If you spend too much time staring at your screen you can suffer from screen fatigue. This is caused by repetitive eye movement and can give you blurred sight or double vision. Screen fatigue is also associated with neck and back pain, headaches and general exhaustion from “information overload” as well as stress. These are signs that you need to take more breaks from your screen – to explore other options.

Seven Screen-Free Ways to Work and Learn
Here are seven ways to move away from the screen and still operate effectively – maybe even more effectively. Apply them where appropriate to vary and energize the way that you work and learn.

1. Talking with Others
Before you fire off an email or instant message, consider phoning the person instead – or even meeting them for a chat, if that’s possible. It’s often a quicker and simpler approach, as well as one that strengthens relationships and adds variety to your day. Talking is particularly important for learning. Explaining an idea to someone is a great way to check that you understand it yourself. And discussions can deepen everyone’s understanding and open up novel ways of thinking.

2. Reading Books, Magazines and Journals
Turning paper pages can make a pleasant change from scrolling down your screen. Consider printing out any documents you’re working on or ordering a physical copy of something you need to read – larger texts are often easier to explore and annotate this way. What’s more, there’s no bright screen to strain your eyes and make your mind race, and no chance of distracting notifications popping up.

3. Listening to Podcasts and Audiobooks
When you access information by listening, you create even more possibilities for where and when you can do it – while walking, driving or cooking, for example. It also gives your eyes a rest and you’ll have the chance to get up from your chair.

4. Doing Hands-on Work
Why not swap the virtual work you do on your screen for something tangible from time to time? This might be a practical task that’s part of your job, or a physical process such as putting your designs onto paper. It’s often a good way to move around your workspace, make contact with others, and use a range of different skills.

5. Using Puzzles and Games
Research shows that even a brief diversion from your main task can improve your focus when you come back to it. When you need a break from your screen, a physical game or puzzle can be a great way to rest your eyes and wake up your brain. If you’re learning something specific, see if there are any ready-made activities to help – or create your own. For example, you could write questions and answers about the topic you’re studying on file cards, then try answering them at random.

6. Writing in Notebooks, Diaries and Journals
Experiment with different types of books and pens and take them to locations that suit you. A paper diary gives you more scope to be imaginative when you’re scheduling and planning for future events – and recording your reflections afterward. And journaling  is a great way to work on many different aspects of your personal and professional growth, with no screen in sight.

7. Making Time to Reflect and Plan
When you need to think about your work, it’s often best to get away from all the distractions of your screen. Try to find opportunities to sit somewhere else, take a walk, ride your bike or do whatever helps you to think clearly and creatively. And when you’re learning, periods of reflection are vital for embedding the information in your memory. So take breaks from your screen to reflect on how much you can remember, and to plan what you’ll do with the things you’ve learned.