As the world is getting into the second lockdown, increasingly more aspects of our lives are tied to our screens (work, shopping, entertainment, chatting with friends and relatives, flirting, studying — you name it).
We have put together a few lifehacks on how to make your ‘stay at home’ experience more human.
1. Take “movement snacks” to break up from the screen. Rather than doing one long workout a day, do three 10-15 minute periods of movement.
2. Get on “info diet”, and limit your news intake to 10-15 minutes daily, to be taken NOT first thing in the morning and ONLY from professional news sites, not social media, which are optimized to keep you sharing and sharing.
3. Make your social media settings less addictive (check out hacks from a professional UX designer)
4. Do the “Fake Commute”. Go for a walk each morning before starting work, and after finishing your work, as if you were commuting still. Great to clean up your mind and energize the body.
5. Shorten online meetings and encourage your counterparty to use a camera (and use it yourself). Our brain gets more tired when we can’t pick up the reactions of another person and talk to an empty screen.
6. Learn a new skill, whether mental or physical. Pursuing a goal, having structured time and a support group is one of the most luxurious things to have during the pandemic, as one of our graduates puts it. It helps you stay focused on what’s important for you, rather than trying to cope with anxiety by endless scrolling.
Wishing you to make this November human and warm!
Anastasia and the rest of Consciously Digital team
P.S. Speaking of new skills, applications for the next cohort of Consciously Digital 6 months coach training will open soon. You can sign up for the waitlist here to know when we open it, or try full-day coach training fundamentals on the 14th November. Both programs teach you basic coaching skills to help you and others avoid overwhelm and stay more focused in the digital age.
One reason why we quickly get tired in front of computers is that we don't have a chance to express our EMOTIONS or fully read other people's emotions.
Humans have developed emotions as a way to react to the outside environment, this is a primary mechanism that helps us LEARN and allows to COLLABORATE with others. Yes, as much as we'd like to think we are rational, our memorization and collaboration processes are driven largely by emotions.
Already before lockdowns emotions at workplace were dismissed as 'unprofessional' in many cases, but now with not being able to see our co-workers or clients, not being able to pick up what's going on for them, our brain simply doesn't get enough information that it is primed to have. It's UNNATURAL and no wonder it feels difficult.
In one experiment when kids were deprived of their screens just for 5 days, they became much better at recognizing other people's emotions and more compassionate.
How do we create a place for connecting to others when we have to talk to them only online? How do we make sure we make the most of being humans, rather than behaving like computers?
Would love to hear your thoughts on how this can work in the workplace or at schools.
Have your heard of 'zoom fatigue'? With more companies moving to work remotely and employees spending longer hours in front of the screens, it's essential that we find ways to stay productive, focused and ultimately, happy.
Consciously Digital put together key research and questions that every manager should ask themselves to understand, how well their team is prepared for working in the digital age. You can download high-resolution infographics here.
Would you like to know more on how to help people manage their digital habits? Check out our four step template for digital wellbeing coaches.
Have you heard of "digital wellbeing" coaching? As we spend more time than ever with our devices, we may feel overwhelmed, find it hard to focus and no space to actually think. Digital wellbeing is a quickly growing area of coaching that helps people and organisations find ways to "tame" their technology and avoid digital burnout.
In this extract from a workshop Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina, founder of Consciously Digital, TEDx speaker and bestselling author, speaks about career opportunities in digital wellbeing sector and explains what enquiries digital wellbeing coaches deal with.
You can download the report about upcoming professions in digital wellbeing and responsible tech here and find out more info about Consciously Digital Coach Training program here.
When things are unstable, the best thing to do is to slow down and take a mental break, even if you cannot take a proper physical one. Technology increases our speed of lives and perception of time, while slowing down is all about reconnecting with your body needs and natural rhythms.
1. Don’t check your devices/news at the very start of the day. Instead, take time to wake up/stretch/have coffee. It helps to leave your device(s) out of sight in the space, where you won’t normally walk first thing in the morning.
2. Commit to spending at least 1 hour a day in the nature during the weekend walking. Even a short walk in the nature restores our attention and reduces cortisol level.
3. Choose not to eat in front of the screen, and savour the taste of the food or drink instead. Agree with your family on non-screens dinners and find one fresh topic to discuss that is not related to current household situation or negative news.
4. Notice if you are getting rushed or feeling stressed as you use your devices. Is your breath getting more shallow, or do you hold it?This may happen because your brain needs to process to much information or emotions at the same time and isn’t coping. Consider leaving Whatsapp groups you don’t really need to follow or using only one tab instead of multiple ones.
5. Just allow yourself to do less/don't push yourself for some time. It’s essential however that you consciously plan to do what you enjoy (even if the plan is to “do nothing”) when you go on a break. Make sure your time is structured in advance and marked in your calendar, and devices are only used if supporting your plan. Otherwise, you risk to default to keep reading “doomsday” news.
On the same note, fill your time with new experiences - it's the routines that make you feel that time is running fast.
6. Read slowly a good book – 2 pages a day (below some suggested reading). It’s one of the best ways to reduce stress.
Hope you'll have a good break!
Summer reading list on technology and humans:
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.
Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina is a keynote speaker, author of Homo Distractus, professional coach and a pioneer of the Consciously Digital™ concept.