What image comes to your mind when you think of Christmas?
Is it a chaotic scene of Christmas dinner preparations? Perhaps it’s the office Christmas party, or watching your children shine in their school’s nativity play, or sitting in excited anticipation as they hastily open their presents on Christmas morning?
For myself, it’s the picture of a Christmas jigsaw puzzle in front of a warm, crackling fire.
In reality, many people – busy professionals in particular – find themselves distracted in these important moments. Despite looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the holidays, many confine themselves to the limbo between being out of office and on call.
I have caught myself checking emails on Christmas day, whilst the loved ones around me chattered.
Of course, there are some people, such as those in essential services, who have no choice but to work during the festive season. But many of us find ourselves distracted for no real reason, other than an inability to switch off.
It has been proven by various studies across the globe that mobile phones are both addictive and a cause of stress and anxiety.
I’m sure it has happened to you before, as it has happened to myself – when you see the light from your phone flash or hear the sound of a notification, you feel yourself itching to read it. Even though you tell yourself not to look, eventually you give in to the temptation, only to find it is nothing of importance. Soon enough, you’re 10 minutes into scrolling through your emails, your newsfeed and anything else that is unimportant in that moment.
Beside the wasted time and distraction from what is happening around you, the psychological grind of being unable to switch off from work and your devices takes a toll, and can leave you depleted.
Parents in particular are under pressure to set a good example for their children. The younger generation is often reprimanded for being glued to their devices, but often this is a reflection of their parents own technology addiction.
So, this Christmas, I challenge you to switch your phone off. Leave it in another room altogether if you can. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the ‘ping’ of a notification, or to get lost in work-related ‘what if’ thoughts. Not only will this help you to fully immerse yourself in spending quality time with loved ones, but by switching off during the holiday period, you will provide yourself with a chance to revitalise and therefore set yourself up for better productivity in the long term.