From email to news to social media notifications, our devices are hungrily chiming away for our attention. Recent research has shown that modern humans are legitimately addicted to the Pavlovian hooks offered by today's apps.
We all know the feeling of being over-connected in the digital realm while we watch our authentic relationships fall to the wayside. With a little discipline, and a simple daily practice, you can begin to loosen the tech shackles.
Benefits of a daily digital detox
Taking a daily digital detox will help you reclaim your time for such things as:
1. Reading a book
2. Having a thoughtful conversation
3. Simply allowing yourself space to daydream and grow your innate creativity
Truth be told, the 24/7 world is not going to offer to leave you alone, so it is time to set your working hours, and then stick to your own rules.
Honestly, unless you're an on-call transplant surgeon or something of that ilk, there isn't a real need to be checking emails and texts, and let's be honest, taking Buzzfeed quizzes into the wee hours of the night.
It takes about a month to establish a new habit, so let's put that little device to work FOR you instead of AGAINST you.
How to create a daily digital fast?
1. Determine your "working hours".
This is the time you allow for use of digital devices, including computer, phone and tablets, for texts, emails and social media.
2. Set an alert on your phone to turn it to airplane mode during "off work" hours.
Stash your phone on a charging station away from your leisure activities. Yes, you will experience some anxiety that you are missing out by not staying in touch, but when you reopen your phone for business the next morning, politely reply to any missed calls or texts. Let the person know that you turn your phone off at a particular hour each evening. Eventually, your regular contacts will be "trained" not to expect a response from you outside of your regular hours.
3. Use your landlines to be available for important calls.
So, what if you have a kid that you need to keep track of or want to be available for important phone calls? There are still landlines in existence and in my home, we have found our landline to be a LIFESAVER for helping us detach from our devices. All of our family and friends know our home phone number and they can always try to reach us on it if the mobile phones go straight to voicemail.
By relinquishing our addictive little handhelds each night, our family finds itself having conversations and lively games of Yahtzee over dinner and then settling in with a good book to unwind before bedtime.
Rather than losing hours staring into a screen, we are enjoying the sense of time slowing down as each evening unwinds lazily in a series of analog interactions.
4. Use a clock designed ONLY for waking you up
The temptation to use your device as an alarm clock is understood, but using a real clock is another great way to create space between you and your phone. I have one that wakes us up by slowing brightening it's light (similar to sunrise) so we don't get jarred from sleep by a loud beeping sound.
5. Park your phone
The phones in our home live in the kitchen charging station from 7p-7a which gives our family a daily digital fast that has only proven to enhance our wellbeing.
It was a little tough the first few days but this is now a habit that we even encourage our house guests to try out. And they all swear that time moves slower when they visit our home.
About the author
Jess Ewart is an Entrepreneur, Consultant, Yoga Instructor and Ayurvedic Practitoner
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