As adults, and especially as business owners, we need to be mindful of the amount of screen time we consume. If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably stare at screens all day. In fact, our modern-day lives call for an unavoidable amount of time on screen-based interactions.
Unfortunately, we’ve been told to get the next sale or client, we can’t skip a day on our screens. Yet, our mental health needs to be at the forefront of our minds as we approach handling business or life in general.
Today, we’ll dive into how too much screen time can not only affect you in your personal life, but also your business.
Just how much time is too much?
We’re all aware of the effects of too much screen time for kids, but have we ever considered what it could be for us adults? With many small businesses requiring hours spent in front of a computer, along with most of our free time spent streaming shows on television, it’s no shocker of what our eyes have been going through.
Since the pandemic alone we’ve spent an extra on the internet, and of that 50% of that was us engaging on social media just in 2020.
Our screen time has been affecting our businesses more than we think… A couple of years ago we as a population were averaging around 11 hours a day of screen time. Since the Pandemic, we’ve gone up to an alarming 19 hours and this does not include children.
I know, I know, it’s quite scary to hear that about 30% of adults state they’re consistently online. To make matters worse, in 2020, a study concluded that young people who spend seven hours or more a day interacting with screens are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety as those who use screens more moderately.
When I had just started working full time, I was with a very demanding company (thankfully, not anymore). I was afraid that if I didn’t work overtime I would lose my job. So I used to stay late on top of my 8 hour shift and I stared at my screen for an average of 9–10 hours a day.
I was stressed, tired and eventually my eyesight decreased… Yup, something new entered my life that I never thought I would need: glasses.
Moral of my story? Your business is valuable and needed. Yes, you’ll need to be online for your website tractions and to connect with other businesses and customers, but if you are glued to the screen the chances of your mental and physical health being well balanced is low.
Take a moment and think, if your health decreases, how successful would your online store be in 2 years from now? What about your website you just started up? How about your social media presence? Would you be able to maintain any of those long-term?
Now, here at Bookmark, we want to be clear. We will always place your physical and mental health above anything else. With that being said, let us help you spend less time on your screens and more time building/running your business. Don’t hesitate to click here to learn how we can lend our hand for your small business needs.
So, what are the negative effects of too much screen time?
The amount of screen time we’ve taken over the years has increased negatively and affected our mental state. Here are a couple of ways we can see this happening:
Insomnia and Poor Sleep
The light from screens signals your brain to stay awake, and that constant input throughout the day can make it challenging to unwind at night. People who are sleep deprived are also more likely to make errors and omissions, partially due to increased reaction times.
It’s been also proven flicking through Instagram for example, can lead to a dopamine spike that dwells in the body’s ability to sleep. Lack of sleep causes your business to suffer. While it may seem counterproductive, cutting down on screen time can actually increase your business sales and run more smoothly.
Eye Strain and Headaches
This takes me back to my story. Too many hours of screen time can cause fatigue or discomfort in your eyes and even dim our vision. Eventually, this strain can lead to headaches.
Social media and smartphones haven’t been here for many decades and yet the impacts they have on the human brain are still being discovered. Unfortunately, we’ve seen addictive behaviors that have risen when someone is away from their phones or laptops.
This can be seen in their mood, attitude and reaction to day-to-day things. This can cause one to have increased anxiety when their internet is not working fast enough. We can also see they may have trouble meeting deadlines. This is the perfect recipe for procrastination.
Neck, Shoulder and Back Pain
The way we by default sit and stay in compromising positions can negatively affect our bodies physically. When these positions are held for extended amounts of time, it can lead to pain and sometimes more severe musculoskeletal issues over time. For example some people have neck or leg braces due to their work online.
Changes in Cognition
A 2020 study found that people who have been diagnosed with smartphone addiction had problems with the part of their brain responsible for transmitting messages and poorer cognitive performances.
This is a major issue even in the newer generations that have a lack of social skills because everything and everyone is online.
Reduced Physical Activity Levels
We as a people have found it more convenient to be on our phones/social devices than the past generations would spend being physically active. For example, taking walks, working in a garden, playing sports, working on projects, etc.
A lack of physical movement in one’s lifestyle is directly linked to an increased risk of obesity and other physical health problems.
Ways to minimize too much screen time
There are many ways screen time can and have been affecting you and your productivity when it comes to your business. We’ve listed quite a few but we’d be wrong to leave you hanging out on any solutions.
We’ve come to the conclusion of just a few to start out with. It’s important to note, that drastic changes aren’t exactly always necessary, but little by little you’ll be able to see and feel a healthier change:
- Take a quick standing stretch break every hour
- Learn a few “chair yoga” stretches to keep muscles loose
- Pay more attention to your posture
- Don’t eat in front of a screen
Note how long you spend on electronic devices and replace some of that with physical activity and social interaction.
Other ways to fight back…
Remove distracting Apps
We all have those apps we keep on our phone or laptop just to pass time. Crazy right?
With many of us going between multiple devices, make sure each serves its purpose correctly. You want to have control over your device, never your device taking over you.
Which leads to…
How many apps do you have that all have notifications coming at you? Removing apps that have zero business purpose is a fantastic start, but it’s only the beginning.
No doubt, your devices grab your attention when the notification is business-related. However, not all messages are urgent.
If you had the chance to read on our recent blog How to Reset Your Brain After a Long Day, we touched on the importance of turning off your push notifications and even going as far as having your phone set to DND when needed. This minimizes what you’re feeding into, especially if it’s not work related.
Make sure you’re using your screen time wisely
Whenever you use a digital screen, make sure you’re employing it to accomplish a goal. The whole point of the internet is to allow us to get to our research or get to do our job in efficiency, never to waste our time.
It’s here to help improve our workmen skills, never diminish them.
Lastly, take breaks
The American Optometric Association recommends the 20–20–20 rule; every 20 minutes you spend staring at a screen, take a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away to give your eyes a break.
Even the busiest entrepreneurs can make space for 20 seconds here and there.
We want to make it clear again, that your health is what is most important and it should be valued by you as a small business owner as well.
Never feel pressured to stay online when you are sleep deprived. Don’t allow for pressure or other mental health matters to weigh down your business because of what society says a small business owner should be doing. The “24/7 Grind” mindset is a facade.
Let’s stop normalizing being overworked and burnt out. Get your extra rest, take as many breaks as you’ll need to be productive, and stop condoning your procrastination. If you’re about your business, be there. Be committed to making a healthier change.
And don’t forget, Bookmark.com is here to ease the load and help you become the successful entrepreneur that we know you are!
Our main goal is to help you spend less time running your website and or in front of screens, and more time running your business and life.
Check back here next week for another informational blog on all things business, ecommerce, and small business tips!
Originally published at https://www.bookmark.com on October 19, 2021.