Hi, my name is Evelyn and I’m doing a digital detox because I have a digital problem. I check my phone before getting out of bed in the morning, while eating meals, and my phone sleeps under my pillow… usually because I’m holding it as I’m falling asleep. My phone is an extension of my arm and often times I get little tingles from holding it for long periods of time.
Does this sound like you?
Because this was me… until a few months ago when I decided to detox…
A digital detox is something that was a long time coming for me. It was necessary.
While there’s no doubt technology has made our lives easier in many ways, research suggests that our addiction to it is real. This vicious cycle is taking a toll on our health, mental wellbeing, and relationships. It’s also affecting how we interact with the world around us. Ever looked around a restaurant to see a group of friends dining together, not speaking, and connected to their phones? Hellooooo digital addiction.
Ending the technology cycle, doesn’t require an anguishing separation trial with your gadgets.
A digital detox can be easy to implement in order to create a better balance at work and home! Here are my tips to disconnect.
Limit Computer Usage to Work Hours
If you can help it, keep your work computer in the office or in the computer bag while at home. Bringing your computer home from the office can often tempt us to finish those “last minute” details for a project or presentation.
For me because I work from home, this is obviously a big challenge! I’ve had to bravely cut the cord (pun intended) and put away my computer at a pre-determined time, so I can wind down.
If you absolutely must use your computer at home, make sure you allot a batch of time so you can cut yourself off. Trust me when I say this, your project will be much better suited if you detox and approach the project with a fresh set of eyes the next day.
Disable Push Notifications on Your Phone and Computer
To cut back on your digital dependency, turn off your phone’s push notifications for social media apps or anything that sends an alert when someone contacts you or likes a post. I also turned off my notifications on my computer, like when an email pops in or I get a text.
I found that I was catering to my notifications and it quickly became a distraction!
Now I set a specific time of day to check emails, texts and social media. I also set a time limit for how long to spend on a site… its usually around 20 – 30 minutes. This way I’m not going offline entirely.
One thing I do is calendar block and I’ve even started doing this for specific weeks I’m going “offline.” This way I can fully disconnect and represent with friends and family.
Make Your Bedroom A Tech-Free Zone!
So I’m going to completely give you something to think about… use your old phone to wake you up each day! Most of us have an old iPhone around the house.
I like to use the Breethe meditation app before bed, buttttttttt I actually found myself checking Instagram and answering texts while meditating. How silly right?
One day while in the shower I had a brilliant idea (isn’t that where all brilliant ideas happen?). I decided to use my old phone as my alarm / meditation phone. It only connects to wifi and I ONLY setup a few apps.
The only apps on my old phone:
- Clock – This is what I use to wake up!
- Breethe – I will wind down with a meditation and use my Beats Headphones to block out noise
- Podcast App – I will listen to Podcasts while making the bed and prepping for my day
- Spotify – I’ll listen to Bossanova while winding down before bed.
I moved all of the apps that the iPhone comes preset with to a little folder on another screen.
My real phone stays in the kitchen (next to coffee maker) with a second alarm to make sure I get out of bed. And since my real phone is next to the coffee maker… I’m very motivated to stay out of bed and make coffee. Coffee is one of my great joys in life.
When your alarm buzzes, give yourself 10 to 20 minutes, or even an hour, to ignore your devices as you prep for the day. I love listening to Podcasts while getting ready! You’ll be able to start your day on your own terms, not someone else’s. It’s a great way to feel more inspired and rested, and less anxious.
Switch To “Do Not Disturb” Mode During Workouts
It’s inevitable that you use your phone to listen to a playlist while on a run or lifting. But although music is a proven way to pump up your effort, stopping mid-interval to answer a text or like an Instagram photo isn’t the most productive way to burn calories.
Before you lace up to exercise, turn your phone to airplane mode or do not disturb, Felix suggests, so there’s no temptation to check it. You’ll not only sculpt a better body, you’ll be more likely to reach that blissed-out, endorphin-soaked mindset by focusing on your workout, not your social network.
It’s inevitable that you use your phone to listen to a playlist while at the gym. But although music is a proven way to pump up your effort, stopping mid-interval to answer a text or like an Instagram photo isn’t the most productive way to burn those cheeseburger calories.
Before you lace up to exercise, turn your phone to “Airplane Mode” or “Do Not Disturb.” You’ll not only sculpt a better body, you’ll be more likely to reach that blissed-out, endorphin-soaked mindset by focusing on your workout, not your social network.
If you have an iPhone you can add this to your Home Screen for quick access. I prefer the “Do Not Disturb” option because I stream my workout music with Spotify.
Put Away Your Phone During Meals
It’s a common sight at restaurants: a gleaming smartphone next to the pizza or someone taking a photo of pizza – guilty on both accounts!
Even if you are not checking your phone, simply having it on the table during can reduce the quality of the interaction—our brains are just waiting for it to light up!
As a result, we are not fully present.
Use Paper ::GASP!::
I know, I know this whole tree-hugging, hippy-dippy movement has made us all into digital zombies. Save a tree! Recycle! Look I’m all about that, but I also like to give my eyes a break from technology.
For me, reading a book feels more satisfying than reading a tablet. Not only do books offer fewer distractions, but research suggests that when we read on paper, our minds process abstract information more effectively. Additionally, consider getting your news from a newspaper! Not only will you feel super smart holding the paper, but also, people will look at you like you’re full of intellect.
Give it a whirl!
With a few simple steps, you can stay plugged in and “detox” at the same time, helping you feel more fulfilled, calm, and connected!