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Take a tech detox over Christmas

feature-detox-200We’re glued to our technology. The advent of smartphones has been a revolutionary move in business, but it’s made us more connected – and dependent – than ever.

Checking tweets, texts and emails on the way to and from work, in the car, on the train, even in bed.

It’s enough to drive you mad. Which is why this summer, more experts are calling on entrepreneurs and anyone else glued to their phones to step back – and take a break.

“It’s really important to make sure you get some downtime,” says Corporate and Personal Consulting director Simon Kinsella. “To get some space away from work and the work environment.”

The problem is that our work environment has been extended thanks to smartphones and tablets. While technology has made it easier to work from home when needed, it’s also a curse. Many workers don’t know how to log off completely.

Recent research conducted by Nielsen for hotel booking site Stayz.com.au found 36% of respondents said they “couldn’t escape from technology” while on holiday, and that more than half would continue to check emails every day.

More than one quarter spend 15 minutes or more scrolling through inboxes on days off and 42% spend at least 15 minutes on social media every day.

Over half said they’d check their Facebook or Twitter profiles once a day.

“It’s hard for a lot of people,” says Kinsella. “But what it means is that you need to put some systems in place.”

Many entrepreneurs and senior types want to stop looking at their tech, but simply can’t. And not only that, when they do stop, they suffer a withdrawal.

It’s actually not as crazy as it sounds. In an article The New York Times published earlier this year, University of Texas neurobiology professor Dr Russell Poldrack points out it takes time to break tech habits.

When you respond to a notification on your phone, or you see that refresh bar load up with new tweets, your brain is actually giving you a signal. It’s feeding you adrenaline.

And when you don’t get it on vacation, you look for it in other areas – ever wonder why you come back from a holiday and don’t feel rested? It’s probably because you haven’t given yourself permission to “do nothing”.

There’s an important reason to do that – it feeds creativity. Countless studies show creativity prospers when you’re doing even menial tasks – and anecdotal evidence suggests the same. How many good ideas have you had at the gym, or in the shower, compared to intensely writing a report?

“This is an issue health practitioners have dealt with for many years, and they’re better at it,” says Kinsella.

“They’ve been in a situation where patients may want to contact them out of hours, and they know for their own benefit they need time away.”

“Really, the world doesn’t stop if you don’t respond to an email or a phone call straight away.”

But what can you do? As it turns out, quite a lot. We’ve spoken to a couple of experts and have come up with a few ways you can detox from tech this summer break.

Remember, it’s for your own good.

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