It’s always a bit ironic to read about digital detox online, but the topic is becoming increasingly important for one’s physical and mental health. It is also not environmentally friendly to use so much energy for all of those devices. If you want to think critically about how you live on this planet, I believe you also need to address your relationship with the technology. I like how our devices allow us to create, access information and connect with each other, but I think it’s safe to assume that we all tend to procrastinate on the internet. For most of us, plenty of screen time is unavoidable due to work or other aspirations. I find digital detox a necessity to keep me sane and something everyone should consider!
1- Decide on which devices you will avoid.
A technology-free day is of course supposed to be free of all devices. But there might be some you might not want to exclude and it is better to clarify this with yourself upfront.
I will use my phone as an alarm clock because I don’t own one. Then I will put the phone away for the day. I will probably spend my time outside and might take pictures with my digital camera. I will also spend my day reading on my e-reader, as pictured above. While I could read a paper book, I tend to stick with e-books, as I read pretty fast and could not keep up with the book supply otherwise. 🙂 Basic e-readers also don’t have the typical shiny screen and there is nothing to do with them apart from reading that book.
I’ll listen to music exclusively on the record player. Setting music on my laptop would probably get me distracted, therefore I keep my laptop off all day.
So a good rule to follow is to use devices that do not have a (shiny) screen and where you cannot get carried away to the world wide web.
2- Decide on the timing.
Pick a day and stick with it. It makes sense to do in on the weekend or for the holidays.
3- Plan your day beforehand.
Have an idea on how you want to spend your day. I usually write down a couple of things on a piece of paper. You don’t necessarily need to stick to it, but at least you’ll have a plan if you get bored. Planning on going outside or socialising is probably your best bet. Otherwise slow activities like reading, crafting, cooking and repairing things are all good ideas. Let yourself be bored but also know what kind of a day you want to have beforehand. Otherwise, you might feel lost and retrieve to the technology.
Here are some ideas on autumn activities.
4- Put the devices out of your sight.
I’d put my phone and laptop in the drawer. I leave my phone offline but not silent if someone calls me in an emergency (never happens). I’ll usually take my phone with me in my bag if I go out. That way I can hear it if anyone calls (again, never happens) and I don’t need to check afterwards. I don’t feel any urges to use my phone though, but if you do, it might be better to just leave it at home.
5- How to navigate around without your phone?
If I am going somewhere, I will check the route an evening before and write down some instructions. I’d do this anyway as I don’t have internet access on the go. It’s not particularly problematic in my opinion. Phones are really useful when travelling, so that might not be an ideal situation for a digital detox day.
6- How to communicate with people?
Definitely make concrete plans ahead on when and where you are meeting. You can also mention that you are having screen off time to the folks, but I usually don’t. Get an automatic email response that you are away for the day if you think it’s necessary.