The Importance of the Off Button
How long has it been since you checked your phone? Maybe you’re even reading this on your phone right now – and that’s great! Technology has a lot of benefits, and one of the biggest is how easy it is to communicate with people all around the world. Today more than ever, it’s so easy to keep up with friends and family who live far away and to stay up to date on news around the world. Phones and computers have apps and programs that are incredibly helpful for everyone from small business owners to students working on school projects to grandparents trying to stay in touch with their grandchildren (and everyone in between).
But as we get more and more attached to our phones, we might also be missing out on some benefits that we can get from not being connected all the time. It’s not easy – turning your phone off or getting off social media, even for a little bit, or not answering a text message right away. We’re so used to having everything at our fingertips in an instant through our phones and computers and tablets that it can be difficult to step away from it.
There are several benefits to taking a step back though, whether it’s for a long period of time or less than a day. To start, putting away screens before bed has been shown to help you sleep better – the bright light of your phone or computer tricks your body into thinking that it’s still daytime, and therefore makes it harder for you to fall asleep.
And some studies have shown that even just having your phone next to you on your desk, where you can see all your notifications and where the temptation to check them is harder to ignore, can have negative effects on your productivity. Turning your phone off or putting it out of sight for even an hour or two can help you be more focused on the task at hand and get more done, something that a lot of people struggle with.
Taking time away from your phone or laptop after work or school can help you recharge and destress, two things that are super important for your mental health and for your productivity. Taking just a little bit of time to relax without being connected to social media or the internet or texting can have a big positive impact on these aspects of your life.
Finally, while it’s great to use technology to connect with friends and family members who we don’t see often, this often comes at the expense of the people we see every day. Putting down the phone or computer to spend time with the people around you is so important, whether it’s setting your phone aside during dinner or not checking your email during the weekends to be fully present with your friends and family.
Now, I’m not saying that all technology is bad. It’s important to stay in touch with friends and family and to keep up with what’s going on in the world, and our phones and computers and tablets help us do all of that and more. However, past a certain point, all that technology may be doing us harm as much as it’s doing us good. And in such a fast-paced world, even just a little bit of time without our devices can do wonders.