Technology has brought many wonderful things to our lives — connecting with long-lost friends, being able to stay in touch with people miles away, shopping, re-ordering supplies, getting notices on events and what's happening near us … etc. The list is endless. Just as I might have a hard time imagining what life was like without a dishwasher or laundry machine for my grandparents, my children will no doubt wonder how people survived without WiFi and having access to information at their fingertips at all times.
However, with great power comes great responsibility. While we appreciate the many conveniences technology brings, there are also downsides to this. In the book Digital Detox: Disconnect to Reconnect, we are reminded that the average American spends more than half of her waking life staring at a screen. There are negative psychological, social and culture impacts to this new way of life.
We've published a blog post on why digital detox is possible and important in the past. If you are still wondering what the benefits of a detox are and how to avoid becoming a slave to your smartphone, keep reading.
1. Set an Achievable Goal
As a rule of thumb, try to slowly but surely set achievable goals such as taking breaks from screen time or schedule a much-needed lunch/coffee with a friend. London-based life coach Carole Ann Rice believes that digital detoxes are something one needs to ease into. It can be as simple has hand-writing grocery lists vs. using an app.
2. REMOVE APPS from your phone
My friend Ben Dahl recently shared that he was on social media apps an average of 2.5 hours daily. In other words, he was wasting almost 15 hours per week. He then went on to turn off notifications and removed Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook apps all together. He felt like he was able to have more time to think and read. By eliminating those distractions, suddenly he gained a lot of valuable time back in his life.
3. Try a "Lights-Out" Routine
We've long heard that screen time can sabotage our sleep quality by decreasing our melatonin production. The hormone melatonin plays a key role in maintaining a proper circadian rhythm and promoting deep, restorative sleep. To help your body achieve the rest it needs, embrace the darkness — as in detox nightly, simply by removing electronics from the bedroom altogether.
4. LIVE IN THE MOMENT
Taking breaks from online activities might be difficult at first, but you notice a lot of interesting things when you're not checking your phone all the time. Instead of being nose-down celebrating the great successes of your friends on social media, you might be noticing the cashier or the child in the checkout line. We can lean into life more fully.
5. HAVE "REAL" CONVERSATIONS
Hashtags and viral videos are fun, but a deep level of connection comes from sharing our perspective and having a meaningful exchange through face-to-face interaction. In a world where most of the answers are searchable online and everyone has an opinion, try writing down your thoughts or talking to a friend. You may discover hidden gems of your own brilliance outside of the Internet.
In our line of creative work where we are developing content for clients and designing exceptional online experience to help them reach their customers, a level of empathy is needed to create stellar marketing materials. Being able to appropriately allocate our time online and offline makes us better marketers.
We all know that feeling of "FOMO" (fear of missing out) on the latest event, content or conversations online. But more importantly, you will have better relationships and increase a new level of wellness by putting down the screen and moving into the "real world" where it may not be as convenient, but exciting nonetheless.