I recently had a revelation. My life has become too digital. It’s evident from my past blogs that I love technology. Apps, software, hardware; if it involves technology it has my attention. But when I look back at my life, the best experiences were the ones that were not on my screen. I can’t tell you what YouTube video I watched in the summer of 2015. I can’t remember what was so funny about that snap Jerry sent me. But I can remember a lot about my trip to South Carolina, and I don’t need my Photos app to recall the sunrise or our gray-finned visitors.
If we spend too much time tuned into backlit screens we lose the real experiences that this world has to offer. To help you refocus and balance your online/offline lives I offer up some tips on doing a digital disconnect. Think of it as a cleanse that doesn’t involve you eating only Kale for a week, or eating every meal through a straw.
Types of Detox
There are a few types of detox, you’ll want to pick the one best for you.
Social Media Detox
Fairly self-explanatory, but this is cutting yourself off from all things social media. No Twitter, no Instagram, no SnapChat and no messaging apps like Discord or Line. Not just the apps, no checking them online either. Do this for at least a 24-hour period to be most impactful.
Close the Facebook app, close Snapchat, no more games on your phone. Cut yourself off from all of them. Basically, you can use your phone to make calls, that’s it. My advice, move your apps to another screen so that your main home screen has no apps on it.
Put the phone and tablet down. Lock it up. Unplug the computer, heck, unplug the Wi-Fi. I know this is extreme, but having spent a couple days in Northern Minnesota, I can tell you it is refreshing to be completely unplugged for a few days. Just let people know you are doing this, that way they don’t worry.
Some Tips to get Through the Pain
- Turn off cell data and Wi-Fi on your phone and tablet. Your phone is your largest tempter, this will make it harder to open up those apps. If you are just doing social media, go through and turn off the notifications for each app.
- I suggest leaving your phone active, that way you can receive calls. Some say this is cheating, but I have no other phone, so I don’t see it that way.
- Write things down. I found this helped me document things that happened and I had some great ideas during these times. I know a few friends who started a journal when they did their first session and kept with it for months.
- Set a schedule that works for your life. This just isn’t something that you just do once, it’s best to do it regularly.
- Give your mom a call. It helped me to call some friends and family and reconnect that way. It’s amazing how more impactful things are when you hear them and not read them.
These are some things that worked for me when I took breaks from my digital life. I have not done one in a while, and writing this has me ready to give it a try. Pick a day and try a digital detox. Let me know in the comment how successful you were. What did you learn about yourself? Tell me about what you experienced, who did you talk to? And of course, when do you plan to do another?