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5 Ways to Reduce Your Technology Anxiety

Technology

5 Ways to Reduce Your Technology Anxiety

Bentley University professor shares advice on how to deal with tech angst.

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PreparedU

We would like to think that technology just makes us smarter -- how-to-read apps for toddlers; foreign language translators for a vacation in Spain; Google search for do-it-yourself home projects. But how do we deal with the angst it causes?

“From a behavioral standpoint, we need to understand the dynamic and the way in which rapid technological changes affect social and cognitive behavior,” says Bentley University professor Greg Hall. His Cyberpsychology course explores how the pace at which technology advances -- without giving us a chance to adapt -- affects our sense of self.

Learn about the seven ways technology is affecting you.

Hall isn’t anti-technology -- he actually recognizes several benefits: faster cognitive development, better teaching tools, improved communication and more availability of data for research. But he approaches with caution, as society has become consumed with posting too many details (look what I made for dinner!), embarrassed when they’re not tagged in a photo, or infuriated when they don’t get an instant response to a text.

Dealing with the anxiety of always being connected, says Hall, is about learning how to balance technology with your career and life. He offers five simple mindsets that can help:

 

Phone fatigue? Email exhaustion? Here are 5 ways to deal with tech-induced anxiety.

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  1. Stop Counting
    Don’t judge your self-worth on how many “likes” you have. According to a special report by CNN (#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens) teens’ popularity is under constant public scrutiny -- based on how many comments and followers they have on social media such as Instagram and Twitter. It starts as early as middle school, but adults are guilty too. (How many times have you checked your posts today?)
     
  2. Turn It Off
    Some companies are urging employees not to answer texts and email after hours. NPR reported that businesses are hanging up on voicemail: JPMorgan Chase boosted employee morale by cancelling voicemail -- saving the company money ($10 per employee per month) and lowering pent up angst. Productivity and job performance have been found to increase if you take a vacation; and that means turning on your email auto-reply message, and not checking. Really.
     
  3. Get Uncomfortable
    Instead of texting or emailing, pick up the phone; or better yet, meet in person. You’ll be amazed at what you can pick up by someone’s body language, and how comfortable you will become by “practicing” face-to-face interaction and conflict resolution.
     
  4. Appreciate Knowledge
    There’s a huge amount of information available, but the difficulty is figuring out how to clearly differentiate between information and knowledge. Most anyone can access information, but do they have the knowledge to turn that into a coherent message that will benefit the institution? This is particularly key when it comes to your career.
     
  5. Act your Age
    Generational technological ability creates a lot of anxiety, particularly among older and younger co-workers. It goes back to the sense of self: ‘If I’m not as knowledgeable about marketing with social media, then I’m expendable.’ Embrace your age, but try not to be embarrassed or let it hinder your learning.


“Self-worth should be based upon your interpersonal relations, values and goals,” Hall says, “not by the screen staring back at you.”
 

Learn more about Bentley’s PreparedU Project, which examines challenges facing millennial workers, the companies that employ them and the colleges and universities that prepare them.

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