Is it Time for a Digital Detox?
Do you have a love/hate relationship with your phone? Your computer? Before I had my daughter of my own, a friend’s child told me “I think my mom loves the computer more than me. She’s always on it”. I thought, “how horrible” Now, I completely get it. We live in a world where digital access is at our fingertips. It’s highly addictive. If you feel like you can’t put your phone down, you’re not alone.
A Common Addiction
According to King University, Americans touch their phones an average of 2,617 times per day and spend over five hours a day on their phone. I thought these statistics were obscure until I started receiving reports from my own phone. I exceeded the average time. Even though much of my work is through my phone, seeing an actual report was shocking and eye opening.
Are you ready to free yourself from being tied to technology every waking moment? It may be scary at first, but think about how great it will feel to clear your mind, build better relationships and reconnect with the world around us – person to person, not screen to screen.
A Different Kind of Detox
Regardless of how small or large of a digital detox you choose to do, Blake Snow, author of Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting, has a few great reminders:
- Don’t glamorize Busyness – Blake notes that explanations of, “I’m so busy!” are really just our attempts to avoid making hard choices about how we live our lives. Staying busy is easier than taking time to pursue what would really make us happy. Worse yet, the Internet makes it so easy to be “busy” indefinitely. So be careful not to glamorize busyness.*
- Ask yourself “why” – Oftentimes our phones are our security blanket. How many times have you gone into a room of strangers, felt uncomfortable, and pulled out your cell phone? We use our phones to avoid awkwardness. But by being present and keeping your phone in your pocket, you may just end up with a new best friend, business partner or even spouse!
Change Your Habits For Health
If you’re ready to dive in, here are some great steps for doing a ‘digital diet’. Some of my favorites are:
- Schedule some non-screen time. Maybe it begins with meal times (yes, even while you eat alone) and bedtime but increase it week by week so that eventually you have a technology free weekend day.
- Only respond to emails and texts at certain times of the day. Sure your kids, your spouse and your kid’s school may need to have access to you 24/7, but no-one else does! Stop notifications, put your phone on Airplane or Do Not Disturb mode and even just turning off the volume are great, but committing to checking texts and emails at designated times throughout the day will make you a more present, focused and efficient machine!
- Find hobbies and activities that frown upon technology. Nowadays, it’s normal to pull out your cellphone at a restaurant, bar or even at the gym but you wouldn’t dare use it during a meditation or yoga class, while swimming or at church!
- Why not use technology to fight technology? Use one of these 6 Apps to Break Your Cell Phone Addiction. Our personal favorite is Flipd – it allows you to lock your phone for a set period of time, and once you do, there’s no going back.
Technology addiction is still a new area of discovery. We aren’t quite sure of long term effects or cognitive changes brought on by using too much, but we can all agree that there’s room to cut back. You’re currently reading this on a phone or computer, so how about a mini challenge? Go for a walk in the sunshine, take ten deep breaths, or find another task that doesn’t involve technology. Take a break right now and plan on a digital detox that works for your schedule. We’d love to hear about it!
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