Adeela Warley: It's a battle with busy in the permanently 'on' culture

Turning off email alerts, dispensing with perfection, focusing on the task in hand: all can help our wellbeing at work and home

Adeela Warley
Adeela Warley

As the days lengthen and my garden bursts with life, I feel a surge of energy and optimism. Contact with nature boosts our wellbeing and can shape our minds, bodies and behaviour.

Great communicators understand and increasingly deploy that in their approaches. But in our digital-dominated lives it’s been taken to extremes, and the more troubling aspects to hit the headlines (so far) have exposed tech giants’ use of psychological insights to fuel our addiction to digital content and to influence our behaviour.

A growing body of evidence also points to the impact of digital light on our natural sleep patterns. It adds up to an unhealthy relationship with tech. Among the tech sector’s own responses is Google’s launch of its "digital wellbeing" tools, designed to help us track, limit and even turn off our devices to claw back some down-time.

The 24/7, permanently "on" culture is one of many pressures charity comms professionals report. Keeping up with the pace of change and delivering against ever higher organisational ambition – seldom matched with extra resources – make it all too common to feel busy without making an impact.

At CharityComms we too battle with busy. But we took time out to road test a workshop borrowing from the mindset and tools of hacking. In a series of sprints, we defined our personal values, our purpose and vision, and learnt how to super-charge our strengths and fix bad habits – it was unusual but fun, accelerated learning.

My to-do-list includes: turning off email alerts (easy); aiming for good enough, not perfection (hard); focusing, not multitasking (harder); and dimming my phone to aid a good night’s sleep. What habits will you change to boost your wellbeing and get back in charge of your day?

Adeela Warley is chief executive of CharityComms

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