Working in the tech industry, I’ve experienced tech burnout firsthand. It’s essentially a deep fatigue—both physical and mental—stemming from prolonged stress in tech-related jobs. Imagine the strain of constantly juggling multiple screens and the demands of a high-tech workspace; it’s no surprise this can lead to chronic tiredness and even heighten the risk of heart issues, as noted by Victor Lo in the paper titled, “Association between occupational burnout and heart rate variability.”

Being a marketer for tech firms only intensifies this risk, given the constant device-switching, platform-hopping, and the need to be ever-present. I’ve had occasions where I was so tech-fatigued, I couldn’t bring myself to look at my laptop screen for days! It wasn’t just me though. Many people I know are equally tech fatigued. Regardless of whether or not you work in tech, the bombardment of so much information generated across multiple devices designed to keep you hooked is definitely not healthy.

So I’m sharing some simple work and lifestyle adjustments you can make to avoid tech burnout and make sure it doesn’t cause you long-term chronic stress.

Establishing a Routine & Setting Specific Times for Tech Usage

This sounds easy, but trust me, it requires discipline! When I was a young professional, I was always on my PC or laptop working, studying, communicating etc. Life was 24/7 tech. But over the years, I’ve realized how unhealthy that is for me. Now, I designate a specific time for tech usage. I break them down accordingly:

  • Laptop use: 9 – 5 or whatever is my work routine/timing. Once I’m off work, I shut down my laptop and don’t open it until the next working day. Over the weekends, my laptop remains shut unless I have to study something or work on a personal project. However, I avoid doing either of that on the weekend too. I try to squeeze in study, work, and personal projects over the weekdays, Monday – Friday.
  • Mobile use: My cutoff time for mobile use is 9 p.m. and I have the sleep mode activated which means I don’t get any text or calls during sleep hours. I once worked at a company where the manager found it perfectly normal to call me at 2 am to ask about a landing page copy and I mumbled something incomprehensible. Since then, I made it a point, not to keep my phone active during sleep hours.
  • TV use: We watch our favorite shows on a Friday evening after work. During the weekdays, I try not to consume more than two hours of viewing if I can help it. Generally, though, we avoid TV during weekdays.
  • Wearables: No longer have them! 😉

Now I know this sounds very particular and impossible to achieve but if you keep at it for long enough, it becomes a habit. I involuntarily switch off my phone’s Wi-Fi before I sleep. I involuntarily switch off my laptop once work is done. After a while, it no longer becomes a struggle or a decision you have to make.

Avoid Multiscreening & Jumping Between Devices

Imagine this:

You’re working at home and you’ve got the TV on, your phone is buzzing with notifications, you’re trying to get work done on your laptop, and you’re switching between WhatsApp, Slack, LinkedIn, YouTube, Zoom, Twitter etc. This is why our focus tends to drift away and we can’t seem to get anything done even though we feel exceptionally busy!

To do productive work, you need to be able to focus on one screen, one task at a time. Even if you think you’re an amazing multi-tasker, you’re still having to divide your focus into one task at a time. You can’t talk to your best friend and solve a pressing work issue at the same time!

Switch off your mobile wi-fi while you’re working so you don’t be distracted by irrelevant distractions. Chances are whatever apps you’ve got on your phone are also on your laptop – so you’re getting notified of the same event on two different devices. Again, this may seem like a small thing, but once you get into the habit of focusing on one device at a time, you’ll have better focus.

Have Tech Free Days – No Phones, Laptops, or TVs

This is not hard to achieve. My partner and I strive to have tech-free weekends where we spend time with friends and family or we go exploring. If we can’t do either, then we stay home where I read, or cook a meal, and take a walk or go to the gym. The point isn’t to completely eliminate tech but to minimize use. We do end up watching some TV in the evenings, but that’s after we’ve done all the above. When it’s movie time, we keep away from our devices.

Again, this sounds incredibly hard especially when we’re habitual of spending hours on Instagram and YouTube as a way to pass time. But honestly ask yourself: all that content we consume, is it healthy? Even if it’s just comedy shows or makeup tutorials, is it of any benefit to us to spend hours consuming content when we could actually go out, enjoy the day, spend some time with loved ones, and do cool things?

This Sounds Like a Lot of Work…..

I know. I’ve had many people say this to me. But honestly, as I said before, it’s not a lot of work once it becomes a habit. The underlying factor that makes all this possible is discipline. However, keep in mind that being disciplined doesn’t mean being inflexible. Even though I have this routine, I am also flexible enough to work over the weekend if there’s an urgent requirement, or I take out time to talk to friends and family when they are unavailable in my timezone. I do end up binge-watching TV shows with my partner.

The goal isn’t to live in a cave – the goal is to minimize distractions as much as you can so you can live a quality life where you don’t have to take unnecessary stress!

I hope this helps. If you have any strategies to control or overcome tech burnout, please feel free to reach out and share your ideas.

And if you think this article is helpful, please share this with your network!

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