I had a few conversations lately to understand, where we are pivoting as a society. While still unclear on many, I want to share some trends that are obvious.
1. Technology for wellbeing takes over
While pre-corona we spoke about tech life balance, now the discussion is shifting towards tech to control tech. Although digital wellbeing has gone mainstream, I haven't seen truly innovative solutions in this space over 5 years rather than “control your emails less often”.
Instead, this space is now increasingly taken by tech solutions to monitor and ensure well-being (whether those solve the problem, is a different question).
2. Increase of surveillance technology on all levels, incl. workplace
Related to the above. Large companies are now looking for solutions to be able to check and control physical and emotional wellbeing of their employees. HR use apps to ask employees about their temperature, symptoms etc. to be able to quickly prevent the spread of the virus.
3. Out of city communities/buying land
I notice trends both in investing in land in remote corners “just in case”, and in creating self-sustainable community with like-minded people. Mostly it's people who already are established professionals either able to work remotely for a company, or running their own business. They are still undecided though, as they appreciate the opportunity of being close enough to the city and where things are happening, and will likely be choosing to live in proximity of 1 hour.
Which trends are you noticing?
Linkedin seems to be rolling out addictive "engagement" design features. For a few days in a row I get a red sign under notifications, but when I click on it I get a message "You're all caught up! Discover new conversations in your network". Yesterday a person on my network noticed, how Linkedin is encouraging her to tag someone in the post to "increase engagement".
In this short video the students of Consciously Digital Coach Training course explain, why addictive design is bad for our attention and disrespectful to the company users.
We get asked a lot lately by parents, how much screen time is too much for their children, and whether the rules should be changed during confinement. There's no simple answer, but I wanted to share what we see, having analysed multiple research articles and worked with hundreds of parents:
1. Not all screen time is equal. Entertainment should be limited and controlled, online schooling best limited, Facetime with families can be more flexible. Remember that communication can also happen via voice, not necessarily looking at the screen.
2. Not all children are the same (surprise!) - if your child is more irritable, gets tantrums etc after using screens, it's the case of limiting them (or specific activities causing them).
3. Screen time is not a problem per se; the problem is when it replaces other things. For example, children need to move a lot, much more than adults. If instead they are sitting down all day with their devices, you may expect problems.
4. Putting children behind the screens is NOT the only way for parents to get some work done. It works short-term, but will backfire long-term. Strategies as independent play, which you can teach a child of any age, will be more productive.
That's a very short version, and if you'd like to have some research-based guidelines, we've put together a few links here.
How do you manage screen time for your children?
Consciously Digital coaches are offering 2 pro-bono individual coaching sessions per person for all those in need because of #coronavirus.
Typical questions people would come to us to be coached on:
- Feeling anxious/stressed when reading online news and social media
- Spending more time than ever in front of the screen and feeling physical and emotional consequences
- Unable to concentrate when working from home
- Creating digital boundaries for kids when they are at home
So basically anything that has to do with your digital habits and coping with the current flow of (mis)information and negativity and staying safe.
Leave your contact details here.
PS Please, note this is not an opportunity for corporates to get something that costs money free of charge, but rather an offer for people in real need who are affected by situation and wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise, so kindly respect it! (if you are a corporate and are worried about wellbeing of your employess under current challenging conditions, ping us and we'll be happy to share what we can do to help your workforce lower stress and stay focused at very reasonable prices)
This is an extract from a webinar by Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina about social media, fake news and loneliness in the pandemic times. The whole webinar is available here.
What if this whole mess we’re living through these days is a blessing? How different would your behavior be?
Before you start throwing tomatoes at me, please read on.
Yes, economy is shaky and our incomes are shrinking (my live speaking gigs have been postponed until September at least), we are endlessly worried about close ones, sitting at home is not much fun, especially if you are a parent… and yet, what if you tried to make lemonade out of these lemons?
We have a unique, perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to:
What are we doing instead?
I have a solution (you won’t like it, but it works).
Ask yourself this simple question: how could you use the current situation to thrive, not just survive?
It’s the times when things can change very fast, for good and for bad. How can you use this opportunity to take care of yourself more? To make your business more resilient and innovative? You have only a few weeks to do that.
The nature is already cleaning itself after a few days of reduced human intervention. The air above the cities has never been better in decades. Open your windows, and let’s also use this opportunity to clean ourselves. Wishing everyone to stay healthy, physically and mentally.
If you want tips on managing your digital habits, check out our upcoming events.
PS my additional practical tips to maintain sanity: establish a strict daily routine, stand up from your computer and stretch every hour, batch checking your emails and whatsapp notifications (do NOT keep your phone in the same room), do at least 30 minutes of physical exercise daily, keep your windows open as much as possible, do more things with your hands as this keeps you grounded, reduce alcohol and worrying as both impact your immune system
There is a physical #coronavirus, but there is an even more powerful virus of misinformation and panic being spread via social media. And the latter is far more dangerous, since stress actually undermines your immune system.
So please, make sure that you are protecting yourself and your close ones from both these days. A few simple tips of how to do it:
1. Choose 1-2 credible sources of information, stop reading everything on social media (I'd say, stop reading social media altogether, but that's unlikely to happen)
2. Make sure you first check whatever you are sharing, as there is lot of information out there. Will take you 5 extra seconds to google it.
3. Focus on things you can control, and how you can help real people. Maybe ordering something for elder relatives online, or scheduling support calls, whatever it is.
Everyone, stay mentally healthy, it's as important as your physical health. We'll be adding more tips and explaining how 'social media viruses' get spread in the next few days here.
This is an unusual 'coronavirus' update with tips of how to stay sane when the world is going crazy from us at Consciously Digital.
1. Time to limit your social media consumption to only essential
Honestly, you aren't staying more informed by reading yet another 1000 tweets about the disease or plummeting stock market. Emotions are as contagious as viruses, so don't fall victim of the panic. Have one quality source of info that you read daily, the rest of the time focus on what you can do here and now.
2. If asked to work remotely, do it in a human way
We've put together recommendations on how to work from home in a human way. In short, prioritize your focus and actually take advantage of the situation. Also heads up that Consciously Digital offers guided online Focus Sessions for everyone who needs to work remotely and finds it tricky - perhaps something interesting for your team/company?
3. Focus on doing things with your hands, breathing and physical exercise
All of the above helps you ground your body and feel more control over your life. Also, talk about your concerns with close people and ideally touch them and get them touch you - human touch helps release oxytocine, the hormone of trust and bonding that relieves stress (works even through a glove) :).
Hopefully you are staying healthy, your fridge is fully stocked, and your sense of humour is abundant - because this is the best human weapon that we have:))
PS We've put together a virtual talk and conference about loneliness, social media and connections in the digital world. We're trying out a new format, a blend of a talk and online networking, because we want a more human way to use tech. So please join us on the 27th March (Friday).
Our physical events around the world are still going ahead. Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich) are happening in April, full schedule here. See you around!
Remote working is on the rise, and corona virus crisis is fueling it. We’ve put together 5 tips on how to make your remote working more human.
Physically, tell your household members if any that you aren’t available to reply to any queries during work, as if you weren’t around. Ideally work behind closed doors, and go out when you need to take the break. Same principle valid for doing things at home – you will always find something to do, so make an effort to keep your focus.
2. Take full advantage of remote coworking
Humans can’t be productive 24/7, unlike computers. The good thing about being outside of the office is that you can do something about it. When you feel you are losing productivity, schedule some different activity to refresh yourself, ideally physical. For example, I like to split my day in two, working from 10am to 1pm, and then taking a couple of hours to cook and go for a walk or do sports. This way, in the afternoon I am far more productive. Just make sure that you tell your coworkers when you are available next.
If you are a manager, allow your employees to take full advantage of remote working and don’t chain them to sitting in front of the screens all the time. Being online is not the sign of productivity.
3. Document well everything you do
As information inflow increases, make sure that you and your team has an efficient system in place to capture all actions required and share info. Email is not a tool suitable for this, because when you need to go through 1000 emails to find what you needed to do, it becomes unsustainable pretty quickly. Have a system in place that is easy to access and gets updated without everyone having to send yet another email.
4. Be fully present at the online meetings
Everyone is busy, but when you are doing something else behind the camera, it makes the meeting much longer and less efficient. Make meetings shorter, and be there 100%. It also send a good signal to the person who is speaking: your work is important, and I care, even though we are far away.
5. Have a separate communication channel for irrelevant stuff
A major issue in the digital world is separating important things from noise. The beauty of being human means joking and having irrelevant conversations sometimes. But if you are trying to work, and receiving an email with a funny gif, where 50 people are cc-d, you are pretty much guaranteed to lose your focus for the next 15 minutes, when everyone starts to reply to email. So agree with your co-workers about one channel (slack) or hashtag/email line that can be filtered the way that you will only look at it when you want it, and it doesn’t compete with things that truly require your attention.
Happy remote working in a human way!
PS Consciously Digital organizes guided online Focus Sessions for remote workers. It's a mixture of webinar and coworking, where our trained coach gives you a bit of theory about attention and motivation, and helps you set goals, and afterwards you continue working seeing your colleagues on the screen. If you are working remotely, and think this can be interesting for your company, please get in touch!
Ahead of St Valentine’s Consciously Digital has conducted a survey of 187 users of dating apps and websites in different countries. Our findings show that while online dating is becoming accepted in the society (77.5% of respondents say they won’t have any problems admitting they use these services publicly), it largely doesn’t serve its declared purpose, and users are oblivious to how their data is being used.
At the same time, most users ended up having very few conversations or meetings with people they interacted online with. 22.5% say they have probably got replies or exchanged messages with 1/10 of people they got matched to or wrote to. 77.5% users spoke or exchanged messages less than half of the times they wrote to someone or got matched with them.
Almost a quarter said they managed to get on 1-2 dates throughout using the app/website, while another quarter said they were on more than 10 dates.
In other words, most users are spending considerable time using these services without actually having any real conversations or meetings with real people.
As one of the users explained their experience, “A lot of time spent with very little outcome”. Another said, “Nothing happening. Many just collect matches or love to chat but no more than that.” Even those more optimistic admit it takes a lot of effort: “Meeting interesting people, although need to spend a lot of time to find them”.
On average users rated the ability of the app or website to satisfy their goals as 4.5 out of 10. This is despite of 1/3 of respondents saying they used paid features.
When asked if they’d recommend their younger self to use the app again, 1/3 say they won’t.
3. Users don’t care about online privacy or how their data can be shared
This is probably one of the most shocking discoveries, as almost 48% admitted they didn’t think about their data being leaked or shared with a third party, and 27.5% only a little bit concerned.
4. Self-esteem is not such a big issue as popularly believed
Contrary to the popular concerns, online dating does not affect self-esteem of many users. Almost 2/3 of respondents say their self-esteem has not been changed as a result of using the apps (and approximately the same number consider themselves averagely attractive).
Rather than being concerned by self-esteem issues, which don’t affect that many people, one should be much more concerned by the fact that online dating has become a hobby of its own, where people are spending a lot of time without result, not filling fulfilled, but still keep using the services and sharing their data.
Given a number of investigations about the abuse of data privacy that emerged recently from Norwegian Consumer Council and a number of other organizations, we believe it’s incredibly important to educate the users about what happens with their data, and put pressure on online dating apps to be more transparent around how data is being used, and giving more control over it to the user.
The survey was conducted online among 187 people from 19 countries in January-February 2020 (incl. 34% from UK, 31% Spain, 8% Netherlands, 8% USA). 72% of the surveyed identify their gender as female, 27% male ones, and 1% 'other'. 75% respondents are white, 8% Asian, 6% mixed, 6% latino, 3% Afro-American. 20% of participants are aged 25-29, 25% between 30 and 34, 18% between 35 and 39%.
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Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina is a keynote speaker, author of Homo Distractus, professional coach and a pioneer of the Consciously Digital™ concept.