I did a digital detox for a week, and it helped me set new limitations on my technology use and spend more time doing what I enjoy. Initially, I struggled with putting my devices down. Here are a few tips I used that you can use as well to help you start your detox today.
1. PREPARE YOURSELF. It makes all the difference in your overall success. Reminding yourself of why you should do a digital detox—perhaps to spend more time with loved ones or focus on tasks without interruption— will help motivate you to continue on.
2. FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR A FALSE START. It’s just like that resolution you make January 1 to lose weight right before eating leftover Christmas goodies January 2. Give yourself time to transition, and keep working at it. Setting a time frame will help too.
3. GIVE PEOPLE A HEADS-UP. If you’re constantly texting, instant messaging, and Snapchatting, people will notice when you’re gone. Let friends and family know you’re taking a break. This will keep everyone in the know and help you have fewer notifications to sort through later.
4. ALLOW YOURSELF TO NOT FEEL GUILTY. You aren’t missing as much as you think you are. You don’t realize how much you depend on technology for news until it’s gone. If it’s truly that important, someone will tell you in person.
5. ACCEPT HELP IF YOU NEED IT. Have friends hide your phone from you. Embrace technology one last time to use Internet-blocking apps.
6. TURN YOUR PHONE OFF. Not just on silent. When your phone is on, it’s more tempting to fall into old habits. Turning it off and placing it out of sight will help you escape.
7. BE REALISTIC. Check your schedule and make sure you’re taking time off from technology when it’s feasible. Start small if you have to. Try observing one day a week without tech time, and gradually work up to completing a full week.
8. SPEND TIME WHERE A SMARTPHONE ISN’T NEEDED. This is the perfect time to take that yoga class or go to a spot in a park where the cell phone reception is spotty.
9. USE A PAPER AGENDA AND A WRIST WATCH. It’s time to be old-fashioned. Writing down your schedule and to-do list will help you stay on top of responsibilities.
10. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO, NOT WHAT YOU’RE MISSING. Now that you’ve eliminated one pursuit, it’s the perfect time to start another.