Ditch the tech challenge
With smart phones, watches that measure our steps, books on screens, TVs that are more like computers than computers, it’s hard to steer away from technology. However, with one in four Brits spending more time online than asleep, it’s clear that tech is taking over.
If you feel like your phone – or other gadgets – are ruling you, rather than the other way around, you need a digital detox. And here’s how to do it…
Day 1: Turn off notifications
The average person checks their phone 200 times a day! If you’re guilty of being a regular phone checker, the first step is to turn off your notifications. Without your phone or smart watch constantly beeping or buzzing, it’s a lot easier to ignore – and also helps with tech neck!
I also whole-heartedly recommend putting your phone into Do Not Disturb mode for those moments when you really need to get away from it all.
Day 2: Decide on your ‘No phone zones’
Whether it’s no phones at dinner or keeping the bedroom tech free (yes, including kindles and TVs!), choose some areas where you want to keep technology to a minimum. If you’ve got kids, get them onboard with it by asking them to contribute their ideas. Then stick to it – simple as that!
Day 3: Ask yourself why
Each time you take your phone out or check your smart watch, ask yourself why you need to. If it’s to check something specific and/or urgent, go ahead. If it’s just to pass time, do something else.
Often, we use our phones to distract ourselves or to avoid things when we’d be better off dealing with them. Being more mindful means you’ll have a better, less dependent, relationship with your phone.
Day 4: Try paper
Emails, books on Kindle, shopping lists – we tend to do all these things via gadget these days, so for today, try going old school instead. Use a pen and paper to write your to do list, flick through a magazine or read an actual book.
In fact, science has shown that reading from screens not only drains us of mental resources but also makes it harder to remember what we’ve read – so reading an actual physical book will actually make you more intelligent!
Day 5: Curate your social media feeds
If, like us, you’re guilty of scrolling mindlessly through your social media screens, today is the day to stop!
Studies have proven a link between social media and depression – one in particular found that if you use social media less, you’re less depressed and less lonely.
If you can’t go cold turkey on social media, then it’s time to curate your feeds. Ditch those accounts that make you feel guilty, a bad mother, overweight etc and instead, choose those accounts that make you feel darn good about yourself. We’ve collated a list of ten positive Instagram accounts to follow that won’t have you clicking the dislike button.
Day 6: Give yourself a daily allowance
Most gadgets come with apps that allow you to control usage of them; if you’ve never used them before, now is the time to do so. For example, I have mine set to ‘block’ my phone at 10pm until 7am. I also have a limit on time-wasting apps like social media and games – these are blocked when I’ve reached that limit. Obviously, you can choose to unblock them, but just seeing a notice that you’ve been on something too long can often help you choose to step away.
Day 7: Walk away
You’ve done all these baby steps, but now the time has come to really step away from the phone. Don’t worry, we’re not telling you to leave it at home all day, but just for a bit! Perhaps pop to the shops without it or lock it in a drawer for a whole afternoon at home. Or remove your fitness monitor or switch off the TV. Start off gradually with a few hours at a time and you’ll suddenly realise you’ve gone all day without needing to check your phone.
Need a little bit more inspiration? One of our writers went on a digital detox, with surprising results.