Digital overload is a very real problem in the tech age. We’re surrounded by screens all day long — they’re in our pockets, on our desks, and even in our mirrors. While it’s impossible to completely disconnect from the digital world, taking some time away can help. You will start to notice that you feel less anxious and more in control of your time. This article will teach you how to plan a digital detox that works for you.
Table of contents
- It’s time for a digital detox
- Evaluate your productivity
- How to get started with your digital detox plan
- Challenge yourself and try to change some usual habits
- How to overcome the urge to break your digital detox
- Disconnect yourself from digital world
- Kicking bad habits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while unplugging from technology
- How to stay motivated throughout your digital detox journey
- Build a sense of clarity and appreciation of what’s important
The idea of detoxing is to be aware of yourself and spend more time doing things that would not otherwise. For Example: hanging out with your family & friends
With that said, let get straight into it…
It’s time for a digital detox
Digital detoxes are becoming more and more popular. As people become more aware of the fact that they’re addicted to their phones and social media. A digital detox doesn’t mean going cold turkey and quitting social media completely. Rather it means taking a break from your phone and social media. In fact, a slew of studies shows that “digital detoxes” can lead to more productivity improvements. It works better than brief periods of disconnection.
What is your end goal?
- Do you want to unplug from your phone for a few days to focus on other things?
- Are you looking to try the effects of a digital detox for a longer period of time
Whatever may be your reason, the following tips will help you get started for a successful digital detox.
Set yourself up for success by working toward the goal you set for yourself before you do it. It might be a specific number of days or longer. The more specific you make it, the less likely it is that you’re going to do something you dread.
We tend to make decisions based on what’s happening on our phones, rather than based on what’s happening in our real-world environments. For this reason, it’s important to make as many productive “go/no-go” decisions as possible.
Have you thought before about having discussions with other or even mentoring?
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This can be difficult at first, since you may be excited about jumping back into social media, but don’t rush into it. Unplug from social media temporarily, and take your time with it.
Evaluate your productivity
After you take your break, evaluate your productivity. What did you lose when you disconnected, and what could you gain if you reconnected?
Using an app in order to stay productive is understandable — why wouldn’t you sit at your desk and get things done if you could? Nevertheless, sometimes it can feel like a zombie flip is going on, and your day just stops. When this happens, it’s helpful to understand that, in most cases, you just need to get back into a productive routine.
How to get started with your digital detox plan
A digital detox day is a great way to reset and focus on the real world around you. A digital detox is not about completely disconnecting from technology; it’s about being more intentional about when you use technology. The first step towards starting your digital detox is to decide what you want to get out of it.
Typically, people take a 90-day digital detox at the start of a new media platform (e.g., Netflix, Instagram). Before you opt to give a new platform a virtual go, read up on how the platform works (take note of any terms of service that might come with the app).
2021 is the perfect year to get more out of your video game rentals, with new streaming platforms offering games as well.
For example, I use Clubhouse daily. It’s a live audio & video platform hosted by people you can chat with directly. The app connects you with other people based on topics you may be interested in, such as technology and innovation, productivity, and relationships.
Moreover, Clubhouse hosts a live virtual meeting every Sunday evening. Think of it like a virtual TED talk. You can listen to speakers for free or contribute to the discussion.
Challenge yourself and try to change some usual habits
Instead of becoming reliant on podcasts, audiobooks, or live TV shows to drift through your days, take advantage of clubhouse every week. To me, it is more immersive, stimulating, and mentally challenging than writing podcast scripts.
We all want to be connected, we all want a connection with someone else, but it’s easier said than done. Ultimately, we have to make the decision and the responsibility shifts onto ourselves to make sure what we consume, what we listen to, what we watch does not impact us in a negative way.—Jessica Sears, sustainability coach and founder of Heated by Design
It doesn’t have to be entire platforms. You can choose to disconnect only from one app at a time.
How to overcome the urge to break your digital detox
In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with digital distractions, it can be hard to stay focused and achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
It can be tough to quit an addictive app or click away from a social media platform without doing damage to our mental health. According to PragerU, nearly three out of four adults are pressured to spend over eight hours a day on technology. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with digital distractions, it can be hard to stay focused and achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
As an entrepreneur and digital marketing coach, I’ve dealt with my fair share of burnout. In fact, adopting a few preventive measures can help you avoid most of the common digital distractions — and keep you focused on your goals.
Disconnect yourself from digital world
The most obvious method for tuning out the noise on our screens is to go offline. This means disconnecting from all digital platforms, from gaming to email to social media. But disconnecting can be difficult, too, since we’re never truly “in the dark,” and there’s always a way to quickly connect back. While the art of digital detoxing varies by person, here are some basic guidelines you can follow to create a period of in-between time.
In 2014, The World Health Organization classified screen time as a “public health crisis”. Screen entertainment and digital media, like social media and gaming, has become an incredibly powerful distraction and addiction method.
You may be surprised to know that screen time impacts not only the length of your lifespan, but also your productivity. Studies have shown a correlation between screen time and anxiety, and have even highlighted the negative impact of these activities on IQ. Given the body of scientific research connecting our screens to bad habits, it makes sense to try to break up with them in the good (and safe) ways.
Kicking bad habits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while unplugging from technology
With so much technology dominating our lives, it’s important to understand exactly how your brain works. Your brain has evolved to deal with an increase in information flow — it’s hardwired for learning new skills, processing memories, making decisions, communicating, and more.
As we spend more time outside of our homes and under constant surveillance, it can be tough to detach from that. To fully disconnect, though, you need to know how to tune into your brain. Then followed by altering what neurotransmitters are flowing in and out of your body. This can be trickier than you realize.
At its core, the brain is a mind-body organ. One of the big reasons we spend so much time on screens is that without continuous feedback from our senses, we can oftentimes get lost in the digital space.
When you engage in digital detox, you’ll likely first want to work on interrupting your screens for a period of time. Your screen time depends on your work schedule, but it’s common for people to spend at least 1.5 hours of screen time on their computers per day.
How to stay motivated throughout your digital detox journey
You should try and do self-checks every day when you wake up and when you go to bed. During your morning self-check, ask yourself if you feel like you’ve accomplished anything the day before.
I would say the answer you are looking for is Yes…Then you are definitely on right track.
After you’ve accomplished your task for the day, take a look at the apps on your phone. If your phone is displaying 30 pictures of that coffee you just ordered from Starbucks with no music, take a break!
Additionally, you should assess your email inbox on a daily basis. Is there anything you need to add, delete, or move up to an archive? Sometimes you need to disconnect from apps, emails, and social media all together if your inbox is full. You could even do a 3–2–1 email purge every 7 days — each time deleting 1 thing you know you need to cut out and then moving 1 email up to the archive where it awaits your inbox (this will remove some notifications, but make sure not to delete anything essential, such as replies to your emails).
Build a sense of clarity and appreciation of what’s important
After taking at least two days off from the following too, you should try and stay away from digital platforms altogether for the next several days. You should also consider not logging into any apps or sites for a few days. This will help you build back a sense of clarity and appreciation for what you have on your devices. You’ll be surprised at how that’s been maintenance for me.
At this point, you should try and keep yourself away from all notifications, particularly on social media. I did this for about two weeks and now I feel like my social updates are coming until I check my phone at 10pm. This is how I feel when I shut off my notifications and live entirely on my own.
Most of us have started working from home these past couple of years. It has be become even harder to switch off completely from digital world. In saying that if you set yourself a goal and work towards it, no doubt you can achieve it.
It takes strong persistence to be good at something similar to learning new things at your job.
On that note, Go Digital Detoxing!!!