A digital detox is the process of taking a break from electronic devices as a way to cut down on the endless distraction that can come from being connected at all times. It can be a quick way to bring calm and serenity into your days if you’ve been feeling stressed out or a bit too distracted.
There are different ways to start out with your own version of a digital detox. Here are a few to consider:
The PM Digital Detox
You can choose to detox from your devices completely after a certain time of the day. If you tend to forego a good night’s sleep and stay up much too late at night watching or reading one thing after another via an app, streaming service, YouTube, TV or any other method, then your targeted detox rule could be “No electronic devices after 8 p.m.“. This method is an excellent way to curtail distraction for a pocket of time and use that time in a way that is healthier for your mind and body.
What to do instead: If you’re using screen time as a way to unwind, think of other ways to slowly let go of the stresses of your day – spend time reading, journaling or talking to the people in your life about your day. Decide to turn in to get some sleep earlier than usual at night so you get all the hours of sleep your body needs.
The App Detox
If you find yourself spending too much time on a particular app, you can choose to delete that app from your devices for a specific period of time. You can eliminate the constant distraction and create new ways to channel your energy.
What to do instead: If you’re using apps to channel stress or to distract yourself from something, try out other methods to do the same – get a workout in, spend time with loved ones, declutter your surrounding area, get some chores or busy work done, do something that channels your energy in a more productive way.
Tech Free Zones at Home
This is another good method to try if you want to gain freedom from distraction in a certain space in your home. If you know you want to be less distracted at the dinner table, then you can decide to make that area a tech free zone. The same method can be utilized for a work space. You can choose to have specific rules for tech in a work space at home. As an example, you can decide to turn off notifications and place your phone at the entry of the room and only allow yourself to walk over and pick it up after you’ve completed a specific task.
What to do instead: If you’re allowing screen time to distract you during times you want to be fully present and focused, it may be because you need scheduled blocks of screen-free time.
Instead of allowing your devices to distract you continually, you can put screen-free times on your schedule and additional specific break times when give yourself the freedom to use all your devices.
The “Half the Amount of Screen Time” Detox
Your daily or weekly screen-time statistics or the amount of time you spent viewing your screen can be accessed on most devices. Keeping tabs on this number is a good way to determine whether the amount of time you spend on your devices is acceptable to you from a quality of life perspective.
Review the amount of time spent per week as a whole and per app. Once you have a clear idea of where you are, you can choose to halve your total screen time per week.
As an example, if your screen time outside of necessary work is 4 hours per day, you can choose to pare that down to 2 hours per day by keeping an eye on your screen time statistics. This method can be very appealing if you enjoy using habit trackers and statistics for motivation.
What to do instead: This is the time to open your to-do list of priorities and get to work on checking them off one at a time. Freeing up this amount of time on a daily basis can also give you time to explore other hobbies if you want to exercise your creativity.
The “No Tech in Nature” Detox
This one is for anyone who goes outside for walks, runs or any other form of exercise. Unplugging completely while outside can be one way to have a distraction free meditative experience in nature. While it can be motivating to listen to music or a podcast, spending that distraction-free time in nature can be refreshing and give you more time to process everything going on during your day.
What to do instead: This can be your time to be present and to truly appreciate the beauty of nature all around you. Explore all the interesting areas where you live instead of just passing by without a glance. Stop and have a conversation with a neighbor or take the time to think about your day.
The Marketing Email Detox
This can be the simplest one to implement if you’re just getting started. All you need to do is unsubscribe from any marketing email lists for a designated period of time. If you love getting sales notifications from specific websites, you can tell yourself that this is just for a 30 day period and then you can decide to subscribe again. The goal with this is to completely eliminate one form of distraction from your mailbox.
What to do instead: Marketing emails can be fun to pore through if they are from your favorite stores and you enjoy that category of products. Instead of allowing them to take up your brain space, use the time to read from a book you’ve been meaning to read more of or read an article you’ve bookmarked to read later.
The Weekend Tech Detox
This is for those of us who want to truly get some peaceful, undistracted tech-free time on one or more weekends. With a weekend tech detox, you would put everything away for 48 hours and only use your phone in case of an emergency. This would be the time to let the people in your life know that you will be completely unplugged for the weekend and only reachable for true emergencies. This is an excellent way to take a complete break from all that is distracting.
What to do instead: This is the time to let go and focus on what nurtures mind, body and spirit. Spend time with loved ones, explore a hobby, catch up on sleep, make your favorite recipes or get outside and go somewhere you’ve been meaning to go.
A digital detox helps with connecting back to the present and to real life. It can help with decreasing stress and be a way to bring more calm into your every day.
The One Week Challenge
An easy way to implement a digital detox is to ease into it with a one week challenge.
Choose one or several methods of restricting screen time that appeal to you, set clear rules for yourself and challenge yourself to consistently follow your rules for every day of one week. Create a list with a check box for each day of the week and mark off each day you follow the rules of your challenge.
Take the time you gain to work on something important and meaningful to you or just to relax and connect back into your life.
Have you ever considered a digital detox? What has or hasn’t worked for you if you’ve already tried some version of this?