Have you ever heard of a device detox or a digital detox?
We are all reliant upon our devices. Whether it is a laptop, tablet or mobile phone, many of us are tethered to at least one of them each day. They connect us to work, our family, friends and many other things. As convenient as using them can make life and work, how dependent are you on your devices?
It might be hard to remember a time when digital devices weren’t a part of everyday life. Living in a COVID world has made people even more reliant. Today, we are communicating through screens to attend virtual work meetings or connecting with friends and family we can’t see in person.
But when was the last time you completely unplugged, or had a day (or weekend) un-tethered from your devices? Does that feel impossible? Desirable? Stressful?
Monitoring usage is a great first step!
It’s easy on most mobile devices to monitor daily usage. Do you monitor how much time you are spending on your devices? Between phone, email, social media feeds, text messages, music, video or game apps – the time can quickly add up. Take a minute and check your usage, then decide if perhaps you need to set limits for how much time you are spending interacting in certain areas.
On an iPhone, checking usage is simple – swipe right from the home screen and scroll down. It breaks out the usage in a number of categories, including for the day or the week. It will tell you how much screen time you’ve spent, in which apps, how many times you’ve picked up the device, and more. It’s eye-opening! Conveniently, though, it also offers a way (settings, screen time) to set limits on your app usage and schedule downtime away from your screen and the setting can be shared across other devices.
On an Android phone you can check usage by setting up the “Digital Wellbeing” option. Like with the iPhone, you can get info about how you spend your time on your phone, set timers, manage your time in apps, and reduce distractions when you want to disconnect.
Have you put boundaries in place with your friends and family to leave the devices down when you’re together IRL (“in real life”). No phones at the dinner table? Not checking your phone on walks? Leaving phones tucked away when in personal conversation or even while video conferencing, when not using the phone to do so? Turning off devices between certain hours?
Is it time for a detox?
If you find yourself increasingly reliant upon and tethered to your devices – it might be time to take a break and detox! Pick an afternoon, evening, full day, weekend or whatever time period you can tolerate to unplug and engage in things that don’t require or involve a device. Go for a hike. Walk with a friend. Do something creative with your hands. Get lost in a good book. Play with your kids. Brainstorm a new strategy or project for work on paper or a whiteboard. Try out a new recipe. Mind map, day dream, or plan the vacation you’ll take once you’re able. Retreat to a cabin in the woods and just “be”.
Let us know how you chose to spend your time during your device detox. You may just get back in touch with something you’ve been missing! How could you incorporate periodic device or digital detoxes into your day, week or month?
If you could use more information, strategies, guidance or accountability in taking a device detox or digital detox, we’re here for you. We can help you learn how to set boundaries around your usage and work and function in a more productive way, with new habits and routines. We offer several ways to work together to give you the results you desire and time back in your day!