5 Tips for a Digital Detox
The chances are you’re reading this off a screen. In fact, the chances are you have been reading a lot off screens lately. We all have. From scrolling through the endless posts on our social media platforms, to the one last check of your emails before bedtime.
Screen time has become so prevalent in the day to day of our lives, so much so that most of us keep our devices within arm’s reach most of the time. Recent research by screen time limiter app, Moment revealed that the average adult spends 4 hours a day on their smartphone.1 That’s the same time it takes to fly from London to Marrakech.
In this fast-moving world of instant information and constant communications, the concept of ‘switching off’ seems like a near impossibility. However more and more of us are making a conscious effort to reduce our screen time.
Besides freeing yourself from the technological tyranny that comes with the never-ceasing barrage of social media, there are numerous health and well-being benefits to consider. Better sleep, lower blood pressure and even less anxiety, to name but a few.
Going ‘cold turkey’ may not be the best way to embark on a quest for a digital detox. We do rely on our mobiles, laptops and tablets and they have, without doubt, made aspects of our lives much simpler. No need to bin that iPhone just yet.
Through a few easy steps, we can wean ourselves off from the habit and start to enjoy our lives away from the digital realms.
Here are a few hints to help make this a little easier.
1. Leave the phone behind
Its not exactly rocket science this one, but it is perhaps one of the harder habits to get used to. With most of us accustomed to our phones acting as an extra limb it takes some doing. Of course, there will be times when not having a phone simply won’t be possible, but do you really need to take it out with you when you walk the dog or go out for a meal with your friends?
By leaving your phone at home (or at the very least switched off) for short intervals will reveal to you that you’re not as reliant on it as you may think.
2. Schedule screen-free time
Planning out specific tech-free periods each day breaks down your digital detox into manageable chunks. By designating specific times each day, you are more likely to commit to it. Mealtimes would be an obvious starting point or perhaps you will pledge to switch off after 9pm. A bedtime curfew will do wonders for your sleep patterns. The blue light emitted from screens plays havoc with your sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. The artificial, short-wavelength light mimics daylight and suppresses the release of melatonin keeping you alert just at the time when you want to be winding down. Switching off just an hour before bed can dramatically improve your chances of a restful night’s sleep.
3. Read a book
So, you’ve committed to switching off at 9pm. That’s great but let’s be honest – you’re not quite ready for sleep yet. You need to find another way to occupy yourself that won’t have any negative effects on your night’s slumber. A book is the perfect solution. There really is nothing better than getting into a good book and for every negative health effect electronic devices may have, the printed book has a benefit. Reading for just 6 minutes per day can reduce your stress levels by 68%2 and if it’s a good book it’s likely you’ll be reading for more than 6 minutes!
Reading from print not only is a relaxing activity, but it helps improve your brain power by increasing your memory. Studies also show that you absorb more information when you read off paper as opposed to a digital reader.
Books are not just for bedtime and you do not need to worry about them running out of battery or losing signal. Take a book with you in place of a phone when you’re out and about. You can find a list if hints and tips on how to get into reading in our blog “15 tips to get back into reading”.
4. Write it down
Have you ever felt the satisfaction of crossing off an item on your to do list? And doesn’t it feel so much better when it’s done with pen and paper?
Sure, there are loads of apps and software available to manage task lists and these can be very handy. The convenience of having a device to manage your schedule is very compelling, but your productivity needn’t suffer as a result of a digital detox. In fact, it may very well improve. Swapping the digital notetaking for a more traditional pen and paper has some scientifically proven advantages too.
Physically writing down your tasks makes you 33% more likely to complete them. Putting your goals, thoughts and ideas to paper makes it easier for you to recall them, focuses the brain and ensues a sense of productivity.
If you are a stationery lover, invest in a beautiful notebook you can keep with you. Take a look at our blog “Bullet Journaling – A new Age of To-Do Lists” for some serious to-do list inspiration.
5. Get a new phone…the Google paper phone!
Tech giant Google may not be a name you’d associate with the path to a digital detox, but their Experiments division has launched an intriguing new device with the sole purpose to help you take a break from the digital world. The first ‘printable paper phone’.
A simple but ingenious idea, the paper phone is a printable personal booklet containing all the key information you’ll need that day. From essential contacts, to scheduled appointments, the paper phone can come out with you that day whilst you leave the real phone at home. You won’t have to compromise on losing the most important information as the paper phone is fully customisable and you can pick what information you can’t live without that day.
Check it out here and find out how you can get your own personalised paper phone!
* * *
Taking a digital respite needn’t be a chore and can open up opportunities for a healthier, more productive and stress-free lifestyle. These are just a few tips to help you on your way and we hope you find them useful.
If you have any tips you think can help with the digital detoxing journey, we would love to hear them. Email us at [email protected].