We live in a digital world.
What 1950s sci-fi writer could have imagined all the amazing things our phones do?
Even if they thought of what our computers, phones, TVs, and other devices could do, they could never have considered that our devices do so much in one place. The convenience, the speed and ease of access. It really is incredible.
But it can also be overwhelming and unhealthy.
Just like anything else, when it comes to digital technology, you can have too much of a good thing. Digital technology is designed to make us want more. Designers and developers put as much thought into every little detail that will keep us hooked to our digital devices. Consider this: the Facebook notification button is red for a reason – because red is a color of intensity, danger, tension – and because it’s been shown to increase the open rate of notifications.
Consider, too, that the average person spends over 3 hours on their phone each day. Teens average about 7 hours and kids 8-12 average 4 hours. Shocking, right?
If you were a kid before the internet, you probably remember all the things you did instead of being glued to the phone.
So maybe taking a digital detox sounds like a pretty good idea – even if only for a day or two.
Here are 5 Tips to a Successful Digital Detox…
1. Make a Promise
So, you’ve decided to do it. Awesome! Every successful goal starts with a commitment.
Take a moment to write down your commitment: it could be as simple as “I am going to turn off my devices for 3 days”. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to be successful. So don’t be afraid to write down a long, detailed promise.
“I’m going to turn off my devices for 3 days. During this time, I’m going to buy a cheap-o flip phone for people to call me, in case of emergency. I will fill my time by doing these activities…”
2. Make a Plan
The more detailed promise you make requires a more detailed plan. And a more detailed plan means a higher chance of success. So make a plan!
Include these things in your plan:
- Length of sabbatical
- what kind of digital access is allowed
- How you’re going to keep from cheating
What else can you think of to include in your plan?
3. Stay active
Ever hear the old sayings, “Idle hands are the devil’s tools” or “Idleness is the root of mischief”?
Staying active will help you keep your mind off your digital devices.
Replace that social media feed of endless cat photos and political rants with fun projects and time with friends and family.
Learn a new skill, take up that hobby you’ve watched others do on YouTube.
Get things done you’ve been wanting to do for a long time but haven’t because you “haven’t had time” (remember how the average amount of time a person spends on their phone is 3 hours a day?)
4. Reward Yourself
When (not if…but when) you complete your digital detox, be sure to reward yourself. Make this a part of your plan so you have something to look forward to. I don’t recommend binging on social media as a reward, of course. Pick something that will be memorable – a great way to wrap up time off the online world.
5. Plan on your next sabbatical
You’ve done it once. Do it again. And again. And again. If not once a month, then maybe once every few months.
Do it enough until the digital detox becomes a routine part of your life – a habit.
Maybe it will help you evaluate your digital usage and trim down that time you typically spend online. And in place of all those cat pics, goofy GIFs, and weather memes…you’ll find a life enriched by experiences, memories, and stronger relationships.
(P.S. If all of these tips can be used for both adults and kids. Looking for a fun, screen-free activity? Check out the video below…)