Most if not all of us spend too much time in front of a screen. Computers, smartphones and tablets play an essential part in our daily lives and as a result, our relationship with technology can be bittersweet. As great as it is to have all of the information we ever needed right at our fingertips, our health and productivity depend on our ability to unplug.

Between working in a digital age and personal time spent on mobile devices, we can also be constantly tempted to check social media feeds and often fall down the rabbit hole of clickbait. Before you know it, sixty minutes have passed and you’re wondering where the time went.

If you are staring at a screen for long hours at a time, you might suffer some ill effects such as eye-strain, blurred vision and even headaches, with over-staring even leading to sleep disorders. This can be categorised as screen-fatigue.

While the internet can be one of the sources that is leading to screen-fatigue, in this case it is also great source of solutions to the problem.

In this case, there are many tools specifically developed to help you avoid over-watching a monitor screen.

Some automatically adjust the brightness and colours of your screen so that it’s comfortable for your eyes, and some just remind you to get up and refocus.

Here are 5 Tools Designed to Prevent Screen Fatigue & Boost Employee Productivity:

  1. f.lux: Research shows that that blue light emitted from screens and monitors can interrupt sleep patterns. If you are on your phone or computer well into the evening, or close to bedtime, you may have experienced this firsthand. f.lux is a browser extension that adjusts the colour of your computer’s display to adapt to the time of day i.e. warm at night and sunlight during the day. By reducing the harsh blue glow at night, f.lux may help you power down and fall asleep more easily, especially if you find you’ve stayed up too late working or checking Facebook.
    FYI: the new iPhone iOS has Night Shift built in that you can turn on to automatically adjust the screen after sunset
  2. StayFocusd: How much time do you think you or your employees have lost to time-wasting websites? Has your team got a problem with procrastination and “accidentally” lose hours of productivity to news and entertainment websites and apps? It’s so easy to say you’ll only spend five minutes reading that one news article or taking an online survey. The StayFocusd Chrome extension is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.
  3. Time Out: For those on a Mac, the Time Out app help to prevent you from over-straining yourself in front of the computer. On a regular it will gently remind you to take a break basis by dimming your computer’s screen and displaying how long the break should be taking. You can configure the break as ‘Normal’ break (typically 10 minutes every hour) or ‘Micro’ break (a very brief pause of 15seconds every 15 minutes). The colour and transparency can also be adjusted to suit your comfort level.
  4. Pocket: How many time have you experienced this? Someone shares an interesting article, that article then has another interesting link and so on. All of a sudden you find yourself consuming a never-ending string of suggested readings. You then look at the clock only to wonder where the time went! Pocket will help you to save these Web pages, videos or articles so you don’t have to fall down the rabbit hole and you can freely visit them at a later time. Pocket integrates with most browsers and will sync your saved content across devices.
  5. eyeCare: Another Google Chrome extension is eyeCare. This vision protection extension notifies you regularly when it’s time to stop staring at your computer or smartphone screen so that you may rest your eyes.  It even provides suggestions for what to do during your breaks to minimize discomfort.

Modern business in this technical age don’t always follow the typical work schedule of 9-5.

With increased IT mobility, employees are easily spending more time staring at their screens.

In implementing the preceding list of apps and extensions into your work and personal life, you will most likely find yourself more alert and productive at work.

Note: If you choose to use these extensions, most are available across all mobile devices, but some also require the Chrome browser. Keep in mind that there are multiple equivalents of each platform out there for whatever browser or smart device that you are using.

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