How Device-Free Leisure Time Influences Your Productivity

How To Boost Your Energy and Vitality for A Successful Life

Imagine this scenario. You book an Airbnb in a remote place. It’s a wooden cabin with no TV and no Internet.

You think: “Okay; I’ll just take my phone.” But there’s no reception and you can’t get any Internet there.

What’s your initial thought on such a scenario?

It may range between two extremes:

  • “It’s a complete nightmare!”
  • “I’d finally be able to rest.”

If you thought this would be a nightmare, you were wrong. Yes; it would be strange to find yourself without a phone and computer. You’re practically dependent on them. But this break would really help you regain your productivity.

How Screens Affect Your Life

Computers, tablets and smartphones changed the way we communicate and work. They also changed the way we navigate. They affected the way people entertain themselves, too.

We cannot dispute the advantages of this technology. Of course it’s useful and of course it’s necessary.

But is it necessary all the time? Must you spend your free time glued down to the screen even though you finished work hours before?

This is a problem. Many people don’t want to recognize it as an addiction, but that’s exactly what it is.

If you cannot imagine yourself spending a week in that remote cabin without Internet access, isn’t that addiction?

What Science Says About Smartphone Addiction

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Let’s see how researchers see it. There’s a study called “Smartphone addiction, daily interruptions and self-reported productivity,” which was published in July 2017.

The researchers focused on the common hypothesis of smartphones affecting people’s productivity. They collected self-reports from 262 participants. The results showed that there definitely was a relationship between smartphone addiction and productivity decrease.

The participants of the study acknowledged they were spending time on their smartphones during work. In addition, they were spending a great amount of their leisure time on the smartphone.

They acknowledge that this addiction negatively affected their non-work related activities.

There’s a term for this: technostress.

Technostress is slowly taking over your life. It affects your sleep and your relaxation time.

You must be wondering: “How is that possible when I simply use my phone to relax?”

How Technology Kills Your Leisure Time

To understand how technology affects your leisure time, let’s see what leisure time actually is.

This is the time that you spend however you choose. You’re free from work, so you have flexibility to choose from a wide range of leisure activities.

These activities may involve sport, walks, time with your family, reading, listening to music, going to parties… you get the picture.

But when you’re addicted to something, such as computer games, TV shows or your smartphone, your choices are limited.

Theoretically, you’re still free to make that choice. Practically, your addiction identifies your leisure time with screen time.

So what do you do?

Instead of working out, taking walks, reading, or doing other things you used to like doing, you scroll down the screen for hours.

Technology Eliminates Natural Breaks

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What were people doing during breaks before they all got smartphones? They had conversations, they went out for a cup of coffee, or they simply relaxed. This happened during breaks at work or at school.

Now, they are all staring at their Instagram feeds. Instead of taking a break from the screen, which is a constant part of their work, they spend more time with technology.

This prevents workers and students from having a natural break.

All those messages and notifications you get don’t enhance your free time. They distract you from important tasks and most importantly, they don’t enable you to relax.

Over time, too much time spent with a smartphone leads to more stress, frustration, and time-pressure.

Smartphones Enable Your Work to Overtake Personal Time

Americans stay connected to work on weekends, vacation and even when out sick.” That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by the American Psychological Association.

Most of the respondents said that staying connected was good for their productivity. More than 50% of the employed adults said they were checking work messages at least once a day over weekends. They also did that before and after work over the week.

This is what David W. assistant executive director for organizational excellence at APA, said:

“While there’s no question that people need downtime to recover from work stress and avoid burnout, that doesn’t necessarily require a complete ‘digital detox.’ For many people, the ability to stay connected adds value to their work and personal lives. We’re learning that not everyone wants to power down, and that’s OK.”

Yes; it’s okay to stay connected when you’re on vacation or sick leave. That keeps you updated with the work tasks, so you won’t feel disconnected when you show up to work.

But is it okay to constantly check messages and respond to them when you’re supposed to have time for yourself?

Absolutely not! Everyone needs a limit between their professional and private life.

When your profession is taking over your privacy through a smartphone that won’t stop buzzing, we have a problem.

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How You’ll Benefit from Leisure Time without Technology

Is technology an inseparable aspect of your productivity? Of course it is! Most jobs are related to technology in one way or another.

But the detox will enhance your productivity in different ways:

You’ll Sleep Better

You already know that your smartphone keeps you awake at night. Instead of going to bed at reasonable hours, you’re stuck chatting with someone, reading news, or scrolling down the endless Facebook feed.

Maybe you got into a discussion on Reddit and it never seems to end.   
But did you know that smartphones cause insomnia, too? Even after you put the device down and you go to bed, you’re not able to fall asleep easily.

That’s because the blue screen light reduces the melatonin levels, which are needed for a healthy sleep.

When you spend several nights with disrupted sleep in a row, you become grumpy. If this becomes a habit, sleep deprivation affects your productivity until you do something about it.

You’ll Be More Relaxed

Why do you spend that much time with the computer or smartphone even after you’re done with work?

If you’re like most people, you’re guided by the need for getting more information. These are your main tools that keep you connected with the world.

However, the constant flow of information from all parts of the world is distracting. Moreover, it’s also disruptive for your focus.

You receive so much information that you can no longer make the difference between what’s true or false or what’s good or bad.

Information overload is related to increased levels of stress. If you just stay away from technology during your leisure time, you’ll make that problem milder.

You Reconnect With Other Interests

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If technology is cutting back your leisure time, it also affects your productivity.

Leisure time is important for your creativity. When you’re too focused on something (work), you become numb and it’s easy to get stuck.

If you’re constantly checking messages from work, you simply cannot relax.

Some time away from the screen will help you reconnect with some old interests, such as reading, exercise, animals, or whatever your thing is.

Leisure is a normal commodity that’s important for personal satisfaction. Don’t let the screens hijack it!

Your Productivity Doesn’t Depend on Smartphones and Computers

… It depends on your motivation!

Smartphones and computers can have a negative effect on your motivation. That’s because they get you into an endless whirlpool of information overload.

It’s time to escape that pattern. It’s time to reclaim your free time and declare independence from technology.  

About The Author

Alexandra Reay is an editor and professional writer at AssignmentGeek. She is also a professional content writer who prefers to do research on self-improvement, technology innovations, and global education development.

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