Today, the amount of information that we can access digitally is staggering.
The effects of this can be seen in DCs’ professional lives from instructional videos on various types of adjustments, to electronic health records software programs, research, and online-only best practice guidelines. In addition, patient emails and phone calls must be tended to.
To disconnect or not
What would happen if DCs unplugged themselves from all of this technology? Would their patients suddenly vanish because emails or phone calls were not answered promptly? Would they fall behind on billing? Would they no longer be as current on the latest adjustment techniques? The answer to all of these is a resounding “No,”—as long as DCs know how best to take a break from technology.
Set aside time
Rather than removing all digital information sources, set aside a specific block of time to go low-tech. Sometimes just talking 15 to 30 minutes each day is all that is needed to help clear the mind. Share the idea with your staff, and close the office for lunch once a week. The key concept here is consistency. Set aside that time, regardless of whatever else may be going on, and over time, it will become part of your regular routine.
So now that you have scheduled your daily tech break, what can you do with this time? A few options will help maximize your tech-free time:
- Walk around the block or toss a ball with your staff. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress which improves productivity.1
- A few minutes of meditation can calm both mind and body.
- Leave the cell phone in your office if you go out for lunch to really focus on your lunch companion.
Benefits of taking a tech break
An interesting article published online in Psychology Today discusses the various benefits of taking a tech break. It summarized research showing that during awake restful periods, the brain gets a chance to “recharge,” which may enhance learning and memory.2
In addition, MRI scans showed changes in activity in various parts of the brain during the process of learning. The author suggests that if the brain is more occupied with answering text messages or composing emails, there is less attention being paid to learning.
Disconnect, ease your mind
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the human brain performs better if it gets some downtime from constant processing of information. Do yourself and your patients a favor, give yourself permission to take a tech break. This will energize and refresh you, making you far more effective in not only treating patients, but handling the bottom line of running a practice.
1 Schoenfeld TJ, Rada P, Pieruzzini PR, Hsueh B, Gould E. Physical exercise prevents stress-induced activation of granule neurons and enhances local inhibitory mechanisms in the dentate gyrus. J Neurosci. 2013 1;33(18):7770-7.
2 Rosen L. “The amazing power of “tech breaks.” Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewired-the-psychology-technology/201105/the-amazing-power-tech-breaks. Published May 2011. Accessed August 2015.