It’s the great irony of modern life that many of us can’t wait to get home from work so we can sit in front of a computer screen and scroll through a new set of information and personal messages. Whether you’re putting in extra hours for work, you have your own business on the side or you’re just hooked on social media, that warming glow of the laptop screen has replaced the relaxing simplicity of the fireplace. It might not even feel like work because you choose to do it and you’re in the comfort of your own home, but the cumulative effect of never logging off can take its toll.
There are plenty of scientifically backed reasons why detoxing from technology over the weekend is a good idea, but first and foremost you need to consider your health. Those who work a second job from home are 61 percent more likely to get less than six hours sleep, which increases your risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Working in front of a computer comes with the specific added problems of increased sedentary time (shown to reduce lifespan) and eye strain, which can lead to glaucoma and even blindness. Suddenly, going for a walk or taking on a new sport sounds like a productive alternative.
Taking time for a real weekend away from the spreadsheets and emails can actually boost your productivity. You offset the chances of having to take an extended break due to stress; you can stimulate your imagination and creativity by taking in new surroundings; and exercise will keep up your morale and give your mind a chance to engage in a little “wakeful rest”—required brain processing time to keep your cognitive levels functioning at their best.
If you’re not yet convinced that it’s time to reach for the “off” switch on Friday, check out the infographic below, which puts some of the relaxation methods in a scientific context. Your laptop will always be waiting for you on Monday!