A Balancing Act – Screens!


Ashley McCormick

Illustration by Preston Randall

Within the past year, many work and school-related events  moved online. A laptop can now be a music player, a meeting room and a lecture hall depending on the day. Many people use one device for multiple purposes, which leads to juggling fun and work on a single screen. What happens when you need to balance everything on the same device?

You can start to feel burned out from looking at a screen for so long. Even when you switch to a fun activity, it seems like nothing has changed since you are still looking at the same device. Below are some ways I reduce that burnout:

💻 Setting Aside the Screen

Once you get done with your work for the day, try setting aside that device. This will give your eyes a break from the screen and give you that clocking-out-of-work feeling. It is important to make the distinction between work and free time when you are using one device for both. Using your work device all the time might tempt you to work all the time. You don’t work 24/7! Take time after getting responsibilities done to “clock out,” whether for a dinner break or for the rest of the day.

💻 Make a Designated Work Area

It is tempting to stay in bed and work from there. However, this can lead to accidentally falling asleep or getting off task. Instead, try setting up a designated work area. When you are in this area, whether it be a different room or at a different chair, exclusively do work. This allows you to be in a more productive mindset when you sit down since you will start to subconsciously associate that area with working. 

💻 Turning Things Down or Up

You might tell yourself, “There is no way I can take a break from my laptop right now. I need to work on an assignment, even though my eyes are drying out like a desert.” In these situations, I turn my screen brightness down. It is not a break from the screen entirely, but it does put less strain on my eyes. If I am getting sidetracked, I find some motivational music to listen to and turn it up. Listening to jams gets my spirit up when I am vigorously trying to hit the word count for discussion board posts. 

There is no doubt that many of us spend a substantial amount of time on our devices. However, too much time can lead to burnout, which causes us to feel physically and mentally drained. I hope you try implementing one of these tips the next time you feel screen fatigue.