Do you find yourself checking email, news feeds or your social media channels first thing in the morning and last thing before you fall asleep?
Do you find yourself constantly interacting with mobile devices when you’re away from the home and office, and then asking yourself where the last hour went?
Do you find yourself unable to get the most important tasks for the day completed because of [insert here: messages, Facebook posts, Twitter updates, etc] you had to check?
If so, then you might be a Digiholic!
I read an article recently, which mentioned that virtually every second of the average person’s day is spent with their smartphone within arm’s reach and that their phone is checked every six-and-a-half minutes. In other words, 200 times a day!
That’s a lot of time spent staring at screens and away from the world around us.
And just to show how important ‘being connected’ is for our modern society, 73% of those asked in that survey, said they would struggle to go a whole day without access to phones and computers. Another study conducted in 2010 by the University of Maryland on a group of 200 students, even found the majority describing their dependence on the Internet as an addiction.
While I believe it is unrealistic to go completely technology-free, especially since so many businesses in this modern day and age rely on access to the Internet, I have found it important to disconnect once in a while.
To go on a ‘digital detox’ or ‘digital vacation’ so to speak.
My aim is for my partner and I to go at least one day a week without technology (we started with one evening a week) and last Thursday was our most recent one. We booked a day trip to the English seaside town of Eastbourne and had our mobile phones switched off from the moment we were awake until after we had dinner that evening.
It was beautiful.
We explored. We connected. We experienced clarity and saw our creativity explode (lucky we had a pen and paper handy to note some of these ideas and thoughts down!).
Allocating time for a digital detox can be beneficial for you on a number of levels.
And here’s a few reasons why you might want to consider taking regular time away from technology:
- Time will appear to pass more slowly. When you are disconnected, you avoid being distracted by the constant stream of notifications on your phone and demands by other people of your time. You can enjoy the freedom of setting your own agenda, focusing your full attention on the things that excite you and being present to what is happening around you.
- Opportunity to reconnect with yourself, people and the world around you. This is a natural and wonderful benefit you can experience when you disconnect. Away from screens, you are able to really listen to your inner wisdom and to the people you are having a conversation with. Time spent outdoors also helps to clear your mind.
- Your creative thinking will spike. It’s no surprise that one of the times that we find ourselves at our most creative is when having a shower or bath. The answers we seek, more often than not, tend to come from the mind that is still and not busy.
- You will create more fulfilling experiences. As humans, we are social creatures who thrive in community and there is only so much of a connection you can make with people through digital devices. We might just be a click, a swipe or a voice command away from anyone with an online presence, but real bonds between people are forged through face-to-face interactions.
- You will feel like a productivity ninja. Take a moment to think about how much time you spend online and in front of a screen (this includes televisions!) in an average week. Now think about what you could be doing instead if you were spending far less time doing so. Perhaps you would catch up with all those books you said you were going to read. Or even attend social events and gatherings related to your interests. How would that feel?
What you will come to realise, is that in such a connected world, taking the time to be disconnected can do wonders for your wellbeing.
Think of it as a process of rebooting yourself. And upon your return, you will have downloaded a happier and more productive version of yourself.
Start small and begin embracing time away from technology.
Here’s a couple of ideas to get you thinking:
- No access to digital devices until after breakfast.
- No digital devices allowed in the bedroom.
- Leave your digital devices in your hotel room during the day when on holiday.
In essence, you want to be in control of how you use technology, rather than letting it dictate your life and time.
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