Detox from the Digital
In our modern world, we have infinite access to information. We are so used to looking up the answer to every question that it often feels out of the ordinary to even think about switching off the devices in our hands.
We are in a digitally-dependant world, and it is increasingly difficult for us to disconnect. Our society has found that despite the rewards of technology, many of us are experiencing the adverse consequences it can have on our lives.
The overuse of digital devices such as your smartphone and tablet can cause poor sleeping habits, stress, and being constantly distracted, among others.
In June this year, Apple broke new ground when it revealed software to help wean people off their smart devices. The investment by Apple in a digital detox is based on their concern about the negative impact excessive use of our smart devices and social media can have on our well-being. “I do not believe in overuse. I am not a person that says we have achieved success if you are using it all the time. I do not subscribe to that at all,” said chief executive of Apple, Tim Cook, when responding to his reasons for not wanting his nephew to be on social networking sites.
But, is a digital detox necessary? PREMIER
explores the benefits and how to go about a digital detox:
Ask Yourself Why
Have you ever felt alone, even though you are in a room full of people? Awkward and shy, you search for your phone. Like a child who cannot sleep without their favourite blanket, your phone is often the obvious source of comfort. “I truly believe that keeping our phones in our pockets is one of the bravest things that any of us can do,” writes author Blake Snow in his book Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting.
One of the downfalls of the digital world of today is using our smart devices to escape our fears or ignore what is happening right in front of us. So the next time you reach into your pocket for your phone, ask yourself: why? This first step is crucial as it helps you become aware of personal challenges and what will assist you in overcoming them.
The Electronic Fast
A sudden electronic fast may seem frightening, so many experts recommend
easing into it for seven days. “Going cold turkey is daunting, so the week eases you in gently – from cutting down on particular aspects of your phone use to getting used to leaving it behind from time to time,” explains Tanya Goodin, founder of Time To Log Off and author of the digital detox guide, Off. The seven-day detox fits in with a typical week of work and you start by deleting all social media accounts. The phone diet adapted from The Guardian’s Beginner’s Guide To Divorcing Your Phone is as follows:
Day one: You do not need your phone during the night, so put it away. If you need the alarm clock, make sure your phone is near enough so you can hear the alarm or simply get an alarm clock. Continue this throughout the week.
Day two: Do not carry your phone around with you when you get home – put it in a central place and use your phone there when necessary.
Day three: Remove your work email account from your phone – do not forget to notify your manager.
Day four: Enjoy life! Go out for dinner or walk the dogs, but leave your phone behind.
Day five: Set your phone to aeroplane mode during the day; when you need to use it, simply change this mode for the necessary time.
Days six and seven: Complete your digital detox by keeping your phone switched off and put away from 19h00 on Friday until 08h00 on Monday.
You will slowly learn to use your phone simply when necessary – or you can chose to fast completely for the next week.
Detaching from a Tech-focused Lifestyle It is seven days later. What now? The Internet is 24/7! Digital communications may be a big part of our personal and professional lifestyles, but it does not have to take over our lives. You may be feeling the positive effects of detoxing such as feeling refreshed and connected with “real” life. It is now time to make a choice. “Every time I choose to engage with technology, for me, it is just that – a choice. I am not automated, I am not allowing my tech or the pings, dings, notifications, or buzzes of the people on the other end dictate how I am spending my day and time. So I practise mindful tech,” says Jess Davis the founder of Folk Rebellion, a brand aimed at bringing awareness to the benefits of digital-free living.
While technology certainly simplifies our lives, it has the tendency to take over if you allow it. If you are finding this true, a digital detox could be for you. You may find that, as a result of lowing your smartphone use, you are more productive on the work front, and your personal life may improve, too.