You may never have a relaxing 3-day weekend again, and it’s not because your boss has a mean-streak. Experts say we’ll get the time off, but odds are, we’ll waste it because we’re addicted to our smartphones, which means work is always just a finger swipe away. But the consequence is - having no downtime hurts our health and brainpower.
In fact, new research shows just how little downtime we have. For example, more than 1 in 3 of us work on weekends - usually for around 5 hours, and usually for free and without so much as a thank you from the boss. And on an average day, we check our phone a whopping 150 times, that’s once every 6 and a half minutes.
So, why are we burning through our precious free time glued to our phones? Laura Vanderkam is the author of “What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekends.” And she says that we feel that we can’t unplug – because if we don’t respond to work emails and texts, we think our employer will hire someone else who will. Vanderkam also says that a lot of us have an inflated sense of importance – and believe the company will suffer unless we instantly respond to around-the-clock messages.
But research shows that constantly being connected boosts stress, and depression, and leads to sleep-deprivation. That’s because we’re in a constant state of mental-emergency, thinking we have to respond instantly.
Another downside of not having downtime? Memory loss. A UC San Francisco study found that new experiences and information won’t get solidified as long-term memories unless our brains have downtime.
So, how can you cure your weekend smartphone addiction? Experts say that going phone-free will probably drive us crazier. Instead, take baby steps. Like go tech-free during dinner, then work yourself up to an evening, a day, and eventually the whole weekend.