Work-Life Technology Paradox Impacts Work Stress

Photo: Flkr: JonJon2k8

The American working pool has been thrust into what I refer to as “a work-related field of cognitive dissonance.” Stuck in a vacuum of perpetual information overload, courtesy technology and our human response to it, we’re programmed to pay attention to it as there might be important family or work information to respond to. But we’re also pressed to focus on work and excel or suffer potential consequences.

This is the catch-22 at the heart of what I call the Tech-Paradox. The same technology that allows you to be in touch with your children throughout the day is the same as what might deliver that last minute information that can clinch a business deal, or offer up a blood pressure App when we are stressed.

The goal is to leverage technology so it works in your favor. The word leverage is important – because it implies that the digital portals are not evil, but instead can play an evolutionary role in the new world of work. We just have to tune into the right frequency of usage for our own personal needs in the work-life merge.

Embracing our technological devices in healthy ways, monitoring information, and labeling its importance can easily become a full time job.  Quality vs. quantity is the name of the game when it comes to information. The goal is to leverage technology so it works in your favor.The word leverage is important – because it implies that it is not all evil.

In a world  which relies on connectivity, we are charged with developing new skills around time, information and our management and usage of technology devices. In order to swim to the surface we have to start thinking differently about how we consume information that is relevant to us, especially in the context of work. It’s crucial to take the time toward creating  a strategy to manage the Tech Paradox , lest we are consumed by fragmentation, distraction and anxiety.

We are under enormous pressure to perform. To deliver. To excel. We juggle our working and living experience, but often fall into a merry-go-round of stress in what I refer as the  “UPED U” Cycle which I have written about for a few years now and is described below.

In simple terms, “UPED U” is the chaotic cycle we enter when technology pushes our work-life merge over the edge and  “ups” our stress level which can lead  to emotional turmoil, diluted efficiency and less productivity.

The solution – to find creative ways to throw a kink into that cycle.


1.     Unlimited Incoming:

A barrage of information continually comes our way.

2.    Perceived Availability:

We’re all wired to our families, work and communities and everyone else knows you’re tethered to technology so we’ve created the perception that we’re always available.

3.    Expectation of Instant Gratification:

That perceived availability leads to other people’s needs to be attended to. They want to be heard and answered in the moment.

4.    Desire to Deliver and Excel:

Our nature is to not fall short. To nurture and want to please in what is a competitive working environment. To make our boss or clients happy, we desire to deliver and excel to keep up with the Jones’.

5. Unlimited Interruptions:

In order to please everyone at the same time, we are often taken out of the moment, are lead astray from the initial task and surrender to multi-tasking.

The trick is to monitor your incoming, and make concrete choices somewhere in this cycle to stump the system.

Read more about the UPED U Cycle at my post: Work-Life Balance or Tethered to Technology

Where do you stump the UPED U cycle toward better work-life integration and less work stress?


  • Susan Silver

    I gave myself permission to turn off the computer at night. I try very hard not to respond to anyone when I am “offline” (I still go on to watch youtube or netflix). Even in business, I think one day turnaround for a response over social media is not so bad. Sometimes you just have to say you are working on it so they know they are heard.

    • Judy Martin

      Susan, I wonder about that one day turn around. I struggle with it myself. I suppose it depends on the sector of business one is in. It’s such a delicate dance. Thanks for visiting! Judy

    • Judy Martin

      Susan, I really think more now than ever before it;s important for us to articulate our boundaries on communication and our availability. Also as you said, giving ourselves permission to make a choice for silence.. so important!

  • Pingback: Disasters And Digital News: 5 Ways To Cope At Work - Social Workplace | Leadership | Innovation | Careers | HR | Recruiting