We are all keenly aware that life can be extremely busy or stressful and often we find ourselves within arm’s reach of distractions such as a phone, tablet, or computer.
The benefits of these devices often outweigh the disadvantages, but their ease of use can also mean that we spend more time reading emails and trolling Facebook and Instagram instead of living our lives.
Think about it:
After a busy week at work, how might it feel to log out of every device and unplug from the often-meaningless act of thinking? More importantly, how often do you allow yourself to unwind or escape the notifications and devices vying for your attention?
If you’re like me, it doesn’t happen enough and quite honestly, it rarely happens at all.
But what’s the solution and how can we unplug in a way that benefits our work-life balance?
Digital Detox: How to Unplug for the Weekend
First, if you recognize how difficult it can be to unplug, chances are you need a digital detox away from the temptation of electronic devices. As with any detox, you will need to step away from work and turn off all notifications that could potentially distract you from the task at hand – relaxation!
Setting a Specific Time Frame
Set a specific time for your digital detox and stick to it at all costs. Depending on your circumstances, two hours might be enough but there’s no harm unplugging for an entire day if you think that you can handle it. Either way, start small and increase this time as you take more and more detox sessions.
Turn Off Notifications
We all know how tempting it can be to reach for the phone when we hear those peculiar little sounds. Notifications are not only annoying at the best of times but also unnecessary. In other words, there is rarely any need to know about social media updates or messages or anything on your phone for that matter. Simply put, turn them off and ideally, never turn them back on again.
Extensions for Offline Detox
If you decide to take some detox from the online world, you can install an internet browser extension that will block you from accessing the internet. It sounds a little odd at first (to block yourself from using the internet) but the truth is, the best option for cutting down online usage is to remove the distraction entirely.
Write Everything Down
Writing things down is one of the best ways to stick to your digital detox and evaluate the process going forward. In fact, according to bestselling author David Allen, writing things down is the key to a successful habit of any kind and a quick way to remove distractions that might be swimming around your head.
As for what you might write down, consider writing about each time you feel an urge to check an email or look something up online. If you happen to cave into these desires, write down what you checked online or what exactly distracted you from the detox session.
Tracking this behaviour can enable you to eradicate unhealthy habits in future.
Resist the Urge of FOMO
Many people have a fear of missing out (FOMO). They assume that they’re going to miss something important whether it be an email, Twitter, or Facebook update. As you can imagine, this can also happen during a detox session, especially when you stay still or inactive for too long.
Thankfully, everything you fear, does not even exist in the first place. That is to say, the internet, work and messages will all be there when you finish the detox. Ironically, as soon as you get back to checking any of the above, you’ll be missing the detox!
Moral of the story: stay mindful and resist any urge to feel FOMO!
Encourage Others to Join the Detox
While you might be great when it comes to staying away from devices, distraction is all around you. If the people around you are checking their devices, this will only serve as a distraction or encouragement to check your own device. Try to encourage those around you to join in on the detox and you never know, they might enjoy it!
Plug Yourself into What Matters
The best way to remove one habit is to replace it with another habit. For this reason, try to use this detox to be mindful of what really matters in life. Spend time with friends or family, read or write in your journal. Get outside and take a stroll or even use this detox as an opportunity to get fit. Either way, try to replace your digital time with something that you enjoy so that you are more likely to look forward to the next detox.
The Importance of Digital Detox and Unplugging from “Busy”
For many people, unplugging is the perfect way to instill new habits and an improved quality of life. Quite often, people who detox say that they feel less stressed and even sleep better because of their time away from digital devices.
What’s more, use this time to keep active or practice mindfulness in a time when it’s increasingly hard to remain present. Taking a digital detox is also great for those want to spend more time with friends and family or focusing on the simple pleasures in life that we sometimes ignore.
The truth is, while social media and marketing giants are busy telling us all about the need to “stay connected” – there is just as much need to disconnect from all these distractions.