How long do you spend online each day? Be honest now! Did you know that on average we Brits spend around eight hours and 41 minutes on one device or another per day. That’s longer than we spend sleeping, which is on average eight hours and 21 minutes. Crazy, huh? So how does a technology detox sound to you? Scary? Then you’re probably in desperate need! Here are our top five tips for taking a regular technology break. Why not give it a try?
Why take a technology break?
Sometimes, when we’re hooked up to our phones, or our tablets etc, we are really no present in the moment. And that might sound like ‘hippy’ nonsense, but how many times have you been in a conversation with someone and had half a mind on what was happening inside that little device instead? Now imagine how it feels to be the other person, trying to talk to someone who is completely uninterested, unable to maintain eye contact and reluctant to spend much more time with you at all. It must be awful! Now imagine that the other person is a child. How are you supposed to explain to them that you’re more interested in social media/ emails/ texts than what they’re trying to tell you? We’re not saying that you should never use your phone at all in the presence of other people, but what we do think is that taking regular breaks can help to improve the way you communicate with others, and give you a better understand of what it means to live intentionally.
How to do it
If you do want to take a technology break- to be more present in your every day life, to be there for the kids, or to simply unwind and switch your brain off for a while- then it can be done. These are our top five tips to help you:
- Set a time limit. Start by promising yourself (or your loved one- hold yourself accountable) you will switch off all devices at 8pm each day. Put your phone in a drawer so its out of sight and out of mind. Turn off all computers and have an activity ready to occupy yourself instead. Go for a walk, take a long bath- whatever it takes to turn your attention away from social media until tomorrow.
- Expand your technology downtime. When you’re ready, and if the nightly detox is working for you, try to expand it a little. So say on a weekend, take every Sunday off. Just as you would after 8pm, hide all of your devices and occupy yourself with other activities. 24 hours away from technology can feel amazing!
- Expand it even further. Ok, so you get the idea now. If 24 hours feels great, why not try 36? Or 48? Come home from work on a Friday, hide your devices and only pick them up again on Monday morning? Now obviously, some of you will have work commitments and its not always possible to detox for this long but you can always try. Pop an out of office on your emails so that others know you’re not available until Monday and see how it feels.
- Make a promise to live in the moment. On top of your regular technology breaks, start to anticipate occasions where you can further switch off. If you’re having dinner with friends, turn your phone off. If you’re in the park with the kids, keep it in your bag and leave it there. Build up your tolerance to technology free time like this and you will soon start to notice that you rely on being online less and less. And you will get so much more out of being present in the moment, living intentionally and being mindful of others and the world around you too.
- Try leaving home without your phone…this is a big one. In this day and age we feel we need to be contactable at all times, and rightly so. Usually there is someone who may need us. But if you can, now and then try leaving home without your phone. Even go away for a weekend without it. Or does that thought scare you a little too much?!
The most important thing is that you give it a try. Find a length of time that suits you and take it from there. And who knows? Perhaps there will come a time where picking up your phone is the last thing you think of when the sun is setting and the world is cloaked in beauty. Perhaps you will enjoy the moment as a memory, rather than a well liked photograph on Instagram?