26 Feb 7 things learned from a 7-day digital detox challenge
In the run up to Valentine’s Day we challenged a group of people to #LogOffForLove with our ‘7 days to digital detox challenge’. The concept was to take a manageable small step every day to decrease the time spent on digital devices leading up to one full digital detox day at the end. This last day completely off all screens fell on Valentine’s Day. We were encouraging the participants to give their presence not their presents and spend the day focused on their loved ones. Here are seven things we found everyone learnt from the challenge;
1. ‘Real’ alarm clocks are baffling
We all use our phone as an alarm clock on a daily basis, with 80% of us admitting that checking our phones is the first thing we do when we wake up. In fact, the most important (and simplest) thing you can do to introduce more digital balance into your life is to get a proper alarm clock. So we gave them out to our digital detox crew. But most of them it seemed, used to relying on their phones, had more than a little trouble working them out!
“I thought I’d set the alarm clock but it turns out I hadn’t done it right and the alarm never went off.” Rachel Hosie
Rachel was not the only one who struggled. When packing the challenge packs to send out to our challenge crew, the Time To Log Off team tested all of the alarm clocks… well, tried to. Three Millennial team members (under 25) tried to set them, and failed.
2. We really fear stepping away from our phones
We read in all of our digital detox crew blogs how much they feared stepping away from their phones before they did it. Taking away the digital devices that all of our participants were so used to having on a daily basis seemed like a big deal as they anticipated it.
“My phone is pretty much a permanent limb on my body. So I was pretty sceptical when it came to this challenge.” Amanda Bootes
3. Digital habits run in the family
After reading some of the blog posts from those who took part in the challenge, it was clear to see that ‘always connected’ lifestyles ran in the family. With children and partners following in our crew’s footsteps, our challenge seemed to work to highlight this, and get the whole family involved in switching off – which we loved.
“Arthur is 2 and already knows how to work the TV remote and iPad although I do take him out most days so he isn’t glued to the TV. If anyone was ever in need of a digital detox it’s me and my family.” Daniella Abraham
4. Removing email was hard
We all need a good work:life balance to manage stress effectively. But many of us think that we simply cannot survive without 24:7 access to email. Although some of our challenge group found it hard to remove email at first, they soon realised that instant replies to email was actually unnecessary.
“While I did miss social media, my emails and the internet in general, I didn’t realise until now just how much of my time it consumed.” Heather Nixon
5. We all just need a little push
Many of us are aware about the excessive time we spend on screens and have thought about putting our phones down and having a digital detox. But we haven’t done it. It was clear to see from our challenge crew that they’d all considered it and just needed a little push.
“This particular challenge was perfect at helping me to really think about my smartphone use and put my inbuilt need to be constantly connected into perspective.” Lisa-Marie Ferla
6. Nothing crucial was missed
FOMO is a real issue for the ‘always on’ generation. Constant checking of social media apps to make sure that we’re not missing out can easily become compulsive and time wasting. But those who logged-off from social media for a period of time soon realised when they logged back on that they hadn’t actually missed anything.
“When we got back I checked Facebook and Twitter on my laptop, but quickly realised I’d missed nothing. Do I really need to be on them all day everyday – even if it is for work?” Emily Luxton
7. Everyone thought about new habits
Everyone who took part thought about what they could change to introduce more balance into their life after the challenge was over. For us this was the most rewarding aspect of the whole project, encouraging a group of people to think about lasting changes.
“I’ve always been of the opinion it’s about balance, the week reiterated that. It is useful to pause and consider if you have the balance right.” Gemma
If you think you spend too much time logged on why don’t you try our ‘7 days to digital detox’ challenge and see what you can learn from the experience. If you are looking for a total digital detox take a look at our retreats to see how we can help you log off.