If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, or simply someone who’s always on the go, it’s no secret that your cell phone is your lifeblood. It keeps you connected to your work, your employees, and your customers. But what happens when your phone usage goes from being a helpful tool to a full-blown addiction?
Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can occur when you’re overworked or constantly under stress. And while burnout can affect anyone, it’s especially common among entrepreneurs. After all, running a business is no easy feat. There are always deadlines to meet, problems to solve, and new challenges to face. So it’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs find themselves chained to their phones in an effort to stay on top of everything.
But here’s the thing: constantly being glued to your phone can actually be a major contributor to burnout. When you’re always tethered to your device, you never get a chance to unplug and recharge. You’re essentially running on empty all the time, and eventually, that takes a toll on your health and well-being.
How Phone Addiction Leads to Burnout
There are many ways that cell phone addiction can lead to burnout. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
Lowers productivity and reduces creativity
The constant buzz or ping of your smartphone can distract you from important tasks, slow your work, and interrupt those quiet moments that are so crucial to creativity and problem-solving.
Lack of sleep
Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best. But when you’re addicted to your phone, it’s hard to get enough shut-eye. Whether you’re scrolling through social media before bed or answering work emails late into the night, your phone usage is probably keeping you up way past your bedtime. And as anyone who’s ever been sleep-deprived can attest, running on little to no sleep is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you be grumpy and irritable, but you’ll also have a hard time concentrating and making decisions. Basically, you’ll be too exhausted to function properly—not exactly ideal for someone who’s trying to run a business!
Less time for relaxation and self-care
In addition to causing insomnia, cell phone addiction can also lead to burnout by taking away time that could be used for relaxation or self-care. When you’re always working or checking your phone, there’s no time for anything else. You don’t get to take breaks throughout the day, take vacations when you need them, or even just spend some time relaxing at home with family or friends. As a result, you become increasingly stressed and overwhelmed—two more factors that contribute to burnout.
Increases loneliness and depression
While it may seem that losing yourself online will temporarily make feelings such as loneliness, depression, and boredom evaporate into thin air, it can actually make you feel even worse. A 2014 study found a correlation between high social media usage and depression and anxiety. Users, especially teens, tend to compare themselves unfavorably with their peers on social media, promoting feelings of loneliness and depression.
One researcher found that the mere presence of a phone in a workplace tends to make people more anxious and perform poorly on given tasks. The heavier a person’s phone use, the greater the anxiety they experienced.
Using a smartphone for work often means work bleeds into your home and personal life. You feel the pressure to always be on, never out of touch from work. This need to continually check and respond to emails can contribute to higher stress levels and even burnout.
So how can you overcome your phone addiction and avoid entrepreneur burnout?
Set designated times for phone use
If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your phone when you should be working, set designated times for when you can check your email, social media, etc. For example, you could allow yourself to check your phone for 15 minutes every 2 hours. This will help you stay focused on work while still giving you a break to relax.
Keep your phone out of sight
When you’re trying to focus on work, keep your phone out of sight. This could mean putting it in another room or turning it off altogether. If you have trouble resisting the urge to check your phone, keeping it out of sight will make it easier for you to focus on what you’re doing.
Take breaks away from your phone
Make sure to take breaks away from your phone throughout the day. This could involve going for a walk outside or reading a book. Once again, the goal is to give yourself time to relax so that you don’t end up burning out. If you find yourself glued to your phone even during your breaks, that’s a sign that you need to cut back on your screen time overall.
Limit social media use
Social media can be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to phone addiction. If you find yourself wasting hours on Instagram or Facebook, it might be time to limit your social media use. One way to do this is by deleting the apps from your phone or setting restrictions on when you can access them. This will help you break the habit of mindlessly scrolling through social media when you should be focusing on work or relaxing.
Don’t bring your phone to bed
To get the best night’s sleep, leave devices out of your bedroom. Studies demonstrate that their blue light can disturb a peaceful slumber if used within two hours before bedtime. So instead of curling up with an eReader at night, try picking a paperback – not only will you adhere to these guidelines but also remember more from what you read!
Swap out smartphone use for healthy activities
It’s easy to get sidetracked by our phones when feeling bored or lonely, but there are so many great ways to be productive and connect with people without scrolling a feed! Make it your mission to try some mindful meditation, read something inspiring or head outside and chat up an old friend – experiencing life beyond the screen has never been easier.
If you find yourself struggling with burnout, it’s important to take a step back and assess your lifestyle. Are you addicted to your cell phone? If so, it might be time to cut back on your usage and give yourself some much-needed time away from screens. By disconnecting from your device (and the constant demands of work), you’ll give yourself the opportunity to recharge and come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes next.
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