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5 Compelling Reasons to Consider Unplugging From Technology

You're right to sometimes ignore texts and email in your inbox. Here are five research-backed arguments that support unplugging from technology.

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You might be more efficient

If you think that checking your work email, texting friends about their day, and gobbling down dinner at the same time indicates how capable
and “on it” you are, you might be wrong. Constant
multitasking can make your brain less efficient, The New York Times has reported. The National Institute of Drug Abuse conducted a study that showed checking your phone can have the same effect as drugs or sex and can be as equally counterproductive in excess. Try: Leave your phone in another room during dinner, and enjoy the food and conversation instead.

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You could feel more creative

Although you might think losing your connection to work will negatively affect your professional performance, research
suggests that unlimited exposure to electronic devices (whether for work or leisure) actually stunts creativity. According to the science journal PLOS One, a four-day vacation away from electronics was linked to 50 percent higher scores on tests of creativity. Try: Establish electronics boundaries on your days off, like leaving your
laptop at home or reducing the times you check your phone.

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You might be less of a jerk

A study from the University of Maryland found that frequent social media users are less likely to pursue prosocial activities offline, which could make these users “jerks,” Time reported, and researchers found that frequent cell phone use can be linked to selfishness. You might not feel less social or more self-centered after a quick check-in on Twitter or Facebook, but a break allows you to focus on non-virtual relationships. Try: Participate in a social media fast with a friend, or limit your social-media time.

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You’ll have better relationships with your coworkers

Ninety-three percent of human communication consists of nonverbal body language, according to Susan Tardanico, CEO of the Authentic Leadership Alliance, a leadership and communications consultancy, on Forbes.com. This kind of expression, like with your hands or face, gets lost through a device. Try: So others understand you and that your messages are effective, connect in person. Swing by a colleague’s desk to troubleshoot a problem instead of six emails back and forth, and limit phone, email, and text correspondence to conversations that don’t involve emotions.

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You’ll boost your attention span

According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the average worker spends 28 percent of his/her work week checking email. That translates into about 13 hours of clicking and reading through messages—time that could be spent on more productive tasks. Try: To maximize focus, avoid checking your phone or email when you’re dedicated to a specific project, or only answer emails at two designated times throughout the day.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest