Will some kind soul help you?
5th January 2022
How not to provide intensive driving courses
19th January 2022

Give your mind a rest

Our use of technology in everyday living adversely affects our emotional well-being – digital dementia.

Sometimes, our minds need some downtime to recharge. A pause, so to speak. Space to fill with nothing, blank, pondering. Our obsession with technology deprives us of these small yet vital moments to maintain good mental health.

As driving instructors, we are particularly vulnerable because, as we all know, legally, we are duty-bound to disengage with technology while supervising learner drivers. We have no choice in the matter. Therefore, it is all the more tempting to engage with technology when we have those breaks in our working day.

Monitoring social media, replying to customers booking requests, answering queries from prospective customers; all of this is being done in our supposed downtime. We are working with learners in the driving school car, then we are working interacting with customers – where is our downtime?!


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When you work in an office environment or factory or even in retail, there are little snippets of time that you get to relax momentarily. You lose yourself for a minute or two while drinking a coffee. You might deliberately go to a ‘safe space’ where you know you will be free of interruption and switch off from the hustle-bustle. But the problem with driving instructors is this continual beating of the drum, where you travel to a pupil, immediately they come to your car, you complete a training session, they leave your vehicle, and you then travel to the next. When you get to nearby the next pupil’s home, you inevitably pull over and guess what, catch up on everything via technology. We don’t realise that this is happening, but it is.

When you get home after a busy day, guess what happens, that phone keeps on notifying you of the next customer to contact. Customers want to change training times, cancel, postpone, reschedule, they want to pick up from somewhere different, or 5 minutes later than was planned. On and on it goes, never-ending.

The latest research suggests that even when you are NOT on your phone in a moment of downtime, the quality of the cognitive capacity is affected by the brain just knowing of the phone’s presence and desperately trying not to look at it.

The brain needs to switch off entirely to recharge, and this constant hum of activity with phones is not healthy.

When we look at our phones, the visuals get interpreted mainly in the back of the brain, so the front of our brains are underused. The front of the brain is where we manage our emotions, motivation levels, memory and social behaviours. The very things that many instructors complain about as being missing in interactions with younger pupils.

A recent report from GlobalWebIndex 2020 suggests that people now spend on average 2 hours and 24 minutes a day on social networks and messaging apps.


One of the best solutions to this problem is that BIG TOM Admin do all of those customer interactions on your behalf. We act as a defensive barrier between customers and you, the instructor.

How’s that for peace of mind?


But there is a range of things that all of us could start incorporating into our daily lives. For seven days, monitor and record how much time you spend on your phone – there is typically an option on the drop-down menu that will accurately show you this data. Once you start to notice this, you may well be surprised.

Walk more. Breathe in the fresh air. Look up and notice the small details nature provides. Smile more, interact more with strangers – they will nearly always respond kindly. Get used to not knowing where your phone is, put it down in safe places and forget about it, but literally, forget about it. Breathe – regular, even breaths. Pay attention to your breathing. Meditate. Record how well you are sleeping – don’t take your phone to bed, leave it downstairs [yes, you really can do that if you try].

This franchise values maintaining health emotional wellbeing for instructors and pupils.  For a Franchise Information Memorandum, email us: recruit@BIGTOM.org.uk