Like many of you, my digital devices are a place where many of the roads in my life meet. I use a digital calendar for work, networking, and family. And many of my favorite hobbies take place on the same screen that I answer work emails and schedule doctor's appointments. Many of my self-care tools (mediation, planner, and reminder apps) are one tap away from the very things that can often overwhelm me.
While digital self-care is always on my mind, it's all the more present as we head into an academic break. This is a time that we all need to rest, refresh, and rejuvenate. We need to scale back, step away, and shift gears. And if you're like me, your digital device can be both your best tool and greatest obstacle.
Here are a few ways you can take care of your digital self:
Set boundaries. It may not be reasonable that your digital self can step away entirely over an academic break, but you can create, reinforce, and expand your boundaries. Block off "in" and "out" time on your calendar, make them viewable, and communicate your schedule to anyone who may be contacting you. When you're "in," be "in." When you're "out," be "out."
Out-of-office. Many of us may already use the out-of-office to communicate our schedule and boundaries to others, but it can also be used to help funnel requests to available resources. For faculty, you may want to include information for students about common break questions such as checking grades and scheduling classes. For support staff, you may want to include links to self-service resources. For administrations, you
Offload work apps. Often work apps get added to our personal devices for convenience, but that convenience can become a constant reminder of work that needs to be done while we're out of office. As part of your semester winding down, offload your work apps (and maybe consider not downloading them again?).
Shuffle things around. Not feeling ready to hit delete on your work apps? Maybe take the smaller set of turning off your notifications, especially the intrusive ones. You should also put all of your work apps on a separate page of your device so that you are not tempted to tap on them when you're accessing your other apps.
Forget the charger. Sometimes the easiest solution is also the best. If you really want a full-proof way to keep yourself off of your work device, forget the charger at the office. If don't think you can walk away without it, bring it home, but only charge the device for when you want to be "in" the office and leave it off the charger when you're "out" to avoid the temptation to check.
Taking care of your digital self means taking care of your whole self. Finding ways to unplug from our devices, apps, and obligations during a break can help us to refresh ourselves and reconnect with our passion for education.
What are some of the ways you take care of your digital self? Drop them in the comments or share them on Twitter and tag us @oltoolkit!