This past weekend, I realized that I am at a place of burnout. I’ve been unmotivated to do any work, and no matter how much sleep I get the night before, I still feel exhausted. I haven’t been able to finish the book I’ve been reading, no matter how good and suspenseful it is. My attire has been reduced to a combination of T-shirts with jeans, T-shirts with sweatpants, or T-shirts with leggings. My eating habits have included handfuls of pretzels, chips, candy, cakes and cookies that have created a bit of fluff in my midsection. Basically, I’m a mess right now.
When I stopped to reflect on what was causing this, I realized that technology played a huge part in my rut. There’s this need to feel connected, and there’s nothing like mobile technology to create an exhausting sense of urgency in one’s life. Allow me to explain.
Each morning, when I wake up, there’s a short moment of peace. It’s immediately interrupted by a great flow of Slack alerts, responses, and work conversations. There’s a massive load of emails, mostly junk, and the more I delete, the more they seem to appear. There’s the daily aggravation of balancing life and work, and most days, I just want to pack up and leave it all behind. Phone, laptop, everything. But I recently came to the conclusion that I needed a break one morning after realizing that I didn’t charge my phone the previous night. By morning, it was already on 10 percent. Because my work days are so hectic, only having 10 percent of battery life usually would’ve driven me up the wall, and I would have made a mad dash for my charger. But this time, it died…and I had no desire to charge it.
I left my phone off for a day because I needed peace and rest. I needed to separate myself from the very thing that consumed most of my time. With freelancing, I spend most of my day surfing the web for trending topics, breaking news, or ideas that would be ideal for the platforms I write for. I then have to pitch those ideas to groups via my mobile phone and await feedback. Imagine me and about 30 other people in a single network doing the same thing. It’s notification overload from sun up to sun down. Buzzing, vibrating, pinging all day and night. I try to focus on one thing, but I’m getting alerts for another thing. And then once a piece is published, I have to log into my social media accounts for self-promotion, and then the notifications letting me know people are reading and commenting on my work is all day and at random. So I decided that I had to shut my phone off.
I didn’t Google search articles and tips on how to motivate myself or how to get out of the rut that I was in. I just finally let myself sit in it for a day and promised myself that I wouldn’t let my next day be the same. So during that time without my phone disturbing and interrupting my peace, I slept, got over some work humps, watched TV, slept some more, went for a walk, listened to music in the dark and read a book. I made the day about myself and not what I had to do for others. I just needed a mental escape because I was utterly drained. So, for once, I hit the reset button, and I think I want to start implementing this into my self-care days once a week. In that one day, I realized how much technology consumes me and how I need to be more conscious of the way I manage it so that I can slow down, relax the immediate sense of urgency placed on everything, and recalibrate–for the sake of my own mental health.