You might laugh when you hear the word technostress . I know I did at first. But think back to how it used to be—when you could come home and really leave work at the office. Today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant barrage of cell phones, e-mail, and pagers. It’s easy to work late into the night, finishing up just one more report or just one more memo for the next day’s legal briefing. Because technology lets us do more, we can take on too much. We end up feeling overwhelmed and never really “finished” because we are always plugged in. The constant accessibility—even while we’re on vacation—can lead to burnout by giving us the means to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without interruption.
Signs of Technostress
When does it all become too much? Have you fallen into the trap of, “Because I can, I do,” only to find yourself forgetful, unable to think clearly, and incapable of having a restful night’s sleep? Here are some warning signs to see if you have fallen into the technostress cycle:
• Do you spend more time doing sedentary work, often sitting alone at the computer?
• Do you find yourself multitasking more, juggling multiple things at once?
• Do you feel like your personal and work boundaries have become blurred?
• Do you feel anxious if you haven’t checked your voice mail or e-mail within the last 12 hours?
• Do you have a hard time determining when you are finished researching a topic on the Internet?
• Do you feel that no matter how much you do, there is still so much more to accomplish?
• Do you feel your perception of time has altered, increasing what you believe can be accomplished in a day?
• Do you feel what some have called “information overload” or “information fatigue”?
If left unattended, technostress can lead to memory loss, diminished concentration, impatience, irritability, difficulty relaxing or falling asleep—even headaches, stomach discomfort, backaches, and more serious health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Combating technostress means finding ways to achieve a healthy balance of using technology without becoming consumed by it:
• Awareness is the first step. See where technology has created stress in your personal and professional life. Keep a daily log or diary to identify how and when you use the Internet, cell phones, and pagers. By becoming more aware of ways you use and possibly abuse technology, you’ll learn to take control of it instead of being controlled by it. Read more..