We Facebook tired faces

The example of the Danish study (“Happy Research Institute”) from the post last week  provides food for thought, but it is no surprise: Permanent media usage stresses out, occasional abstinence is good for us. But what do we do?

In the morning, half past nine. Jenny rushes from the bus station to the company without looking up a single time. Her face is shining pale in the light of the smartphone’s screen. All these network comments and status messages have to be answered. And all the Whatsapps, too, which constantly pop up. If not, Katja, Sammy and “he” might become impatient. After all, ou’ve got to be “there” for your friends!

As the office door flings open, Jenny immediately puts her phone away––Katja must wait––as the computer at Jenny’s workplace bursts of thousands of e-mails like every morning. No sender must wait long for the answer. The boss needs to get his “yes, immediately,” the customer shall read “… it’s on its way,” the spam should be deleted. The meeting just at 10? Jenny is totally nervous. That’s how the day begins. And sure it will continue that way.

Looking at people like Jenny––in other words, all of us––it can’t be any coincidence that the rate of burnout and disease failures increases proportionally to the electronic networking. No one feels more comfortable and relaxed than those few who have learned to switch off for abstinence sometimes. All that is preached like a mantra. Everybody knows it’s true. Yet hardly anyone seems to care.

There is one ancient golden rule from the good old days of relaxation which can not be repeated often enough: Man can focus on an activity only for 45 minutes. Then attention diminishes and fatigue increases. Therefore, school or driving lessons have always taken just 45 minutes. But how may it look like to divide up the work in three-quarters of an hour-units?

Start by turning off the phone. The mobile phone anyway––like in classrooms, cinemas or theaters. But the landline phone’s answering machine should be activated, too. For editing the the emails, there should be two or three slots at the morning and afternoon because no one expects an immediate response. Everybody would understand as there are justifications for absences such as meetings or errands. In many cases, employees may agree with their bosses at what times they must be accessible and when they are allowed to take time for undisturbed, concentrated work. If you’re not always achievable, you live more relaxed and work more productive!

For sure Jenny would be grateful for this in the long run. She’d be relaxed, fit and more successful. And what if she used her workplace PC one or two times a day for a few minutes on Facebook? And if she looked some short, funny YouTube videos together with colleagues? Dear employers: let her do it. That’s variety, relaxation and as important as the small smoking break. Trust her if she has always worked well––and might work even better. And not become sick as we all will …

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