Technology Switch off

by Becca Gravell

December 17, 2018

I’m sat here on my morning train reading a recent article in the Independent that states 54% of workers now regularly spend their commute engrossed in work on their phone or laptop[1]. Uh oh – I’ve become a statistic.

It’s made me think and  I’m not quite sure where the pressure or need to use my travel time for work stuff has come from. I, for one, am certainly aware of how important a work-life balance is and strive hard to achieve this. I don’t feel pressure from my organisation to do this. I don’t feel my workload is unrealistic, yet I still feel tempted to check my emails on the way to and from work. But Why?

Well, the abundance of technology and services that enable us to access technology have filled the void where boredom would have been. Until the 1970s, sociologists and economists were predicting that the biggest challenge of the future would be boredom[2]. As it turns out, quite the opposite is true.

We are addicted to being stimulated and instantly gratified. Which means the way we view our time off and leisure has changed. We are constantly looking for something to fill our time and have become obsessed with maximising every minute we get. No longer is it acceptable to sit and do nothing. You must be productive or be seen to be productive.

Although feeling bored can be classed as a negative feeling. Giving yourself permission to feel this can be nice. Giving yourself permission to daydream about life or to people watch on the train can be empowering. The festive period is a time to relax and forget about work. Try not to replace your days with intense activities or back to back socialising.

It’s ok to do nothing. It’s ok to turn off your work phone. So, my challenge to you during this time is to appreciate the ‘joy of missing out’ (JOMO) as opposed to the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO). We all know those roast dinners pictures on Facebook all look the same anyway!