how to do a digital detox

“Run the day! Don’t let the day run you!”

In these unprecedented times, we can all agree we have been glued to our devices, (both tiny and large), more than ever! After watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix last week, I think we can all agree that a digital detox may be little more than overdue. 

In this article, we will be discussing the 5 steps on how to digitally detox. 

Step 1: Turn On Your Screen Time 

In this scenario, in particular, knowledge is power. By design alot of the things we do with our phones is habitual. It’s so easy to just grab your phone and one minute of scrolling turns into an hour. Before you know it you’re further “down the rabbit hole” and you’re wondering where your evening has gone. 

So, turn on your screen time and evaluate, within yourself if you are comfortable with that number. Did it scare you? I know mine did, I’m a little ashamed to say that my screen time average is 8 hours per day! Yes, scary numbers. Where would you like that figure to be? 

TAKE ACTION! You can schedule reminders to prompt you to put your phone down, or even limit access to certain apps, for periods of time. 

Step 2: Detox Your Social Media Apps 

What does this even mean? It’s important that your digital space is a place of peace and that you leave feeling better than when you signed on. 

So go through all of the accounts you’re following on all of your social media platforms. Make sure you’re happy with the content they’re pushing out and also happy with how it makes you feel. 

TAKE ACTION! Ask yourself, does this content inspire me? Does this content add value to my life? Does this content educate me? Do I like the person I am, after I have consumed this content? Does this content reinforce my existing values? Does this content make me laugh out loud?!

Step 3: Brainstorm things IRL 

What does your day look like? The chances are there are moments in your daily schedule that could be present and enjoy living in the moment. 

You may have things that you want to do, to further develop skills or to find a passion for something new. You also may feel like you don’t have enough time. So why not, make time? 

TAKE ACTION! Create a list of 3 things you want to find more time to do. This could be anything! Simply 3 things that you want to make more time for that does not require a device or internet connection. Then, plan these things into your day, for the next 21 days.

Step 4: Clear Your Inbox

If you are extremely organised, you can skip this step. If you are not, you need to clear your inbox! Those emails are adding to your mental clutter and you probably don’t even realise. It should ideally be under 10, that way it’s manageable and doesn’t feel so overwhelming. 

TAKE ACTION! Set aside some time each day to start clearing down your email and unsubscribing to any unnecessary mailing lists. Once the list is under control, implement 5-10 minutes a day where you sort your emails, and be ruthless with the email subscriptions you keep.

Step 5: Attack the apps 

It’s time to be ruthless! For some reason (probably because most are free to download) we tend to download an excessive number of applications on our mobile phones. The same rule from Step 4 applies here, it’s just adding to your mental clutter.

TAKE ACTION! This one is simple. Keep the apps you tend to use the most, and delete the ones you don’t. Furthermore, if you choose to keep an app, turn off the notifications for that app. 

As we discovered in the Social Dilemma documentary, these apps command your attention through random notifications to keep you engaged and active. As part of my detox the only applications I have notifications on for are my communications applications (e.g. Whatsapp and email, calls), and my horoscope (don’t judge me please). Everything else will more than likely prove to be a distraction and will keep your phone constantly vibrating in your pocket. You will naturally be drawn to check what you are interested in.

What about you? Have you ever completed a digital detox and if you have what did you do?

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