In the ever-increasing technology era we live in, social media, digital databases, and other technological advances have dramatically changed the medical industry as we know it. Physicians can now keep in contact with colleagues, check in with patients, and access industry news with the touch of a button. However, even with these growing benefits, there are a number of reasons why it is also important for physicians to ‘unplug’ from their busy schedules and make tech-free time a priority. Below are five reasons why physicians should make an effort to take a break from technology.
1. Break the Burnout Trend. We all know doctors work longer hours than the average person, and on top of that, are under constant pressure to continue their research and education. This is only fueled by the aid of technology. To combat these contributing stressors, disconnect as much as possible when outside of the workplace.
2. Dodge “Text Neck”. What is ‘text neck’ you ask? Medical experts warn that for every inch the head tilts forward, pressure on the spine doubles! This often leads to neck, back, and shoulder pain, or ‘text neck’. Smartphone users can spend up to four hours a day hunched over reading emails, sending text messages, or checking social media.
3. Reenergize! Multi-tasking has become a way of life for many, however, the human brain is not designed to complete several tasks at once. Forcing it to jump back and forth between various activities requires more and more energy, and without appropriate breaks can do more harm than good. Continuous multi-tasking during the day can make it more difficult to stop and relax when the day is done.
4. Remain in Control. Do not let technology become a competing force with the other things that occupy your time as a physician. Set daily goals with confidence and stay in control of your work and patient load by taking appropriate breaks to organize your thoughts around specific tasks rather than reacting to something being thrown at you at that very moment.
5. Focus on the Bigger Picture. By taking a mental break from technology, physicians can begin to better appreciate the things going on around them, and engage in meaningful thought while reconciling thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about their lives and place in the world.