Are you feeling tiredness and lack of concentration? Are you suffering from digital overload or digital anxiety? Society is digitalizing at a terrific speed. Corona pandemic caused the urgent need to modernize services and functions into digital form causing the digital leap.

The influences of digitalization have penetrated through our society from the young to the elderly. The digital device skills are expected from the elderly and those that are marginalized, even if they do not hold them. All digital tools and applications are thought to make easier our daily lives and work but still many people feel that they are suffering from digital overload or digital anxiety. All systems and applications need to be managed, employee’s concentration is fragmented, you must be accessible at all times and beeps are squeaking as a signal of incoming messages.

Picture 1. Information overload. Picture: Bing

Digitalization and work stress

There is a risk of information overload, which subsequently may hamper finding relevant information. This may lead to a feeling of not being in control and therefore lead into stressful situations. Being available at all times can lead to work life imbalance, and therefore impact a person´s physical and psychological recovery when time off from work reduces. Consequently, it´s important to place more emphasis on the drawbacks of the digitalization in work communities. (Vuori ym. 2018.)

In 2019, LM Someco, an expert company in content marketing and social media, conducted a survey on digital well-being for experts and supervisors in communication and marketing positions. Most of the respondents said they are suffering from digital anxiety which feels like fatigue. The brains are constantly on the go, concentration is disrupted, relationships are strained and there are concerns about one´s own health. In boring moments one is easily gripped by the temptations of the smartphones. (YTY 2019)

Benefit versus addiction

Individuals can benefit from digitalization in various ways. Education, financial status, self regulation and personality all reflect on how an individual may benefit from digitalization. The differences between individuals depend on addiction in digital devices. Those who have previously had addiction issues may be predisposed towards digital dependency. (Tammisali 2019)

The use of digital services requires the population to have sufficient computer skills, motivation, necessary equipment and a functional network connection. According to Statistics Finland´s 2020 ICT use survey, more than 90 % of people aged 16 – 54 already use the Internet with some device and up to about 30 % of people aged 75 – 89 used the Internet in the three months before the survey. According to the same survey, in 2020, 68 % of 16 – 89 –year-olds had sent an official form online in the past year. (Tilastokeskus 2020)

Taking care of one’s own well-being in digital times -How to avoid overload in the digital society?

Are your digital skills sufficient to handle all things digitally? Do you know how much you are using time in different applications?

Accessibility to digital services is considered to be quite important but Internet users aged 50 – 65 are a key group that needs to be better informed and guided in the future because they have more barriers to digital services than younger people. Guidance must take into account the multichannel nature, so that the client can choose the best way to get guidance and learn. (THL 2016, 4)

Picture 2. The use of devices like smart phones and personal computers has made it harder to concentrate. Picture: iStockphoto.com

The more applications you use the more interruptions there will be. Leaving digital devices off for at least a moment will reduce the risk of digital anxiety.

Stop for a moment to think about where well-being is built from before you are in digital anxiety.

  • Take your time management back to yourself to ease digital anxiety.
  • Spend freetime in a way you like and set the work and digital devices from mind.
  • Give time and genuine presence to your family and friends without digital devices.
  • It´s a good idea to limit the screen time to certain times of the day and avoid it especially in the evenings before going to bed to ensure a better night’s sleep. (Kellomäki 2019)

” Rule the digitalization before it rules you!

Both at work and at home, it´s worth agreeing on rules of the game for the use work methods and tools as well as for interaction.

  • Disable notification settings for email, Facebook and other apps so that notifications don’t appear until you open the app or interrupt your work or leisure activities.
  • Is it necessary to use e-mail on the phone?
  • The main applications can be selected to appear on the first screen and move the worst hooks to the last page.
  • Put focus on one task at a time, reading email usually interrupts focus on the meeting and writing a message distracts other participants. (Pikka, Talvitie, 2019)

Sometimes it´s possible and good to be out of reach. The phone can be kept silent during the dining and it´s good to soothe of using the phone before sleeping. Does the email need to be answered immediately? Is it enough that work is done during working time without having to use a work phone or read email in your free time? The inoperability of systems easily interrupts work, takes time and user’s energy. It´s good to increase and maintain your knowledge of use and effective utilization of tools and systems. If these still don’t work, bring it up in your workplace or get advice. (Keski-Rahkonen, Lagus, Sauri, 2020)

“Nosto” Remember that you are the one who takes care of your own well-being. What if you reset the digital flood, leave all your digital equipment at home and go for a walk, for example. The walk is also successful without digital devices. Try it at least once!

Blog writers: Sari Shemeikka, Jatta Soininen ja Anu Vähämäki, Welfare and Health Coordinator -students from Savonia UAS

References:

Kellomäki, Ani 2019. Digiähky verottaa hyvinvointia – kokeile näitä neljää keinoa. Verkkojulkaisu.  YTY – Yksityisalojen Esimiehet ja Asiantuntijat YTY ry. Viitattu 25.2.2021 ja 12.3.2021

Keski-Rahkonen, Anna, Lagus, Krista, Sauri, Pekka 2020. Poikkeuslinjalla – Hajoaako pää? Etätyö ja digiähky. Podcast. Viitattu 12.3.2021.

Pikka, Lauri, Talvitie, Piia 2019.  Digiähkyn hallinta on osa digitaitoja. Asiantuntijablogi. Viitattu 12.3.2021.

Tammisali, Kristiina 2019. Digitaalinen eriarvoisuus 2.0. Blogi. Tieto käyttöön! Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminta. Viitattu 10.3.2021.

Tilastokeskus 2020. Väestön tieto- ja viestintätekniikan käyttö 2020. Verkkojulkaisu. Viitattu 25.2.2021.

THL 2016. Sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon digitalisaatio. Pdf-tiedosto. Viitattu 25.2.2021.

Vuori, Vilma, Okkonen, Jussi, Helander, Nina 2018. Hyvä, paha digitalisaatio: haittoja vähentämällä kohti suurempaa hyötyä. Verkkojulkaisu. Viitattu 10.3.2021.

Are you ready to get rid of the digital overload – controlling the digital overload is part of your digital skills

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