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How These Tech Giants Became Instantly More Productive

Above all else, the effects that come from new technological advances and living in the internet age is empowerment: the ability to consolidate processes, do more of the things that matter, and have more control over your time. The reality of that however can sometimes differ. Instead, people have found themselves arrested to the very devices that were supposed to free them up; torn between multiple projects and points of interest creating a tension between phone/life balance.

As a result, burnout has become a fact of life, more-so for some key occupations than ever before. Writing for Forbes, Lisa M. Gerry highlighted the dangers:

“Several years ago, I started a job that, for all intents and purposes, was my dream job. Looking back, it’s obvious that my lifestyle wasn’t sustainable. But back then, I wore my workaholism like a badge of honor. The way I saw it, I had an awesome job and would work as hard as it took to do well.

As time went by, any semblance of a balanced life went out the window. I had no energy or desire to hang out with my friends, I was neglecting my health and I had become disillusioned with my work. There wasn’t one single catalyst—it wasn’t that I stopped liking the kind of work I did, generally speaking. Instead, it was a classic case of burnout: multiple, chronic stressors over an extended period of time left me totally drained and no longer performing at my best.”

To combat burnout and restore things to a healthier work/life balance, many individuals are choosing to unplug, shedding distractions for even short bursts of time to allow room for other activities – and what they’ve discovered is revelatory.

The Benefits of Unplugging

LifeHacker’s Patrick Allen discovered a number of benefits to unplugging when he spent a week in a remote part of Montana. While he still clocked his normal hours of work, he kept his use of technology restricted exclusively to work, refraining from games, TV, music and the like. He outlined several of the benefits he discovered, including sleeping better, having more time to think, not feeling as rushed and generally enjoying the benefits of segregating work and personal life.

Jeff Goins, author of four books, had a similar experience when traveling on a family vacation to Ireland. Being without his iPhone or computer for nine days resulted in him having a newfound appreciation of his surroundings, with a renewed sense of creativity and inspiration.

In both of these cases, Mr. Allen and Mr. Goins returned to their lives and schedules rejuvenated from their technological sabbatical.

How to Do It

Not everyone has the ability to spend a week in some remote part of Montana, or nine days in Ireland. So how can the average person reap similar benefits? Writing for The New York Times’ Bits, Nick Bilton has these suggestions:

• “Set up gadget-free zones in your home — maybe the bedroom or kitchen table, or both. In those settings, make it a strict rule that there are no smartphones, tablets or laptops allowed.
• While a lot of people want to take a break from their devices, they now rely on them for listening to music, taking photos or jotting down notes. If that’s the case, switch your gadget to “airplane mode,” which turns off the wireless data connections, when you need a break. That way you can still use your device for capturing and creating information, but you won’t be prodded by texts, tweets or e-mails.
• Follow in the footsteps of Evan Sharp, co-founder of Pinterest, and his wife, who go on long drives together until their cell signal drops out. On a weekend, use a cell coverage map and find a place that has a dead zone, then go there for a drive and a stroll.”

You can also look into downloading helpful apps, like Freedom, that will block web-surfing on your device for up to 8 hours at a time.

Modern life, and the gadgets that power them, can be valuable tools. When those tools get out of hand and start to dictate our time however, the results can be disastrous. Taking a few simple steps to keep technology in check can have a profoundly positive impact, resulting in a better work/life balance and reducing the risk of burnout.

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About Curt Finch

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Journyx is not your average software company. We strive to be relentlessly creative and to build tools that help you spend your time on things that matter. After all, time is all we have. Founded in 1996, Journyx offers customers two solutions to reach the highest levels of…