If you’ve ever holidayed without an internet connection or using your phone (e.g. a cruise) there’s nothing like a few weeks with no connectivity to make you realise how much time you’re losing to your digital devices.
It’s easy to disconnect when you’re on holiday but how can you manage our technology in day-to-day life so you’re not a slave to your phone and other devices? Going “cold turkey” (i.e. suddenly withdrawing from technology altogether) might work for stopping smoking or other addictive behaviours, but it’s not reasonable to go to this extreme when it comes to reducing your reliance on technology.
In this article, we’ve put together a list of easy, quick and effective steps to digital detoxing in moderation…and it doesn’t have to hurt much at all.
Why a digital detox?
Many of us use our devices, particularly our smartphones, when we’re with family, friends, attending entertainment events, dining, at work, on breaks, and endless other situations. However, it’s important to impose some boundaries upon yourself for your technology usage so that you can better live in the moment and relax.
- Turn off unnecessary notifications and alerts.Review your notification/alert settings and switch off notifications for all of your apps except the ones that have important messages you want to be notified of.
- Spring-clean your apps on a regular basis.Think of cleansing your device as you would clear unnecessary items from your desk. Be ruthless. Pick the apps you think you spend too much time on and, if they are not adding meaning or value to your life, and delete them.
- Stop multi-screening. As an example, do you watch TV with your device at your side, sending and replying to texts while trying to watch the latest Judge Judy or America’s Got Talent? Enjoy the show. Or enjoy the texting. Don’t enjoy both at the same time.
- Monitor your screen time.There are many apps that will monitor how you use your devices (e.g. amount of time spent on social media sites, amount of time spent on productivity). Apple, for example, provides “Screentime” as part of its latest operating system updates, which allows you to set a benchmark for yourself of your current screen time. With this information at hand, you can set a goal for a gradual downward trend of your non-productive screen time.
- Have lunch without your phone.Your lunch hour is a time to socialize, face to face, with co-workers, or take a break from the office altogether and just enjoy your surroundings and your meal.
- Text less; talk more.The next time you feel the urge to text someone, pick up the phone instead and give them a call. It’s quicker to text, and easier, but the best things in life take time and effort. Aren’t your friends worth the extra effort?
To learn more about digital detoxing and related technology information, the following resources may be of interest.
- Digital detox vacations: 5 spots where you can leave your phone behind. CTV News. https://www.ctvnews.ca/5things/digital-detox-vacations-5-spots-where-you-can-leave-your-phone-behind-1.2272736
- Your Totally Manageable, 10-Step Guide to Doing a Digital Detox. Health. https://www.health.com/mind-body/digital-detox
- 5 Ways to do a digital detox. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/click-here-happiness/201801/5-ways-do-digital-detox
- How to quit your tech: a beginner’s guide to divorcing your phone. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/13/how-to-quit-your-tech-phone-digital-detox
- What Really Happens To Your Brain And Body During A Digital Detox. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/3049138/what-really-happens-to-your-brain-and-body-during-a-digital-detox