Throughout this epic blog post we delve deep into the issues surrounding digital addiction and most importantly what steps we can take to overcome this digital addiction. The answer is through “Digital Detoxing” & we want you to use this blog post as a guide to disconnecting yourself from the digital world and reconnecting to the physical world around you.
- 1 The Digital Age
- 2 Why should we Digital Detox?
- 3 Problems caused by too much Digital consumption
- 4 How to Digital Detox?
- 5 Weekly Digital Detox
- 6 Daily Digital Detox
- 7 1. Phone free zone for the bedroom (buy an alarm clock)
- 8 2. Change your digital device notifications
- 9 3. Silence your digital devices
- 10 4. Speak instead of text
- 11 5. Use a Camera not your Phone
- 12 6. Read hard books instead of eBooks
- 13 7. Switch to Airplane Mode during workouts
- 14 8. Use technology to stop using technology
- 15 9. Reward yourself
- 16 10. Take notes during the day
- 17 Benefits of Digital Detoxing
- 18 Disconnect to Reconnect
The Digital Age
It is undeniable that we are currently in the midst of the digital and information age whereby we have immediate access to information and knowledge through the use of our digital technology which has completely immersed itself into our lives without us even realizing. All of this information and technology is fantastic, never before have we been able to know as much as we currently do and our intelligence as the human race is better than ever before but we need to be careful that we do not turn into robotic people who are completely reliant upon our digital devices.
If you are reading this blog post now it most probably means that you are looking at your computer, smart phone or tablet! In this information and communication age we have become so attached to our digital devices that many people feel a sense of loss or panic if they are unable to access this digital information or communicate digitally. Digital devices have become the norm in our society, well in particular in the western society, and we probably do not realize how dependent on these devices we have become.
Have you ever just taken the time to take a step back and be consciously aware of the amount of time you spend using digital device each and every day? The fact is that digital devices have slowly become so ingrained into our lives that we are unaware of how much we block out our surroundings to focus on our digital devices. It may dawn upon you just how obsessed we are with our digital devices if you go out to a social gathering and have forgotten you smart phone or tablet.
Take a quick look at this video below to see exactly what we mean.
As you can see we have become a digitally obsessed society whereby we are constantly reliant or dependent upon our digital devices. It would be fair to say that as a society we have become unwittingly addicted to digital technology predominantly powered by instant messaging, social networking and the Internet. When you think about it, it really is an addiction because we have become somewhat dependent on our digital devices just like a drug addict becomes dependent on a particular drug that they are addicted to.
Whilst technology can be an extremely important and useful part in our lives we must be conscious of the fact that we should not completely forego our relationships and our awareness of the world around us by becoming to engrossed in the digital life. It’s worth remembering that the digital age that we are currently living in is most definitely a new era and never before has the human race had to deal with the benefits and pitfalls of the digital immersion in our lives.
Why should we Digital Detox?
With much of their attention these days focused on our digital devices and digital technology that surround us in our lives we should take time out at least once a week to disconnect ourselves from our digital devices and really get back to appreciating what being a human in the true sense is really all about.
Whether we actually realize it or not our dependence on digital technology has had an effect on the way that we as humans live our lives so much so that it has come at a cost to our mental and physical health. We need to turn back the time and reintroduce more face-to-face social interaction, appreciation of the world we live in and the outdoors, and even setting time aside to rest in our minds.
Our consumption of digital technology through the constant use of our personal digital devices is most definitely putting out health and well being at risk. Quite simply the human body was not created to use digital devices and especially not in the scale in which we do in the 21st century. So really we could view our digital devices as a necessary evil, but given the necessity of our digital consumption, to varying degrees, we should at the very least take the time to reset our minds and our bodies through the process of digital detoxing.
Problems caused by too much Digital consumption
Various studies have shown in the past that too much consumption of digital technology and information can in fact cause the following problems:
- Increased anxiety
- Increased stress levels
- Sleep deprivation
- Poor face to face social & communication skills
- Poor physical & mental health
- Poor ability to focus & pay attention
These are but a few of the well-known side-effects that can come from dependency on our digital devices. Yes Digital technology can be a fantastic and useful tool in our daily lives however like everything consumption of digital technology should been moderated to some degree.
The perfect way to moderate consumption of digital technology or at the very least take time out from the heavy load of digital technology that we consume is to perform a digital detox.
How to Digital Detox?
There are many different ways in which you can perform a digital detox and even reduce your over all consumption of digital technology.
We want to look at 2 different types of digital detoxing that you can perform including a weekly detox and then an ongoing daily detox. These digital detox steps will go a long way to restoring your sanity and help you get back in touch with non-digital reality.
Weekly Digital Detox
A weekly digital detox is an extremely easy procedure to set up yet some people can find it more difficult performing the digital detox as opposed to setting it up. Basically it is as simple as switching the power button to “off” and forgetting about your digital life for 24 hours. It’s all about disconnecting to reconnect – by this we mean that the purpose of the weekly digital detox is to disconnect from all of your digital devices so that you have to opportunity to reconnect with life away from our technology addiction such as reconnecting with the outdoor and nature or being more social with others in a face to face sense. These types of activities are certain dying off in our digital obsessed society and it is important and healthy for ones mind and body to partake in these types of non-digital activities.
A great way to kick off the weekly 24 hour digital detox is to turn off the following digital devices:
- Smart phone
- Computer and/or laptop
- Game devices and/or consoles
I find that at the end of the working week on a Friday evening when I get home I decide to turn off all of the above mentioned digital devices and start the digital detox on Friday night. I spend a short amount of time prior to this cleaning up my email and text message inbox, taking note of any meetings or appointments over the following 24 hours and generally get a fix of social media and Internet surfing just prior to disconnecting everything.
Daily Digital Detox
What we are going to discuss with you in this part of this blog post are a number of tweaks or hacks which any user of a digital device can incorporate into their lives so that they can reduce their levels of unnecessary digital consumption. You will find that most of these digital detox hacks are extremely easy to do and can take immediate effect. We would love to know what you think of them and whether or not they have helped reduce your digital consumption on a daily basis.
1. Phone free zone for the bedroom (buy an alarm clock)
Studies have shown that too much consumption of digital technology can have an effect on our quality of sleep and usually the biggest antagonist of this is when people consume technology right before bed time or even as they are drifting off to sleep.
It is very common for people to have their smartphone sitting on their bedside table on charge as they sleep every night and the primary reason that people give for having the digital device sitting right next to their head of a night is because they use the device’s alarm clock function in order to wake them up each morning.
What did we do before smart phones existed? Thats right we used the old fashion alarm clocks which seemed to be just as effective yet without the temptation of promoting further digital consumption especially as we are going to bed and as we are waking up.
The problem is that having a smartphone device sitting next to your bed for the “purpose of using it as an alarm clock” means that we unwittingly tend to use the digital device to read or surf social media just prior to falling asleep. This is not good for letting the mind prepare for sleep and fall into a more relaxed state of mind. The bright fluorescent light and the often unimportant material being consumed by the brain completely conflicts with the relaxed state of mind that one needs to prepare for a good quality nights sleep.
Whats also unhealthy for the mind it that after we fall asleep immediately after consuming the technology from our smart phones we then wake up several hours later by the noise of the smart phones alarm clock. The temptation is there to grab your smart phone and begin to read material or again begin to surf social media for more unimportant material.
So we find that we are falling to sleep by consuming digital technology and then waking up by consuming digital technology and it is for this very reason that you should completely remove your smart phone from your bedroom, invest in an alarm clock (which can be very cheap) and begin to set your bedroom environment as a place where both your body and your brain can experience complete relaxation.
Even by removing digital devices from your bedroom you should also put all digital devices down at least 30 to 60 minutes prior to bed anyway.
This is one of the most important steps you can take in the daily digital detox process. If you are not convince then at least give it a go for a week or two and see assess whether or not you feel you have been getting better nights sleep.
2. Change your digital device notifications
Notifications on your smart phone or tablet device can be one of the biggest triggers in attracting you to consume digital technology. Most people have set their digital devices up in a way that whenever an application or program on their devices receives some activity then a notification of the activity will pop up on the screen of the digital device. Upon receiving a notification the digital device will generally make a sound, vibrate or light up the device’s screen which will generally grab the attention of the user and see the user picking up their device to see what the notification is. Most devices these days will allow you to tap on the notification that appears on the screen and will then proceed to open up the application or program so that you can see what activity has occurred and allow you to take any particular action you wish to on that activity.
The problem is that once a notification pops up on the screen it is seen as a major temptation to go into the application and find out what the notification is about. Once your are sucked into the application you will then unwittingly spend a lot of time consuming the digital material surrounding that application or program.
Often a notification can be as unimportant as someone “liking” or “favouriting” a picture or comment you have posted on Facebook or Twitter. But once you have acted upon the notification temptation you find yourself opening the application up and spending a large amount of time using the program far beyond simply checking the activity that occurred from the notification popup.
Not only can digital device notifications promote unnecessary use of your digital devices but you will find that it can waste a huge amount of your time.
The solution to these issues is so easy, it is simply a matter of going into the settings section of your particular digital device and turning off the notifications settings for your device’s applications or programs.
Give it a go because it will have a huge effect on your daily digital detox routine and your will notice the reduction in your digital consumption immediately. You will also notice a massive reduction in your procrastination.
3. Silence your digital devices
This is one of the easiest digital detox methods you can do. All you need to do is turn your digital device such as your smart phone or your tablet on to Silent Mode.
It’s as easy as that.
That will be a quick resolution to constantly hearing your digital device making an alert sound warning you of some activity that your digital device has received such as an email, test message, application notifications or some other type of digital activity. By having your device on silent will mean that it will not constantly alert you thus diverting your attention away from another activity to focus on more digital technology.
4. Speak instead of text
It’s primarily for this reason that you should consciously consider whether or not you would save time by making a quick phone call rather than communicating via text message, email or instant messenger.
The other positive to making a call rather than text is that it is far more personable and your communication and message is far less likely to be lost in translation. We all know that sometimes text can not relay the appropriate message that a person is trying to out across to the recipient and this can certainly be avoided via voice or video communication.
So it’s worth making a habit of thinking to yourself when deciding to text someone or even when you receive a text from someone – would it be easier, quicker and less consuming to just make a quick phone call to get the conversation out of the way a lot quicker?
5. Use a Camera not your Phone
If you are going somewhere and you know there is a strong chance that you will want to take some happy snaps then you should consider taking a small digital camera – remember those things? Use a digital camera instead of taking photos with your smart phone. Now I know what your probably thinking – all you are doing is replacing the use of one digital device (smart phone) with another digital device (digital camera). Well yes this may be true but the way we look at this digital detox tip is basically reducing one evil with that of a lesser evil, so to speak.
In other words we are seeking to reduce the use of the smart phone camera in particular circumstances since the use of the smart phone camera inevitably leads to further use of the digital device. For example you may recall being in a situation where you have taken a great picture with your smart phone and because its such a great picture you feel the need to share it with all of your friends immediately.
So what do you do?
Well you jump onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or another social media site to share your happy snaps with your friends which of course leads to your friends commenting on the picture and creates a whole new source of distraction away from your existing environment and puts your attention towards your digital device.
The smart way around this is to use a digital camera which will still allow you to take those happy snaps and allow you to share them with your friends via your social networks. However, the big difference between using a smart phone and a digital camera is that you will not have the temptation of engaging in further protracted form of digital consumption by using your smart phone and then engaging in social networking.
The smart phone will unwittingly lead you to more digital consumption than just using a digital camera and setting a specific period of time at a later stage to uploading and sharing your pictures as you see fit. The other great thing about this digital detox hack is that you will tend to remain engaged in the environment that you are in when you take the picture and certainly appreciate the environment and surroundings to a greater extent rather than ignoring much of it because you are pre-occupied with sharing your pictures immediately and getting caught up in additional digital consumption.
6. Read hard books instead of eBooks
This may be an obvious one however much of our reading these days is done online instead of the old fashion manner of reading through a magazine or a hard book. If you have the option to choose between ordering a ebook that you can read on a digital device or purchasing a physical hard book then it would be prudent for a person interested in performing a digital detox to purchase a hard version of a book.
Certainly we understand that the option to purchase or obtain material in hard copy version is not always available especially when much of the written literature that we can consume these days is published online only. However, be mindful of the fact that if the option is there to obtain hard copy material then this is usually always a better option to take as opposed to reading your material in digital format.
At the end of the day nothing can quite compare to having the touch and feel of a hard copy book in your hand and being able to flip the pages and have that smell of paper right before you.
One of the main problems with having too much of our written literature on our digital devices is that we find that is another reason why we consume too much digital material and technology therefore we should be mindful of the fact that there is an additional option out there which does not involve digital consumption.
Often many of us find ourselves reading a book or some material just prior to going to bed and certainly if we follow one of the prior digital detox steps of removing all digital devices from the bedroom then this will mean that we are unable to read any material that we have on our digital devices. Obtaining a hard copy of this material or the material that you wish to read will not only help you drift off to sleep reading it in hard version as opposed to a bright screen on a digital device but will also ensure that you keep your digital devices away from the bedroom.
7. Switch to Airplane Mode during workouts
If you go to the gym to workout then I am sure that you would have at some point in time saying people sitting on their smart phones during the middle of their workouts and yes that’s right you guessed it they are more than likely surfing social media, perusing their emails or surfing the Internet.
Once again this is another example of digital technology immersing itself into our lives as an attention diversion and a massive source of procrastination. Too often people in the gym will finish a set of lifting weights or other forms of exercise and turn to their phone when they will begin to simply waste time and take twice as long to finish their usual workout. Not too mention it can become pretty annoying when there are people waiting to use a piece of equipment when the person using the equipment is taking far too long to finish since they are spending half their time on the smart phone. Infuriating for even the most zen of us.
It is important to realize that the primary reason that people have their smart phones on them at the gym is so that they can listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks which can be a great source of entertainment and motivation. But with various other applications and programs available on our smart phones there is always going to be the temptation of diverting our attention away from the workout that we should be focusing on and end up consuming more unimportant digital technology.
So the solution to this is easy, basically all it involves is turning your smart phone onto Airplane Mode which is usually located in your smart phones Settings section. What this will do is it will disable any ability you have to connect your smart phone to the internet or to receive any sort of phone reception.
Ultimately your smart phone will become an MP3 player with the ability to play your music or audiobooks but you will not be able to surf the internet or receive calls or text messages at a time when you want to focus on doing your workout.
Airplane Mode is a great way to reduce the many temptations that your smart phone provides when you are at the gym or anywhere else trying to exercise and workout.
8. Use technology to stop using technology
Set your smart phone alarm telling you to turn device off. With the many functions that our digital smart phone devices have these days certainly one very important use is the alarm clock function.
So why not use your digital devices to remind you to start a digital detox.
Perhaps you want to take one day a week where you completely turn off your digital devices for a whole or half day. But the problem is that it can be very easy to forget to commit to the digital detox so why not set your alarm on your smart phone or tablet letting you know it’s time to turn off digital devices.
We like to view it as turning digital against digital for the purpose of a digital detox.
9. Reward yourself
It is important to reward yourself for completely a weekly or daily digital detox. You can very easily do this by setting aside some specific time just for the purpose of catching up on emails, texts messages, social media and general internet surfing.
You will find that you will look forward to this time that you have set aside and enjoy it more as you will feel as though it is a source of enjoyment rather than a mere procrastination tool to fill in and waste time.
10. Take notes during the day
Every single day that we are living we often have random thoughts, ideas and interests that pop into our minds that we seek to know more about. In this day and age it is so easy to find out more information about those topics and issues just by grabbing the smart phone in our pocket and easily searching more about these issues and topics that pop into our mind by accessing the Internet and other online applications. It is not uncommon to find yourself throughout the day grabbing your digital device and spending a considerable amount of time looking into the random issues and topics that might have popped into your mind and as a result this can be a huge time waster and a deadly source of procrastination.
A really good and easy way around this massive time waster would be to simply jot down a couple of notes about the random ideas or topics or interests that have popped into your mind and keep them aside for later so that you can research those issues when you have set a specific period of time aside to surf the Internet and research all those many interesting ideas and issues that tickle your curiosity throughout the day.
Benefits of Digital Detoxing
Many would be surprised as to the benefits both mentally and physically that can come from performing a daily and weekly digital detox as we have outlined above. We know that the brain is an organ, however it can be similar to a muscle in the sense that when it gets over used it can burn out and needs time to recover. Whilst our brain is pretty resilient we should known that constant consumption of digital material day in and day out will inevitably lead to various mental issues be that big or small.
By undertaking similar digital detox routines to the ones that we have described then you will find that you will reap many mental and physical benefits, some of these benefits may include:
- Better mental health: By allowing your mind to break away from the constant digital consumption in our lives it will feel more rested and at ease which will ultimately relax and calm the mind.
- Better focus: You should definitely notice that your overall focus and attention improves especially since scientists believe that too much digital consumption can be a factor which promotes Attention Deficit Disorder and other similar behavioural conditions.
- Appreciation of the outdoors: By downing the digital devices people will be more inclined to get involved in outdoor activities which can offer a greater appreciation for the world we live in and generally involves exercise which is healthier for our bodies.
- Better human relationships: When we decide to perform a digital detox we take time out from communicating with others through our digital devices, we find that we have the opportunity to meet up and have more in depth and fulfilling face-to-face conversations with other people. The very much reinvigorates the dying art of human relations, communications and social skills.
- Reduce Procrastination, Increased Productivity: Especially by incorporating the various daily digital detox hacks that we have suggested you will find that you spend less time procrastinating on social media and surfing the internet and more time will be devoted to whatever tasks you have on hand thus increasing your productivity.
- Improve Posture: The human body is also a victim of the digital age since most people tend to sit or slouch when they are consuming digital material, what this does is it leads to poor physical posture. Put simply the human body was not designed to sit at a desk let alone sit or slouch in a rounded or hunched over type of position. Less time on the digital devices will mean less time ruining your posture.
These are just a few of the big benefits that you will see before long should you commit yourself to the digital detoxing steps that we have shown you in this blog post.
Disconnect to Reconnect
It should be blindingly obvious that in the day and age we live in we are completely surrounding ourselves with digital technology and letting it take over our lives before we go to bed and as we wake up, and that’s not to mention the amount of time we devote to it throughout the day. Almost all of our waking hours are spent engaging in the consumption of digital technology and whilst we think this may be fine because it is what everyone does, the fact of the matter is that your brain needs a break. It needs time away from the bright fluorescent lit screen and time away from mind numbing consumption of often useless information that we simply do not need to know.
The sad truth is that whether we realize it or not many of us have become so reliant upon our digital devices and technology to the point that they we have an addiction to it. Perhaps the addiction to digital devices may not be as pressing from a health point of view as an addiction to drug use but nevertheless studies have proven that too much digital consumption can certainly have detrimental effects on our mind and our health.
Yes that is right – detrimental effects on our mind and health!
Gone are the days where digital detoxing is considered some airy fairy type of concept that digital hippies talk about doing and basically come off sounding like confused individuals. The stark reality is that scientific and medical studies have shown results that too much digital consumption does have a negative affect on our lives and therefore we have seen digital detox programs just like the one we have outline for you above.
Digital detoxes have arrived and are beginning to enter the mainstream with many people beginning to participate in such programs whether it be on their own private terms or whether they attend specialized island getaway digital detox retreats. The fact is that large corporations are evening seeing the benefits from digital detoxing and are beginning to promote such programs amongst their workers and employees.
The name of the game is to simply disconnect yourself from the total digital immersion that we have let take over our lives and begin to reconnect with the physical world and people around us. For sure you will find yourself becoming more connected with reality and the world we live it.
DROP US A COMMENT BELOW IF YOU HAVE TRIED SOME OF THE DIGITAL DETOX STEPS WE HAVE DISCUSSED AND LET US KNOW WHETHER YOU HAVE NOTICED ANY BENEFITS FROM YOUR DIGITAL DETOX EXPERIENCES.
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