There are approximately 6 billion smartphone users, and 5 billion internet users worldwide. About 1.7 billion households worldwide have at least one television, and 50% have a personal computer.
These numbers are projected to grow.
We are living through the Digital Revolution, and an ever-evolving one, at that. Our jobs, social lives, and hobbies often rely on or intersect with digital spaces.
Digital devices give us the capability to connect with loved ones, learn new skills and access our favorite media (tv shows, music, news, websites, etc.). It makes us easily reachable and helps us stay up to date on current events.
However, frequent notifications, endless news cycles, and constant comparisons to others can cause stress.
Endless digital engagement can become a way to avoid reality and may even feel addictive.
For this reason, we may benefit from stepping away from our devices.
Today, we’ll discuss how to do a digital detox for a more technologically balanced life.
Be Specific (and Realistic)
Often, when we start a new process, we set lofty goals. This is normal, as we may imagine the ideal version of ourselves, and want to get there quickly. However, these goals are often unrealistic and difficult to maintain.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t strive, rather we should do so realistically. Reasonable expectations help us reach our goals in bite-sized, achievable pieces.
We may want to detox from all digital devices and services at once. However, depending on our jobs and daily requirements, this might not be possible.
To make sure our digital detox goals are realistic, we should consider:
- How long we’ll detox. Will we take a five-hour break, an entire day, etc.?
- How often we’ll detox. Once, every week, annually, etc.
- When we’ll detox. Morning, nights, weekends, etc.
- What we’ll detox from. All digital devices, specific apps/websites/shows/texting, etc.
We can always adjust our original detox goals as our circumstances change.
Avoid Digital Devices First Thing in the Morning
A lot of us check our phones the minute we open our eyes. We’re connected from AM to PM, with a constant stream of information.
This means that we’re bombarded with emails, expectations, and world conflict, all before breakfast.
For the sake of our wellbeing, it’s useful to complete a morning routine.
Hydrate, exercise, eat, shower.
Take care of basic needs before diving into the digital abyss.
Schedule Time Away
It can be easy to get caught up in the digital world, even during downtime. We may mindlessly scroll social media, check our emails, or binge tv shows.
For this reason, it’s helpful to set digital detox reminders. We can write them in our calendar or set alarms on our phones.
We can include messages that remind us to digitally detach for a while.
Having a set schedule helps us get into the habit of digitally detoxing. It becomes an expected part of our lives.
Use Digital Detox Apps
No surprise that in our digital age, there are many digital detox apps available.
Ironic? Yes. But they can be very helpful.
They are mostly geared towards phone users, and typically block access to apps, according to our needs.
With these apps, we can:
- Select the time of day we can use our apps
- Choose which apps we want access to
- Choose how many times per day we can open our apps
- Track our phone usage and screentime
- Join app detox challenges
- Connect with other digital detoxers
Have No-Go Zones
Maybe we constantly find ourselves disabling our detox apps to access digital spaces. In this case, it may be useful to create no-go zones for digital devices.
This may mean:
- If we work from home, leaving our phone in a different room for the workday
- Not allowing phones/laptops/tv in bed
- Not taking phones to the bathroom
- No digital devices or media at the dinner table
- Turning on “do not disturb” before bed
- Not using digital devices during friend gatherings or family time
Life in the digital era is equal parts exciting and exhausting. We can connect with far-away loved ones with the click of a button, work from anywhere in the world, and find engaging media suited to our tastes.
But the constant connection, expectation of instant interaction, and over-dependence on digital devices can become emotionally draining.
When we start to feel like this, it’s important to disconnect.
Take a digital detox. Get out of the digital sphere and into the present.