10 Mar Digital detox is essential self care for entrepreneurs
It seems like it’s never been more popular to be an entrepreneur and there’s a positive boom in cool start-ups. And despite the bricks and mortar emphasis of shows like The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den, increasing numbers of those start-ups are internet-based, operating entirely online.
If you’re an entrepreneur in this type of businesses you not only use technology, you’re totally reliant on it. For you, regularly switching off via a digital detox is even more crucial than for those climbing the corporate ladder – to keep you from burning out, in good health, and performing at your peak. After all, your new business totally relies on you.
So what is it that makes you as an entrepreneur more likely to need a digital detox than the rest of us?
Entrepreneurs are more at risk from digital burnout
Most of us have a degree of dependence on our digital devices, but for entrepreneurs, it’s much harder to gain control as digital burnout can be an occupational hazard. Entrepreneurial spark is a wonderful thing but when that spark becomes an obsession it can all too easily lead to burnout. Excessive work load, long hours and the worry that comes with nurturing a new business inevitably takes a toll. With your passion and drive for your business to succeed being one of your most valuable assets, protecting your health as an entrepreneur is vital. If you start performing under par due to burnout, your burgeoning business could burn out too.
Entrepreneurs find themselves trying to multitask
Entrepreneurs, trying to keep staff costs low and taking multiple roles on themselves, inevitably find themselves trying to ‘multitask’. But entrepreneurship is not based on mastering the art of multitasking insists entrepreneur Sonia Kapadia. Focusing on one thing at a time and doing that thing well is what entrepreneurs should be doing. Easy access to multiple digital devices is what encourages attempts at multitasking but multitasking is a myth, and it’s essentially causing entrepreneurs to switch focus on tasks rather than being able to do multiple tasks at once. In The Myth of Multitasking, author Dave Crenshaw explains:
“Around the end of the twentieth century, some wordsmith saw the connection between our increasingly hectic world and the world of the computer. A catchword was born.
Newspapers began peppering their articles with the word. Talk shows hosts began using it with frequency. Magazines began publishing articles about how to multitask more effectively.
Multitasking quickly became as popular and accepted as the automobile and the hamburger.”
But instead of multitasking efficiently reducing your workload and helping you to speed through your business to-do list, it’s actually harming your productivity as an entrepreneur. The problem is not about the particular tasks you attempt but about the ‘splintered’ attention you experience as you try and stretch your attention across those tasks, resulting in distinctly below average results.
Entrepreneurs feel that they have to be constantly connected
Entrepreneurs as a group are exposed to situations which are known to trigger high amounts of stress, including high work loads, unpredictable environments, financial constraints and higher levels of responsibility.
Naturopathic doctor and entrepreneur Carissa Doherty explains that entrepreneurs particularly feel the pressure to be always available. The option to be permanently available is enabled by constant access to work email and messages via smartphones. As an entrepreneur you can feel the need to constantly check all your digital devices, not appreciating that all the intrusions are shrinking your attention span, increasing your stress and ultimately impacting the quality of your work.
Co-Founder and CEO Michael Salem of Vorex, says he gets “1000 messages per day” and explains how overwhelmed he gets. “Responding is a daily thing, 24 hours a day.” He found he started to even take calls in bed which then prevented him from getting a proper nights sleep. With a deterioration in his health, as a result of not being able to disconnect from work, he put on weight and began to suffer with anxiety – before he learnt how to switch off (quite literally) from his digital devices and his work.
Spending time away from digital devices from time to time is important for all of us to recharge but for you as an entrepreneur it could be absolutely vital in helping you to recharge your battery and come back to your demanding new business refreshed. Taking the first step is usually the most difficult but going on a digital detox retreat will enable you to fully benefit from a continuous period of off-screen time.