In today's world, the workplace is characterised by the non-stop growing use of digital technologies and dynamic work processes. We need to adapt to these constant changes. For example, the frequent online messages we receive via various social and online networks tempt us to react immediately, thus distracting us continuously from what we are doing. We do not determine our own actions, but react primarily to external events. Why do we allow this to happen? Mainly because as humans we seek recognition and reward. Our behaviour is designed to react as quickly as possible in an effort to please others.
Digital technology has become an inescapable part of our lives and work. Their primary role is to facilitate our work processes and communication. However, the more we use and depend on digital technologies, the more they become a burden instead of a facilitator. The development of technology has made it possible to be online 24/7, but being available 24/7 at work is not beneficial to us as humans. These are some of the reasons why the stress caused by the use of digital technology is becoming an increasingly serious problem for working people nowadays.
In order to be able to prevent and deal with digital stress, we first need to develop our awareness, especially regarding the use of digital technology.
If we are not aware of how to use digital technology wisely to increase our productivity, we will fall into the trap of being constantly at work but never being able to complete all our tasks. We need to know how to resist the pressure to comply with messages demanding our attention and demands on our time. Instead, we need to know how to prioritize our tasks in order to lead an active and self-directed professional life. Digital technology should help us at work, not create stress and cause burnout.
To deal with negative emotions, we need to think deeply about their causes. Once we identify and understand the causes of certain negative emotions related to digital technology in the workplace, we can take action to avoid or at least minimize them.
To do this, we could use the so-called self-reflection cycle, an active 5-step process that helps us to examine our own emotions and actions in order to learn something about ourselves and our individual behaviour.
The first step of the process is awareness: first, we need to become fully aware of what is happening in the present moment - what is the situation or problem we are facing.
The second step is conscious perception: we need to focus on our emotions/feelings.
Third, if we want to change the situation or find a solution to the problem, we need to set goals for what we want to achieve. This is the only way to check later if the reflection was successful.
The fourth step is to plan specific actions: this will be the way we will change our behaviour or attitude to achieve the goals. The main focus here is on the effectiveness of the individual measures and whether they lead to achieving the goal.
The last step is integrating experience: the newly acquired experience has to be integrated into our future behaviour and attitude and this is the last step. We analyse the results of our adapted behaviour or attitude and if they are satisfactory, we apply this behaviour/attitude in future similar situations. If not, we continue to look for possible improvements by starting a new cycle of reflection.
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your mindfulness at work in a digital environment to avoid stress, you can take advantage of the free STRESS-LESS
self-learning program, also available on the Happiness Accelerator