31 Dec Make 2016 the Year of The Digital Detox
When we look back 2015 will come to be seen as the tipping point. The year when we all woke up to the need to introduce a bit of digital detox into our lives. In 2016 why not make it your new year’s resolution to start wresting back some of the control from your phone? Make this the year you learn to lay it down regularly and focus on the things you love offline.
Here are our tips on how to make 2016 your ‘Year of the Digital Detox’.
Reduce your onscreen time
We know now that adults are spending more time on screens than they are asleep – a whopping 8hrs 41 mins a day. Your first step to taking back control of your time is to reduce those daily hours.
Set aside specific times or places where you absolutely will not be on your phone (or even have your phone with you). We ban our phone from our bedrooms and meal tables and aim to switch off by 8pm each night. We also follow our 5:2 Digital Diet and have totally screen-free weekends.
Boundaries around technology are personal choices so what you choose to do is up to you. The key thing is to try and build small periods of manageable digital detox into your life and then build up to longer ones.
Delete social media apps from your phone
Mindless scrolling through social media is what helps many of us clock up that staggering 8hrs 41mins a day on screens. Deleting social media apps completely from your phone is one guaranteed way to cut down on all those hours online. You can still access your social networks, but only from a laptop or PC. It means that when you are out and about, away from home and work, you’ll have one less reason to keep looking at your phone.
Restrict app notifications
Our lives have been transformed by this one. If you’re an iphone user you know that when you install an app you have an option to accept ‘push’ notifications, but that then leads to banner and badge notifications multiplying on your phone with each new app.
Go to your settings and be ruthless with all the apps that currently have permissions to send you notifications. Especially look at notifications for things that really aren’t time sensitive. Do you need to know when someone retweets a tweet of yours as it happens? Could that wait? Delete badge app notifications and you remove all those annoying red check mark (or numbers) on the app icons on your phone which compel you to open them. You can still pick up your mesages and notifications of course, but in your own time. This will really challenge you if your FOMO is spiralling out of control but we promise you it’s bliss.
Digital detox with ‘sleep mode’
If you weren’t already aware, your iphone has a handy sleep mode. During this time, you won’t get any push notifications at all – your phone will stay nice and quiet. We know that getting constant push notifications is what makes many of us compulsively grabbing our phone, even if we don’t intend to. Setting your phone to ‘sleep’ means you can still keep it on you for emergencies but not be interrupted by notifications. Even better, you can schedule it for certain times.
Give your phone to a friend
Everyone who comes on our digital detox retreats remarks on how liberating it is to hand over their phone to someone else. All the decisions on how and why to use your phone are taken away from you, there’s no need to exercise self-control or restraint, the temptation is simply taken away. And experts in the field of technology addiction agree this ‘permission’ to not be online can be really powerful. So why not try this yourself by handing over your phone to a friend, or family member, for periods of time when you are resolving not to use it? You can do the same for them too if they decide they want to give it a go!
Rediscover what you love to do offline
Can you remember what you used to enjoy doing before the digital world ate up so much of your day? Was it sport, reading a good book, walking outside in nature or even just spending time connecting with family and friends? Make it your new year’s resolution to use your digital detox time to rediscover what you love away from screens. Even better if the activity is one where you absolutely cannot take a phone with you (we love yoga retreats and surfing sessions for exactly that reason).
Digital detox with your crew
Whether that’s your family, your partner, your team at work or a group of mates, there’s no doubt that being part of a group trying to stick to a new year’s resolution or bring about a permanent change in habits really helps ensure it works. Seek out other people who want to cut down on their screentime and try and get as many onboard as possible. Why not get everyone committing to screen-free weekends in 2016 and agree to support each other in doing it? Even better, think about trying a group digital detox retreat or digital detox holiday in 2016. Everyone attending will be motivated to do the same thing as you and you won’t be tempted by people around you on their phones.
Good luck with all your new year’s resolutions for 2016!