Are you addicted to your phone? Does it make you anxious if you and your precious are parted? What about when you have a moment of down time, do you whip out your device to avoid those terrifying seconds of nothing-ness????
As you read this, do your hands feel clammy at the mere thought of your precious not being with you at all times? Ok, I will stop but you get my point. The real question here, it’s time to put that smart phone away and to remember what it’s like to be in the real world?
When you think bad habits and addictions have you ever considered what the impact your digital consumption is having on your life? I want you to think about how the constant notifications make you feel. What about when you are with your friends or family, do you spend more time considering how insta-worthy that moment is instead of being in it? Is the very first thing you do when you wake or go to bed a social media check?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, then perhaps it’s worth considering a digital detox to regain control.
Ok, let’s test out your digital dependancy level! I want you to think about how much of your day that you would spend on your phone, tablet or computer – be honest now! Diary your digital usage for a day – how many minutes have you spent in the digital world? Pretty scary huh!
Here are some stat’s for you. In a recent Nielsen survey, roughly 3.1 million New Zealanders aged 15 and over spend 14 hours online – that is the equivalent of two working days a week! According to a Pew Research Centre’s Internet and American Life Project, there are a whopping 67% of smart phone users that will check their phone for any form of notification (emails, texts, Facebook etc) even when they don’t see their phone ringing or vibrating. Sounding familiar?
Now, I am not suggesting that you avoid technology completely, a little social media hit every now and then is great for inspiration and hey, without it, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. It is also nearly impossible in our modern, working world. However, if we are using our digital devices in excessive amounts it can actually bring about a whole heap of anxieties and stresses in our lives as well as disengaging us from friends and family. Not, good.
Hence why I am introducing a digital detox. Switching off every now and then to make sure that you are staying present, conscious living if you will. Here are some tools that you can try to use to help you on your own digital detox.
SET YOUR INTENTIONS AND PLAN FOR IT
Like any good detox or habit change, start by deciding what your goals are, from there you can break things down to achieve your goal. Bite size it. Caution, don’t get all crazy and extreme here. Start slow and be realistic. Start by choosing a realistic timeframe that you want to switch off your digital devices. Is it an evening, a day, a week even you crazy thing!
It’s also important to define what digital means to you; is it everything that uses a glowing screen and/or the internet? Or are you just trying to cut down the time you spend scrolling through social or websites before you get out of bed? Lastly, let I know if you are.
If social platforms are a major source of communication for you and you want to take a break – or there are people that you regularly text, then let them know that you won’t be on as much and how they can reach you. You don’t want people to think that you are ignoring them or freak them out.
GET OLD SCHOOL
This is my favourite part, swap out your phone for some more old fashioned devices. Remember alarm clocks – or even better – a Lumie. Wake up to light, music or information instead of harsh buzzing and beeping.
Get back into stationery. Wear a watch. Read a book. Listen to some music. Get retro!
RE-ENTERTAIN AND RE-INTRODUCE YOURSELF
Now that you are embarking on your digital detox, use this time to think about hobbies and spending time with those that you love and improve your quality of life – instead of using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as your social networking fix. Have real conversations with people around you.
What about old fashioned books? Use your evening before you go to sleep to disconnect from the backlit screens, which by the way will help you with the first habit!
THE ART OF DOING NOTHING
Studies have shown that smartphone owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes, that is one heck of a habit to break. It is also a way that we have conditioned ourselves to feel anxious with downtime. Recondition yourself to enjoy solitude, calm and, well – nothing. Life is pretty crazy, so it is ok to just take a break and not feel guilty. In fact doing nothing can be a breeding ground for creativity!
Are you ready for a digital detox and tell me what your goal is?