For many small business owners, the challenge of running a business while still having enough time for friends and family can be a struggle. Some experts debate the very concept of “work/life balance,” but there are also plenty of advantages to unplugging for a while and spending time connecting with your loved ones. This Valentine’s Day, we encourage you to go offline for a bit, and engage with the people in your life. It will remind you why you work so hard in the first place, and may offer a host of other benefits, such as:

  • Better sleep. One study of more than 4,000 young adults indicated that participants with high and medium levels of computer use also exhibited higher levels of sleep disturbances, particularly among men.
  • Improved focus and performance. Cell phone use increases distraction and decreases performance when multitasking. A pair of additional studies has further indicated that the “mere presence” of a cell phone “may be sufficiently distracting to produce diminished attention and deficits in task performance, especially for tasks with greater attentional and cognitive demands.”
  • Being more altruistic. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland concluded that cell phone use influences altruistic pro-social behaviors. The study found that after short periods of cell phone use, participants were less inclined to volunteer for community service, as well as being less inclined to solve word problems that would result in donations being made to charity. Researchers believe that these behavioral differences are caused because cell phones help people connect and feel as if they belong, and that created sense of belonging reduces the motivation to engage in other empathetic behaviors.
  • Improved quality of life. In a research project by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda, University of Maryland students were asked to disconnect from devices and all forms of media for 24 hours. As a result, many reported feeling more “relaxed, care-free [and] peaceful.” Students also reported more time for studying, better focus in class, and feeling more productive overall. They also reported more face-to-face interactions with friends.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the team at RingCentral. Now unplug yourself and go spend some time with the people you love. In the meantime, we’ll keep all your messages safe, and ready for when you come back.