In this post we are going to explore the benefits of a digital detox and show you practical steps to get started.
With these tips, you’ll be able to reduce screen exposure and find meaningful ways to spend your reclaimed time.
If you’re ready to see the impact a tech break can have on your quality of life, this post is for you!
Let’s jump right in..
Do You Need to Unplug From Devices?
We are more connected than ever before. Virtually that is. While technology has indeed made our lives easier and more convenient, it has also changed the way we interact in the world.
It's easy to paint a picture of all the benefits devices have afforded you. But today, let's explore the possibility that your technology use might be out of hand.
I bet if someone were to ask you if you have enough time to do all the things you want to do, your answer would be no.
Did you know that according to eMarketer the average adult in the United States spends 4 hours and 16 minutes on their phone per day?
That is nearly 65 full days per year.
Knowing that, I'd like you to consider the concept of a digital detox.
Do I Need To Digitally Detox?
You might benefit from a digital detox if you:
- Experience FOMO when you're not connected to social media
- Struggle to focus on tasks due to the endless barrage of notifications
- Compulsively check your device first thing in the morning or last thing at night
- Notice that your relationships are suffering due to your constant screen time
In addition to all of that, there’s also the predicament that excess social media usage has actually been linked to feelings of loneliness and depression.
Time is your most precious resource. Actively choosing to spend your time off of technology is a gift to your future self.
What are the 5 benefits of a digital detox?
You might be wondering if doing a digital detox is really that important. Unplugging from technology can be a transformative experience, allowing you to prioritize what truly matters.
Here are just a few of the digital detox benefits you will notice:
- Improved focus & clarity
- Better quality sleep
- Enhanced mental well-being
- Strengthened relationships
- More creativity & productivity
A detox might sound dramatic, but it can go a long way in breaking the cycle of screen addition. Reclaiming over two months per year is not a small change in your life.
How to Digitally Detox
1. Decide on Goals
Determine what you want to get out of the detox. Make a list of every device that you have access to. This will include computers, mobile phones, gaming consoles, televisions, and handheld games.
Map out the limits you want to set as well as what you will fill that free time with. Be specific so you don't start justifying cheating on your goals during your detox.
2. Communicate Intentions
Inform family, friends, and colleagues that you'll be doing a digital detox. You are not looking for approval from those people, telling them is more for accountability.
Remember, the majority of adults are just as addicted to technology as you are. They might not be ready to recognize their problematic technology use, but don't let that deter you.
3. Use the Time Wisely
A key factor in the success of a digital detox is making use of your reclaimed time. If you simply sit around agonizing about when your detox will be over, you've missed the point.
Replace your technology time with ‘slow living’ activities, personal development, and new experiences. Get out and re-connect with people you've felt connected to online, but haven't met up with in ages.
4. Notice the Progress
Reflect on the changes to your mood and productivity during your detox. Recognize what if any differences there are in your relationships and if communication is improved without the distraction of technology.
Consider keeping a journal to document your progress. Revelations gained from this experience may be easily forgotten if you just slip back into old tendencies without writing them down.
Tips For Reducing Screen Time
Your reliance and habits surrounding digital devices formed slowly. You didn't even notice what you were giving up because all these screens gradually became part of your daily life.
Here are some digital detox examples that can help you reduce your screen time, wherever you need it most.
You are probably watching movies and television shows via an app on your television or a device such as FireStick, AppleTV, or Roku. Take this opportunity to cancel apps with recurring charges.
Your bank account and your constantly distracted brain will thank you for canceling and deleting Netflix, Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, among others.
Start by deleting the biggest time wasting apps on your phone. Games and social media are usually the biggest culprits of time waste.
If deleting isn't an option, then turn off notifications, remove cellular data permission, and set a screen time limit for that app. Anything that causes you to mindlessly scroll, click, or check should have restrictions in place.
If gaming consoles are occupying your attention you can put an obstacle to prevent a session from beginning. Relocate the controllers to the opposite side of the house or put them on a high inconvenient shelf.
You've essentially made the gaming console useless unless you take additional active actions to reunite the unit. From now on the decision to game or not to game becomes an active decision instead of a mindless habit.
Getting on a computer almost always starts with work and ends with being distracted. You can set parental controls such as blocking websites, preventing app downloads, and requiring passwords to use certain features.
Each obstacle you set up changes your behavior from habitual to conscious.
A Digital Detox for Kids
Parents know that rising technology use can be problematic for children. You see their withdrawal from family activities and their mood swings increase.
It's difficult to sell the logic and necessity of a digital detox for kids, so you can take some control with these tips.
Turn off Notifications - Each app has the ability to toggle off push, audio, and even the notification number indication at the top right corner of the app.
Turn off Cellular Data - Every app needs permission to use cellular data. Go through and revoke that permission to prevent the app from being used when the device is not on wi-fi.
Set Screen Time Limits - Decide on a time limit you're comfortable with and put parental time limits in place. You can set up a schedule such as 1 hour per day or only allow the device to operate between 4pm and 5pm. Any use outside of your set time limits can require a parental password.
Lock Up Devices - If you've ever had a kid waving a device in your face begging for a password, you know that out of sight is out of mind. Put their device in a timer locked case to eliminate this fight.
Ending the screen time obsession will include your willingness to spend time with them.
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How long does a digital detox take?
If you've read this far, it has probably become obvious that a digital detox is necessary.
Giving up your phone for an entire week might seem impossible, so start with one evening until morning. Come home from work and lock up your device until it's time to leave the house the next morning.
Doing this will allow you to be fully present in your evening and morning routine without being digitally distracted.
After you have successfully digitally detoxed for a partial day, try an entire weekend. Don't use the excuse of needing to look something up or take a photo, just be present.
Once you have digitally detoxed for an entire weekend you can increase to an entire week. Choosing just two weeks per year to eliminate technology can have a dramatic effect on your mental health.
What to Do Without Tech
You feel ready to put the phone down, turn off the television, and shut the laptop. But now what?
Most people won't make the conscious decision to stay distracted from work for an hour. Without the 'habit interruption' it's difficult to prevent slipping back into mindless technology use.
First and foremost, turn your attention to your loved ones. They miss you. Every mindless conversation you've had has been a strain on your relationships whether you realize it or not.
Grab a baseball glove and go outside to throw a ball around. Set up an outdoor croquet course and go whack the ball through the stakes. Pull out a board game and engage in some friendly competition.
Beyond building back your connections, use your time to prioritize yourself. Get some exercise, cook a healthy meal, read that book you've been meaning to, or get back to a hobby you've neglected.
A successful digital detox is about finding a balance that works for you. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to new habits.
Technology is rapidly changing, advancing, and forcing its way into your life. And yet, you are still in control of how, when, where, and why you use technology.
Even after your chosen digital detox time is over, you can carry lessons you've learned into your daily life. Actively choose how, when, where, and why you give your focus to devices.
Everyone has their own ideas on what life is most important in life. But, I can't imagine a person at the end of their life saying, "I wish I would have spent a few more minutes on Facebook."
What about you?
What’s your best tip for reducing screen time?
Let us know in the comment section below!