Two weeks ago, I vowed that I would go on vacation and totally cut the cord on every device I owned. I thought it would be easy to disconnect. One day into my trip, I caved and posted a photo to Facebook and felt totally ashamed about it.
Without my laptop or phone, I can’t work, get my education, make plans to go out, or even order dinner in some cases. There’s virtually no way to escape the connectivity that is my current life and it really, really bothers me that the habits are so hard to break. So I decided to try a more gradual, realistic method in weaning off the screen–a digital diva’s version of a 12-step program, so to speak. Here’s how I am doing it:
- Leave Home Without It
I realized that being mindful is the first step in breaking the habit of having my phone in my hand all the time, so I started leaving it at home. If I go out to dinner with friends, I ask if one of them has one in case of an emergency, and I leave home without it.
- Get A New Alarm Clock
Using my iPhone as an alarm clock was the first mistake of the day that I was making in being overly connected. Turning off my alarm was turning into checking the news, and 20 minutes later I was still in bed. Now, I use an old school clock to wake me up and keep the news on TV while I get ready.
- Turn Off The Notifications
The 24-hour news cycle was consuming my phone, and digital overload was killing my mood. If I didn’t get an alert from CNN on my phone, I was hearing about it from 30 of my friends on social media. I cut it all off. I hid the would-be reporters from my feeds and turned off all alerts to my phone. If I want to catch up on the news, I control it now.
- Keep Your Phone on Silent
Unless you are expecting a call, there’s no reason you should be on high alert for every ring and ping coming from your devices. I’m a huge fan of the iPhones “Do Not Disturb” function where you can idle your phone until you wake up. If you really need to use the phone, turn off all other sounds but your ringer.
- Phones Don’t Come Near Food
Every so often, I want to capture that great drink I just had or the beautiful meal we’ve prepared at home because cooking is a big part of my life and one of my creative outlets. That is the only exception to the “no phones at dinner rule.” Browsing while eating not only distracts you from watching your portions, but it’s a conversation killer. If my boyfriend and I are sitting down for a meal, phones are on the counter. We’re so busy and meal time is sacred time for recapping our day, so we ditch them.
So far it’s working. I hadn’t realized how much frivolous time I spent waiting in line and between activities. My FitBit is racking up a few extra steps a day, and I’m overall considerably less stressed. I still have a lot of work to go, and I am sure there are more things I could be doing, but I’m finding the balance that is so necessary for good health. Have you ever tried a digital detox? Share your own tips below!