You can't avoid it. Everywhere you go, people are on their cell phones. Technology is a great tool for keeping connected, however it becomes a problem if it prevents you from being present in real life. Not to mention the fact that consuming too much information is like eating empty calories without proper nutrients. Your brain gets overloaded and needs unplugged time the same way you need to "delete history" on your web browser.
True, not everyone can totally unplug from technology as it is critical for work and keeping in contact with family and friends. And not everyone has the opportunity to attend digital detox retreats like Camp Grounded. However, we could make simple shifts in our daily habits by including regular breaks from our digital life.
Here are five ways to digitally detox daily.
1. Make the commitment. This is simply deciding that unplugged time is as much a priority habit as brushing your teeth and that you'll show up no matter what.
2. See the benefits. More analog time means less stress, more calm and more free mind space. You'll also be more present with those you interact with everyday.
3. Schedule unplugged time. How long you unplug can be as little as a 5 minutes to an hour a day. Once you decide how long, put it on the calendar so it's real. If it's not on your calendar, it's not likely to happen.
Feel like it's too much to handle? Start off with five minutes a day and as it becomes easier, add more time as you see fit.
4. Decide on a non-tech activity. What can you do when you're not checking your smart phone? The choices are endless. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Write your morning pages. This was mentioned in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. It's a great practice for clearing the mind. Some of the most successful leaders use this habit.
- Spend time in nature. You could walk or hike outside.
- Practice yoga or meditate. This will help you be more aware of your breathing and help you stay present.
- Read a paperback or hardback book. Ditch the Kindle, Nook or iPad and go the old school route.
- Get your body moving with a workout. This could be a trip to the gym or an outdoor run or bike ride.
- Shop at the farmer's market and cook a meal from scratch. Sit down and enjoy time with family and friends without technology.
5. Review how you feel regularly. Take a moment to see how you feel after each activity. Do you feel more refreshed and less stressed?
With these five steps, you're on your way to making unplugged time a part of your routine. Doing a digital detox daily will keep you nourished, relaxed and more productive so you could give your best at work and life.