This post is also available in: English
Do you feel like you have no control of your time?
Whether you work in an office or remotely, the lines between our work and personal time are more blurred than ever. However, it’s not the workload that seems to be the problem for many. It’s the constant influx of messages, emails, and other things that come with our jobs and follow us whether we’re clocked in or not. While being able to connect so easily has its perk, it also makes it difficult to set limits. Just look at anyone who goes on holiday these days but still stays connected to their device.
And it’s not just holidays that are ruined over lack of digital boundaries. Having boundaries is crucial to mental health and overall wellbeing. Conversely, not having them can lead to issues such as anxiety and depression. But how do we set digital boundaries in the digital age? This article written by our friends at Pacific Prime offers four tips to help you do just that.
How to set digital boundaries
Before we get into our top tips for setting digital boundaries, we should first answer: what are digital boundaries? Boundaries are personal limits that we set to protect part of our lives that we value. For example, a personal boundary might be that you allocate one night a week to your hobby and turn down any invitations for that evening to ensure you make time for it.
Digital boundaries are similar, but they only apply to the digital or “online” world. Some digital boundaries examples include silencing your notifications when you’re having personal time or putting your device away when you’re with someone. To stop the digital world from dominating your life by being digitally accessible 24/7, you need to have healthy boundaries in place.
1. Designate out-of-office hours
If you’re the kind of person who constantly checks their email or replies to internal messages at all hours, then a first good step is to set your after office hours and stick to them. Fortunately, this step is easy to implement thanks to message snooze options and out-of-office email auto-replies. Just make sure your coworkers can get in touch with you in case of an emergency so you can disconnect once the workday is over and spend your personal time your way.
2. Use your annual leave
You might be surprised to know that many people don’t even use all of their vacation days. And those that do go on holiday don’t even disconnect from their devices during their time off. But disconnecting from our devices is essential for healthy wellbeing. On top of that, taking a much-needed digital break increases productivity and performance at work.
So don’t hesitate the next time you’re going to schedule your vacation days. Schedule them with confidence knowing that you’ll return from your break as a happier, healthier, and more productive version of yourself. If you have to keep on top of things while you’re on holiday, be sure to set times to check-in and stick to them.
3. Ask yourself if it can wait
Let’s say you hear your notification sound and are about to have a look and reply. Pause for a moment and ask yourself if you really have to respond right away or if it can wait. The more that you ask yourself if something the wait, the more you get into the habit of having clear boundaries between digital time and personal time. It might take some time to adjust to not responding at first, especially if you’re used to always being connected, but in time, you’ll find yourself delaying responses by 12 hours, 24 hours, or even more if it’s possible. You might be surprised to see that most of the time, things can wait.
4. Don’t look at your phone as soon as you wake up
Resist the urge to look at your phone within the first hour of getting out of bed. Not only does checking your phone first thing distract your mind but it sets the tone for the rest of the day as well. Bombarding yourself with external stimuli upon waking can create feelings of anxiety and stress when your day should be starting calmly. Instead, use the first hour of the day for reflecting, meditation, and other morning activities that will help prepare you for the day ahead and start your day off on a healthy note. If you use your phone for an alarm, turn it on airplane mode before going to sleep and avoid turning it off until you’ve had at least an hour to yourself.
If you’re someone who thinks that they don’t deserve to set boundaries, know that you’re not alone in thinking that. But the truth is that you do deserve to have digital boundaries, and the sooner you set them and learn to start saying no to the things that are not serving you, the sooner you can reap the benefits.
Take charge of your health by securing expat health insurance. Pacific Prime Thailand offers a wide range of insurance solutions, including individual health insurance plans in Thailand and travel insurance. We compare health insurance plans to help you find the right policy for your needs and budget. Contact Pacific Prime Thailand for expert advice or a free quote and plan comparison now.