Look around; in society, we are consumed by mobile devices. So much of our time is spent browsing social media and checking our emails. In today’s world, you can order, purchase, and pay for just about anything on the world wide web. While convenience and technological advances are always evolving, do you ever wonder how it might affect your life to try to shake things up a little?
I am guilty; I spend way too much time scrolling through my Facebook feed, ogling the latest images on Instagram, and unnecessarily checking my emails on my phone, repetitively, in the hopes of receiving something exciting. I know this directly affects my productivity during the day. Being always connected affects my ability to complete tasks, posture, and, worse, my sleep. How many of you reach for your phone immediately upon waking? Per a study conducted, the average American checks his or her phone around 46 times a day. Ironically, I’m sharing this message, encouraging you to disconnect via everybody’s favorite technology – the internet! If you are like most people, a digital detox may seem impossible, especially if your work revolves around connectivity. If nothing else, hopefully, you can take a few tips from this and share your experiences.
Everybody is always jumping on the bandwagon to try the hottest juice cleanse or the next best diet to hit the market. Enter the next best thing: digital detox. Follow the simple tips below, and disconnect to reconnect.
Set your goals and intentions
Decide on a timeline. If your work revolves around connectivity, a month-long digital detox may not be for you. Be realistic with your boundaries, and decide what devices you want to disconnect from. It may be all of your devices or just your smartphone at first. A good place to start would be keeping all devices out of the bedroom. If you count on an alarm to wake you up, go back to using an alarm clock. Unsubscribe from those emails, and turn off all push notifications. You do not need to know when someone has liked your photograph on Instagram or when you have received a new friend request on Facebook. These are unnecessary distractions.
Instead of reaching for one of your digital devices to fill in the time or turning on the TV, take the time to learn how to entertain yourself again. Be productive with your day. Invest in real conversations and time with friends. Nothing is worse than enjoying good company with friends and family only to be interrupted by digital devices. Create a “no phone at dinner” rule, and place all devices in a drawer until the meal has ended. Unfortunately, just about anything can be found on Google these days, sometimes destroying the substance of a conversation. Listen to each other and interact with each other. These are the conversations people actually enjoy.
Be mindful of your time and of others. Welcome those undisturbed moments. After all, boredom can often fuel some pretty remarkable creativity and productive ideas.
Allow your employees time to disconnect; it has been shown to increase productivity on work projects and reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace.
This one hits hard for me. Sometimes it seems impossible to calm a screaming teething or sick child down, and you know the only thing that will work is the favorite movie on your phone. Again, I am guilty; I’ve been there, yet somehow I always find myself thinking about what my mum would have done. They didn’t have smartphones with movies and apps to entertain children. I’m not perfect, but I do my best. Replace screen time with activity. For older kids, limit their use of devices to a certain amount of time per day. When out, encourage them to engage in conversation and to be present. Have dinner with family, with no connectivity, perhaps integrating the “no smartphones or devices” rule in the bedroom also.
It may not be as simple as a digital detox, in the long run; it will take changing social values, but it can’t hurt to try. Set your goal, intentions, boundaries, and timeline, and see what happens.
It’s known that people make the most significant changes in their lives with a clearer mind.