Identifying and Managing Digital Fatigue

Granted that remote working has enabled us to stay safe, in some cases, increased productivity changed how we relate to each other and promoted online engagement. However, with that comes hours in front of screens, learning how to work on multiple platforms, causing many of us to experience the very real condition that is digital fatigue.

What is Digital Fatigue?

Digital fatigue is a recognized state of mental exhaustion and disengagement that occurs when people are required to use numerous digital tools and apps concurrently and in an ongoing way.

How do I identify Digital Fatigue?

Are you experiencing any of the following? If you are, then chances are that you are showing symptoms of fatigue. feeling worn out by endless virtual meetings & events

  • Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
  • Headaches
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by the repetitive nature of your day
  • Displaying snappy or irrational behaviour

Across the globe, these are some of the symptoms that have been identified as detrimental forms of burnout. You are not alone and there are ways to correct this.

Why does it happen?

Reading the points below, shared by psychologist will help us to look for cues to manage it as well. There are various ideas and thoughts about this form of burnout and the factors that contribute to it:

  • Excessive self-awareness, where we are ‘performing’ for the camera on digital and social platforms becomes a self-esteem issue as we always worry about whether we look presentable or not to our colleagues.
  • A fair amount of effort is needed to process non-verbal cues such as body language over a screen. Keeping this in check takes focus and energy.
  • Over-scheduling in our diaries is contributor to our current reality. We have nowhere to go, so let’s use the digital platform to connect.’
  • Missing real people is the reality right now. As human beings, we crave face-to-face contact.
What can you do about it?

There are plenty of simple, yet effective ways to reduce burnout and fatigue. We encourage you to choose how best to respond in ways that are useful for yourself and those you care about even if it means taking the “road less travelled” and building these practices into your daily schedule.

  • Include regular small breaks of about 10 to 15 minutes between meetings (in addition to full lunch and tea breaks)
  • Eat healthy meals and snacks
  • Use your breaks to relax or take a walk into the Winter sunshine
  • Incorporate other channels of communication e.g. a phone call or an email.
  • Whip out the old pen and paper, instead of taking notes on your digital device
  • Use your video for the first few minutes of the meeting, then turn off your self-view option. You will save bandwidth and eliminate thoughts about what your colleagues thought about your make-up or hair.
  • Mix your daily routine to create some variety, creating a work/life balance
  • Find things that help you connect with world, without the use of a device
  • Try exercising
  • Focus your efforts on using one app or platform at a time e.g. try not to email while participating in a meeting
  • Choose the virtual social gatherings that you want to attend. Don’t feel pressurised into accepting all social invitations.
Key Takeaways
  1. Be kind to yourself
  2. Eat wholesome and balanced meals
  3. Include exercise for your back, neck and shoulders into your daily routine
  4. Get at least 7 hours of sleep
  5. Take regular breaks
  6. Try different channels of communication

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4 thoughts on “Identifying and Managing Digital Fatigue”

  1. An excellent blog; perfect for these times of the Covid-19 pandemic when so many are working and even studying from home.

  2. Excellent blog. Will be incorporating some of the ‘What can you do’ and ‘Key Takeaways’ in the daily routine

  3. Worth the read. I will definitley be applying this to my daily schedule whilst working from home.

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