Do You Need A Digital Detox?
Before the advent of the internet, investing and trading was only really available to a bunchy of lucky individuals on Wall Street, but we’re now firmly entrenched in the 21st century and the digital zeitgeist is very real and certainly here to stay… which means that anyone who is so inclined can trade all sorts of commodities very easily indeed from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to all this wonderful technology we have at our veritable fingertips.
There’s now very big business to be done in the field of fintech – or financial technology – with all sorts of new and innovative tools constantly coming to the fore to help improve and automate the delivery of financial services of all kinds.
From a forex trading perspective, all these advancements in technology mean that trading is now more efficient and far more fast-paced than ever before, with traders enjoying unparalleled access to highly accurate market data visualisations, fast and secure methods of payment, demo accounts so they can hone their craft before trading for real and so on.
Just take a look at the rise of high-frequency trading as an example of how fintech is having an impact on the forex market. Here, trading is done using powerful computer programs that can carry out large numbers of transactional orders in fractions of a second, with algorithms analysing lots of different markets and executing orders based on various market conditions.
Of course, while there may be some advantages to working in this way, what is important to note in this instance is that this kind of technology won’t actually help you improve, develop and grow as a trader since it removes the human element from the process.
If you do want to be a professional and lucrative forex trader – and really get to know your craft – it’s important to strike a balance between your own personal skills and aptitudes and the technology you use to help you get the job done.
That being said, what is certainly true for traders is that you do need to be plugged into devices of various kinds regularly in order to carry out your trades.
You’ll need a computer or a laptop, a tablet most likely, you’ll definitely need your phone – and you’ll need to be switched on for hours each day so you can track the markets, see what’s happening and make decisions regarding your trades based on what you see taking place. Without technology, trading these days would be impossible.
However, what’s also essential for you to bear in mind is that being constantly plugged in can start to take its toll on your mental, emotional and even physical health… so don’t be afraid to ask yourself this one simple question: Do I need a digital detox?
What is a digital detox?
Being connected all the time does have its benefits, naturally – but it also has its drawbacks. A 2017 study carried out by the American Psychological Association revealed that almost one-fifth of the US population considers technology to be a source of stress, with 43 per cent admitting that they check their messages, emails and social media accounts constantly.
In terms of your health, constant use of technology can have some relatively serious implications, mentally, emotionally and physically.
These range from feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety to eyestrain, poor posture, difficulty sleeping, reduced physical activity, low creativity, lack of attention, poor performance at work… and even technology addiction.
All of this probably sounds quite terrible but the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to help keep these problems at bay, while still ensuring that you’re able to trade successfully – and this is where the concept of the digital detox really comes into its own.
Essentially, all you need to do is set aside a certain amount of time where you avoid all exposure to digital devices. The aim here is to destress, refresh and rejuvenate, and immerse yourself in other activities so you can strike a healthier balance between the hours you spend in front of a screen and your time away from your gadgets.
What’s most important during your screen-free time is that you engage in lots of other activities that give you a solid break from tech, so make sure that you plan lots of leisure pursuits that don’t feature technology at all.
Getting out in nature would be particularly beneficial, as would enjoying regular consistent exercise… both of which will really help you be more productive and ultimately more successful when you do return to the trading floor.
Giving yourself a set amount of time each day where you avoid screens of all kinds is certainly wise, but there are also lots of other little tricks you can try that will help you avoid technological intrusion, allowing you to only use your devices when you actually need them, rather than giving into a compulsion and picking them up for no reason.
Set to Do Not Disturb
If you feel as though your phone or another device is constantly pinging at you, it may well contribute to any feelings of anxiety that you might be experiencing. Putting your phone on Do Not Disturb can really help you focus on your tasks and not feel as though your attention is constantly being pulled away.
You can set it so that certain people can still get through, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything important – but you may be surprised at just how much more relaxed you feel when you don’t have your devices constantly clamouring for your attention.
No tech in the bedroom
One really simple rule that can help you reduce your screen time is banning technology of all kinds in the bedroom. It’s very common for people to use their phones as an alarm clock but doing so means that you’ll have the temptation right in front of you to start scrolling as soon as your day starts.
But by leaving your phone elsewhere overnight means you’re more likely to enjoy better quality sleep – and you also increase your chances of intimacy with your partner, so your relationship could improve… and this is sure to have a knock-on effect for trading, since a happy trader is usually a more productive one!
Spring clean your socials
Social media is a really useful resource for staying connected with friends and family, as well as keeping up to date with what’s going on in the wider world, but it can also have an impact on your mental and emotional health and wellbeing if you’re not careful.
The best way to make sure that your social media platforms aren’t going to be detrimental to your health is to give them a bit of a spring clean every now and again, unfollowing any accounts that could potentially lead to negative thinking.
A good rule of thumb to also consider adopting in this regard is to immediately unfollow anyone or any account that makes you feel bad about yourself or which leads you into a thought spiral. If you use this strategy, you’ll soon have a well-curated digital space that adds to your mental health, rather than detracts from it.
How to tell if you need a digital detox
Official stats show that, globally, people spend on average six hours and 58 minutes looking at screens each day, with daily screen time rising by almost 50 minutes a day since 2013.
Signs that you may need a digital detox include feeling anxious or stressed out if you can’t find your phone, the compulsion to check your devices every couple of minutes or so, feeling depressed or anxious after being on social media sites and being overly concerned with the comments, likes and reshares on the posts you make.
Excessive fear of missing out can also be a big indicator that you might need to switch off for a while – and it’s certainly key to remember that you aren’t going to be missing out on anything at all if you do put your devices out of reach for an hour or two.
You may find it hard to really commit to your detox at first and, of course, you’ll need to factor in screen time if it’s a necessary part of your job (such as if you’re a successful forex trader), so just make sure you’re realistic with your ambitions and set yourself up for a win, rather than a loss. It’s all about making sure your detox works in line with your schedule and the rest of your life.
If anything, it’s certainly worth giving it a go to see what kind of positive impact it could have on your general sense of wellbeing, as well as your performance on the trading floor.
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