It’s estimated that the average person spends more time on their mobile device than they do sleeping, and more time checking emails than having breakfast. As we advance in the tech world and it starts consuming more and more of our time, it’s important to create and experience the opportunities within our day to unplug from the internet (and yes this includes social media!).
Powering down our devices has a real impact on our overall well being – both physically and mentally.
When we put our phones away, we stop the social comparison. While social media is a great way to connect with friends and family all over the world, researchers find that it often triggers feelings of envy, frustration, and dissatisfaction with people’s own lives - from body image to vacation destinations.
The more time we spend plugged into technology, the more likely we are to consume it. While many use technology to contribute and create amazing things in the world, a lot of people are likely to spend time consuming - whether this be videos, music, or shopping. This time can instead be used to be more productive, creative, or just present in your own life. And, you might save a few dollars.
When you’re constantly plugged in, you also find it harder to hear your own voice, reflect on what’s happening inside of you, and get real quality time with yourself. Solitude allows you to get clarity around goals, helps you make better decisions, and improves your ability to problem-solve. You will also come to appreciate your relationships after you’ve spent more time alone.
If you need to disconnect from the world, but can’t escape to a deserted island, here are 10 ways to unplug and enjoy a digital detox today:
1. The first step is always awareness. Observe for just one day how much time you actually spend on emails and social media for leisurely use. At the end of the day, decide how that time could have been better spent. Even with one hour to spare, that could be one hour that is allocated towards an exercise routine, personal development, or preparing a home-cooked meal.
2. If you use social media for business, set scheduled times for use and uphold those boundaries with yourself. Put them on a calendar the same way that you would schedule in anything else.
3. If you spend most of your time on a computer, it is especially helpful to get up, stretch, and walk around. Completely bring your awareness back into your body. After all, sitting is the new smoking. Think of these as mini-detox breaks to keep your energy high and your mind sharp.
The Pomodoro Technique, by early 90s author and entrepreneur, Francesco Cirillo, proposes working in short bursts of 25 minutes with 5-minute breaks in between each task. After you’ve repeated this cycle four times, you create a longer 20-25 minute break. He found that these short spurts help improve concentration, and keep you motivated and creative.
4. Keep your technology out of the bedroom. Aim to have computers and TVs outside of your bedroom, and leave your cell phone out as well! Make your room a screen-free zone, promoting sleep and a healthier immune system.
5. Start your day in a different way. Choose not to go straight for your mobile device or email inbox in the morning. Use at least the first hour to be completely present in your morning, have breakfast, or just slow down for a mental de-clutter.
6. Be present in conversations. Avoid checking your phone while you’re interacting with people. This small change can drastically improve your relationships and your ability to remember smaller details. It’ll remind you that the most fulfilling connections are those that happen in person.
7. Creativity is fueled by going outside. We don’t mean snapping photos of yourself outside, but really enjoying the outdoors! Use break opportunities, or your weekends, to leave your phone in the car and refuel in a natural environment.
8. Use airplane mode. Designate times in the evening to simply put your device on airplane mode. You won’t be tempted to check your phone if it buzzes and it sends the message to your brain that you are serious about self-care.
9. Write a hand-written note instead of writing an email or sending a text. Take a minute to write someone something. This small act can lift someone’s day and keep you in the attitude of gratitude.
10. Invite your friends to put their phones down. You might find it easier to put the phone down if you’re not alone. Invite your family and friends to stack their phones away when it’s time to interact, or when you’re out for an evening.
Do you have other ideas how to unplug from technology? Please share them with our community in the box below.
Oh and before I go…
I have a fun and free gift for you to check out before you unplug :)
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Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.