do with all that time off. Whilst many businesses will be closed, or at least operating limited hours, in the Twixtmas period (i.e. that bizarre space of time between Christmas and New Year’s), it’s not always that simple when you’re self-employed.
Those of us who run our own businesses (regardless of industry or size) will often find it difficult to really walk away and switch off. Perhaps, on some levels, there’s nothing entirely wrong with that; however, it can have an impact on us in many different ways. Always having one eye on those emails means that you’re never really present during the festive period … which is never a good thing when it comes to family relationships!
How much time do you spend glued to tech?
It’s a simple enough question, yet somehow the vast majority of us seem unable to really grasp how much time we spend on our phones, tablets or laptops each day.
According to research conducted last year, we spend an average of four hours, per day, attached to our various devices. Whilst some of that time might have been spent on productive activities, such as checking emails or returning calls, the vast majority appears to be more distraction based.
One easy way to gauge how much time you’re spending on your smartphone is to use the QualityTime app, which will let you discover your smartphone habits and manage your digital diet. You might realise that those “five minutes” you spent on Facebook, are actually 55 over the course of the day.
Once you know how much you use it, you can start to lose it
Knowing how much time you really spend on your phone can be a great way to shock you in to doing something about it. The Christmas period is a perfect time to try and redress the balance, and focus on more important, and immediate, things.
The key here is to switch off your notifications. Even hearing the occasional ping is enough to move your attention away from whatever you were focussing on – so turn them off, or put your phone on silent. Even better, put your phone out of sight, so you don’t feel the constant need to check it for updates.
Another great tip is to plan days that don’t focus on using tech. If you’re going for a walk or run, don’t use Spotify on your phone. You know if you do, you’re going to get drawn in to checking on your other apps and down that path lies the loss of another 55 minutes!
It’s not too late to ask for a new digital camera for under the tree either. This way you can still take all the photos you want, but won’t feel compelled to be on your phone the whole time, distracted yet again by all those lovely notifications.
Another great way to reduce any form of screen time is to ditch the games consoles and go old school. Yes, computer games can be great fun, and they certainly have their place in family life – but do they foster that sense of togetherness we all crave during the Christmas period? Of course, it’s easy to argue that a never-ending game of tense Monopoly may do little for familial relationships, but each to their own.
Do you plan to have a tech-free Christmas? Or are you relying on the distractions to get you through?