THE BLOG

Digital Stress and Making Time for the Things We Love in Life

01/06/2016 10:26 | Updated 01 June 2016

Do we dare talk about cutting things out of our lives and the idea that we can prevent stress by doing so?

We are dependent on each other's energy when we work with other people. This becomes very clear in large and complex projects. If we are in the same building we are even breathing the same air.

The stress that is connected with poor leadership and management is common. The stress that comes with digital tools is also there all the time. Examples are never-ending email chains and project management tools that are too complex to work with.

On an individual level you can do many things to reduce your stress. Who hasn't tried a bit of yoga or meditation to calm the mind? If the organisation you work in is still chaotic then you are swimming against the current.

In the last few years the use of smart digital devices has increased hugely. We are now available twenty-four-seven. When are you working? And when aren't you working? There are no clear boundaries so how can we relax and calm down when there is always a new message or notification demanding our attention?

In the workplace we need to stay up-to-date with new technology. The web delivers new information all the time and there is a never-ending flood of data around us. Also, there are plenty of technology systems that are mixed together in an awkward way that sap our time and energy.

Many organisations are stuck and only talk about efficiency, productivity and the next three months' profit. In the digital world where all knowledge is connected in a collaborative way you need to start talking about knowledge management and collaboration.

One of the traits that I've noticed works really well when working in collaboration with others is kindness. It feels as if we have forgotten that being kind is a strength.

Good listeners are kind and people who are good at seeing what their fellow team members need are kind. During a stressful work project the people who are kind to others can also be the people who glue the team together.

Being mentally squeezed by bad management practices that are causing stress isn't sustainable and we need to find room to talk about and discuss what kind of behaviour we appreciate in the workplace.

All organisations need to set up rules and policies for how to use technology. It's about managing expectations and questioning practices, such as whether it's reasonable to send emails late in the evening.

I know a successful entrepreneur who wanted to share how he reached his big goals in life. When I learnt that he had actually totally ignored his family for years I was not impressed. Later I was told in secret that he often took drugs to stay happy and focused. Is this a life to aspire to?

We all make choices every day. Every single, minor, tiny choice has an impact. If we make poor choices day after day they will be part of who we are.

We are always negotiating with time. Time for work. Time for life. Time for health. Time for friendship. Over a period of a week do you have enough time for what you think matters?

Working 12 hours a day may be great for a week. But how good is that in the long term?

Life is complex. I will never say it's easy. Life gives us pleasure and pain. We are here to connect and share our knowledge. All things digital are certainly part of that. We are never going to stop using our smartphones and computers. People who proudly tell me that they've stopped using Facebook and other social media just annoy me. For me, it would be the same as throwing away my address book and ignoring a direct channel to connect with people.

We can let go of bad email habits. We can let go of poor time management. We can welcome new habits for change.

Our brains are programmed to copy the behaviour of the people we work with and if you are kind to your colleagues you are more likely to create a strong and productive team.

If you join me in my 30-day challenge I will send you new ideas every Sunday that you can try out to reduce digital stress and organisational mess, set new boundaries and be more aware of what you spend your time on.

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