DIY Digital Detox

You spot a work email notification in the middle of the night and jump to respond.

A friend tagged you on social media and now you’ve fallen into a comment thread vortex.

Chances are that you spend far more time than you’d care to admit in front of a screen, and who can blame you; both in our personal and professional lives, it has become increasingly difficult to disconnect from technology. A few studies show that social media appears to promote narcissism, smartphones could be causing insomnia, and screens seem to be making our kids less empathetic1. ‘Digital Fatigue’ is a real thing, and the only way to combat the scourge of constant connectedness is with a digital detox.

dig·it·al de·tox
1. a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.
2. “break free of your devices and go on a digital detox”

So what are some simple steps you can take that will bring balance into your life without causing a full-on tech withdrawal?

  • Set boundaries - When you don’t have to go into an office every day, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making yourself available to clients at all times. Set office hours for yourself and stick to them. Not only will this help you effectively manage your clients’ expectations, but making a routine for yourself is the best way to stay on task and organized without feeling overwhelmed.

  • Give yourself an allowance - After work is over, make the most of your ‘you’ time. Assign yourself a window of time or limit the number of hours that you’ll spend on social media or on entertainment that doesn’t bring you peace.

  • Turn off your phone - The easiest of solutions! Whether you’re at dinner or just hanging out with friends, turn your phone off while you’re socializing. Focus on the people you’re with, your environment, literally anything besides the impersonal piece of technology you carry around with you. And if you’re feeling particularly 1996 about it, I dare you to just leave the phone at home altogether.

  • Go on a digital holiday - A hotel without wi-fi? A desolate beach? Camping? You have options when it comes to completely disconnecting from the world, and even a day or two without a laptop, phone or television can do wonders for your brain.

  • Keep the tech out of the bedroom - If you can’t fight the urge to look at your phone before bed, don’t bring it in there to begin with.

Making a lifestyle change while being a location independent worker can be tough, but you should always make time to refresh your mental energy; doing so can help increase creativity, efficiency and productivity, and keep both you and your clients happy.

Happy Detox!

  1. Fast Company