We live in a world of screens. I had to run some errands today and encountered screens at the UPS store, while filling up the car at the gas station and while filling up my belly at a local lunch spot. On average, Americans check their phones almost 100 times a day and spend around 24 hours a week online. At this rate, we will spend over 5 years of our lives online. This is more time than we will spend eating, drinking, pooping, or making love!
We now have decades of research indicating that screen usage is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control. In a nutshell, all this screen time is making us stupid.
It’s time to take back our power, sever the digital leash. Why not try a digital detox? Stepping back from a digital dependence creates silence and space to tune into your values. I detox twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. There’s an initial sense of FOMO for sure, but I’m always surprised to find that, when I reenter the online world, I have rarely missed anything truly meaningful. I feel grounded and peaceful by Day 10. Try the following 10-day tech vacation plan to reconnect to your best life. It covers the functionality of your devices as well as your relationship to tech in general. Tweak it to fit your schedule.
1. Use an alarm clock to wake up. Use a watch to check the time. You can buy both for less than $20.
2. Turn off all push, pop-up, and sound notifications on your phone.
3. Place your phone on airplane mode and only connect when you truly need to text or call someone. This may take some planning ahead of time. I check for missed calls and texts every hour on the hour; my family, friends, and clients know to expect a reply around that time.
4. Delete or hide all social media apps. If you’re running a business, give someone else in the business admin rights and let them “take over” the social for the detox duration. You could also preschedule a few drafts to post during your detox. You might – gasp! – just take a posting vacation. The world might even continue to turn.
5. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse during your commute, gym time, and at all meals.
6. When you get home, dock your phone in a room other than the bedroom. Your phone doesn’t enter your bedroom for 10 days. Choose 10 days when you are able to go to bed earlier. Notice how much easier it is to fall and stay asleep without your phone nearby.
7. Before you ask Alexa or Siri something, take a beat. Is it really important that you have that information so immediately? If you need to know the weather, go outside. If you’re lonely, call a friend. If you need to know how to spell onomatopoeia, grab a dictionary.
8. Choose one day during the 10 to go phone-free for at least 8 hours. This is not as hard as you expect! A lot of readers can probably even remember a time in their lives when they didn’t even own a cell phone, let alone have it permanently attached to their body. Party like it’s 1999 y’all.
9. Consider limiting your access to television and newspapers this week as well. Write, read books, take hikes, go inward. Look around and pay attention. Being bored can be an enlightening gift.
10. Online is for work only. You may check a fact or your email when necessary, but not because you’re bored in the school pick-up line. No online shopping, no streaming, no solitaire. Nada.
On Day 9 or 10, journal about your experience.
What worked for you?
What would you change for next detox?
What was harder or easier than you expected?
Does sharing an experience online validate it?
#theOMplace #digitaldetox #partylikeits1999