A term «technology-related mental fatigue» entered our lives relatively recently. This condition can arguably be placed among the top diseases of the modern age by the scale of its destructive effects on human body and potential negative ramifications. How to beat this fatigue? And is it at all possible?
His Majesty Stress has long become an essential attribute of big city life. We got accustomed to considering this condition a temporary problem, but the truth is, stress is extremely dangerous. It reduces work efficiency, weakens the immune system and causes many related diseases. It’s the main underlying cause of depression. Nervous and emotional fatigue developing due to constant physical and psychological overload are among the most dangerous ramifications.
But why is stress so common anyway? Hard to believe, but information is the main culprit. Every day we are buried under heaps of information, totally useless for us for the most part. However, since it’s out there, the brain must process it (even beyond our will) therefore wasting its valuable resources.
Is it possible to avoid technology-related mental fatigue?
Luckily, it is. But we will need to take it step by step. As any disease at an advanced stage, technology-related fatigue requires a comprehensive approach when it comes to treatment, as well as observing all recommendations to the letter.
Step 1: Fighting the stress
Eliminating the underlying cause is the only way to overcome a disease. In this case the root of all evil is the condition of permanent stress that you need to get away from. Here’s what you can use against it:
— good quality sleep to help your body restore itself. Keep in mind that the average person needs 8-10 hours of sleep;
— proper rest — just as important as quality sleep. It’s so valuable because the brain switches from the working (thinking) state. It goes without saying that the best kind of rest is physical activity, the opposite of brain work. However, when you make the time for rest, make sure you observe two important rules: 100% immersion in the state of rest and complete exclusion of any distractions (TV, internet and phone);
— meaningful socialization has an incredibly positive impact on us. However, please mind the fact that your multiple virtual conversation partners in social networks do not count as such. Only person-to-person offline contact can reduce the poisoning effects of the surrogate socialization bubble known as «network communication». Network communication also deprives us of the crucial skills of verbal and non-verbal communication.
Step 2: Getting rid of junk information
We already mentioned that the volume of incoming information is immense. For the most part this huge information lump consists of useless junk.
We suggest you get rid of that junk with no remorse, all you need is to observe the following recommendations:
— reduce news consumption, as news tends to have a very short period of relevancy. Often, you can get all the information you need by simply reading the headings. And to make sure you do not miss any important facts (for your professional use for instance), just keep your news intake brief and to the point;
— cancel you newsletters. Are you sure you can read all the 99 newsletters you are subscribed to? Most likely not. Most «useful letters» keep accumulating on your mail box, taking up your time and resources. Unsubscribe from any unnecessary information and keep your head junk free.
— do not read more than you really need for your job or to complete a task. Here we are by no means referring to reading in general, rather than getting professional information required to complete a certain assignment. Define your goal clearly, this way you will be able to avoid spreading yourself thin and will be able to look for concrete information without any time or effort wasted.
— limit the time for checking your e-mail. There is no real need to refresh the page and check e-mail every 15 minutes. 1-3 times a day should suffice. Seemingly simple manipulations with e-mail and special services dilute the attention and «freeze» the brain processor. This affects your productivity quite negatively.
— make sure you do some spring cleaning of your information storage. We all have folders with practical courses, lectures, educational and motivational books that have not yet been read. Sad as it may be, you will probably never get to them, considering the daily inflow of new information. Get rid of the information ballast without any remorse or sadness, systematize the files you do need and perform a cleanup from time to time.
Step 3: Going on an information diet
You heard it right! Everyone indubitably needs an information diet to make sure all the previous steps we completed have not been for nothing. Information has become a type of food in the modern world — the intellectual kind obviously. And since this is true, overeating will inevitably lead to «obesity» — mental fatigue. This is why by limiting ourselves when it comes to information consumption we can protect the brain from the destructive impact of junk information. So, where do we start our information diet?
Firstly, do not be omnivorous — you shouldn’t consume everything indiscriminately. This could lead to «indigestion» — stress. Go back to step 2 if you need to figure out how to limit the intake of unnecessary information.
Secondly, follow a strict routine when it comes to meals. A stable routine is the best way to healthy eating. When we eat at the same time every day, we keep our digestive tract healthy and efficient. By consuming information (the intellectual food) during specific hours we keep our brain from overloading. Make a schedule for information intake and processing leaving time in it for checking e-mail, learning something important, working and resting.
Thirdly, taste your «food» fully when eating. One of the main causes of indigestion, apart from consuming food at random times, is eating on the fly, without concentrating on the food itself, just swallowing it indiscriminately. Enjoy whatever you are reading, letting the information flow through you and tasting it 100%. To make this possible, you need to regulate the intake of information and the way it’s processed, for your own comfort and convenience. You may need to make proper adjustments to the applications you are using to ensure pleasant and convenient work.
Fourthly, do not starve yourself. We all know food deprivation makes our body store nutrients as a reserve. The same applies to information hunger. We already discussed the harm of quick snacks, and would like to repeat ourselves again. Information hunger leads to indiscriminate omnivory and loss of concentration. Remember that keeping a schedule will help you process information most efficiently without having to switch your attention to distractions (there are always plenty of those).
Fifthly, make time for siestas and short vacations. It’s very important to be able to afford the luxury of closing off the information channel. It’s a real challenge for a modern man, as we are so used to the constant information noise surrounding us throughout the day. However, nothing is impossible. We all surely had situations when we had to live for some time without mobile communication, television and internet. Luckily, everyone survived just fine.
We strongly recommend making time for information siestas, however some individuals should not settle for anything less than 100% «unplugged vacations». Remember that by going offline you are doing your brain a great favor helping it to restore and reboot.
We hope our recommendations will be somewhat useful to you and will help you avoid technology-related mental fatigue, enjoying your life to the fullest. Next time we will discuss a condition that keeps the modern society hostage. We will talk about procrastination.
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