Being in the Digital field for so long, I have seen so many ups and downs in the industry. I can now predict the trends, come up with creative strategies, and stay ahead of the game. All this has been possible by spending so much time online and getting to know the subject in and out.
But with great practice, comes great side-effects. Over the years, I have seen people gradually be pulled in the dark corner of the Digital World. More the Internet penetrated the lives, the more were the number of cases with side effects. What side effects? We are talking depression, anxiety, restlessness, jealousy, and so much more.
People have forgotten the thin line of Digital usage and Digital addiction. And just like every other addiction, this has to be tackled by working with it very closely. This is where Digital Detox comes in.
According to Oxford dictionary, Digital detox is “the period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices like smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus more on social interactions in physical world”, in simple terms it’s getting your head off all kind of social platforms for a while. Restricting yourself from the overuse of social media not only helps you clear your mind but also helps you to focus on yourself and the people around you.
In spite of making Digital my business, I went through a Digital Detox, and the little extra ‘ME’ time made all the difference. I was more active, more creative, and had more organized thoughts.
Why do we need a Digital Detox?
Just like our body needs a detox from all the toxicity of daily life, our mind also needs rehab from all the harmful effluents. In this case, the effluents are all social platforms and the digitalized world in general, which strips off your mental stability and induces addiction. This, in turn, creates disturbances in real-life activities and being perturbed all the time!
Procrastination for a more extended period leads to less efficiency and unhappiness for a prolonged period. It not only hinders your mental health but also affects relationships
to a more significant extent. It’s better to balance real life and digital life to maximize your body efficiency as a whole.
To tackle the situation in the best way possible, in June 2019, I, along with my followers, took up the Digital Upwaas challenge.
I started with a survey and found some staggering results. The survey was thrown open in many Indian languages to cover a large population. Some of the shocking results were:
- About 79% of the people admitted to using their phone first thing in the morning, and 70% of them checked their phone last thing in the night.
- About 54% of the people had the urge to check their phones for notifications every few minutes.
- 61% of the people felt annoyed at the ‘No Internet Connection’ notification.
- About 52% of the population missed their hobbies and habits because of more Internet time.
- 51% of the said that the very thought of having no Internet for a day made them anxious.
Later I challenged them to a Digital Free Day. They had the liberty to take up the challenge on any Sunday of June, and spend an entire day without any digital leisure. Few succeeded, few did not, but my goal of creating awareness was successful.
How does digital detox work?
Just as detoxifying skin requires a lot of consistent care, a digital detoxify requires constant reduced usage of a medium that leads to social platforms and also uplift your entire mood.
There is no right or wrong way. The formula is, do anything that takes your mind away from the screen. But for people who need a little nudge to get things started.
Here are 20 ways to do a digital detox:
1. Making a list of devices used daily
This is the first step in the right direction, this not only helps you contain your usage but also keeps track of all activities and makes you proactive. Cutting down the redundant hours that have been wasted in mobile phones enables you to gain all those hours and helps you focus better. Creating a list narrows your time and allows you to squeeze in the essential tasks in hand effectively. This activity will also make you realize your dependency on technology and how you can manage time effectively. Save the list and work on it accordingly.
The list should contain the daily activities that you are indulged in and also the time you spend on different tasks, just to get you a birds-eye view on how you can make it better and get the best out of it.
2. Buy a real alarm clock
It is estimated that 79% of smartphone users wake up and check their mobile phones first thing in the morning. The numbers have been increasing at an alarming rate considering that individuals spend most of the time scrolling through their social media platforms instead of spending time with their loved ones or performing exercises first thing in the morning. Tweaking your morning’s help you have a better day.
Buying a physical alarm clock helps you eliminate the usage of the mobile phone in the morning and help you cope with the day better.
3. Planning a “Technology free” trip
Recent findings indicate that 95% of people have their mood changed when they went outside. It’s fair to say that if you shift your attention to things that matter most then automatically, you become happy. A family trip where there is no or minimal usage of smart devices not only uplifts your mood and also connect with nature at the same time. Getting engrossed in the life and spending quality time with family not only enhances the atmosphere but also increases physical and mental health altogether. Usage of mobiles should not be entirely restricted but should be reduced.
4. Finding a detox companion
Working together boosts motivation and helps you achieve the deadline that you have set very quickly. Discussing the goals and working towards it together makes it more achievable and enhances communication. Choosing a good detox companion is a wise decision, spending time together and knowing the habits and then, rectifying the mistakes.
That is one of the reasons I threw open the challenge to the entire nation and was so happy to see their messages later about their experience.
5. Adequate sleep
This is a thumb rule, getting a proper amount of sleep not only rejuvenates the body but also replenishes the mind in the process. India is the second most sleep-deprived country, which makes this an essential aspect of digital detoxing. Make sure to sleep early and switch off the smartphones, so you don’t have to wake up in the middle, depressed and to scroll through the social media. This not only deteriorates health slowly but also affects the vision.
6. Transparency of thoughts
It will be nerve-wracking in the beginning with no mobile phone or a tablet. Still, after a prolonged period, you get accustomed to it. With less dependency on mobile phones, there is an increase in clarity of thoughts and calmness. The clarity of thoughts provokes a better imagination and helps you handle the situation.
7. Appreciate yourself
This is an important aspect that boosts a lot of self-confidence when harnessed properly, it can help you optimize the day well. For example – if you refrain from using mobile phones for 2 hours, buy yourself some chocolate or anything that makes you happy. Decrease the hours away from mobile phones, increase the allowances and voila, you get to have more time up for grabs!
8. Avoiding unrealistic goals
Do not bite off more than you can chew, this is actually true for a digital detox. Never set high goals, start with small and achievable goals that can be done in a shorter period. Invest your time in small-term goals and work on it instead of chasing unrealistic achievements.
9. Switch on the flight mode:
This is an excellent way to start small, putting your phone on airplane mode not only helps you resist the temptation but also helps you to focus on things better. Keep your phone on flight mode for an hour and then slowly increase the time.
10. Notification- less day
This might seem like a daunting task, but this would help you on a long run too. The constant notifications that you receive not only distract you from the functions but also gets annoying after some time. Using apps that restrict the warnings helps a lot in this. This also resists the temptations of checking the mobile phones all the time and curbs the overall time spent on apps.
11. Stick to a routine
There will be days when it’s highly impossible to have consistency, make sure to have an absolute distraction while having temptations to break away from the urge to use a mobile phone. To break away from attractions like that, make sure to distract yourself by indulging in something else. You can read novels or paint or play music or do something the moment the temptations kick in. The entire planned routine is a great deal to surpass the temptations.
12. Let your people on this!
This initiative will not only help you focus but also help you stay connected with family. There’s a less of you failing in this position because you will have your family members looking for you with the digital detox, plus you will be highly motivated not to abandon them. This will help you cancel out all the negatives and will also keep you on track if you derail a bit!
13. Giving the utmost dedication
At one point in time, things might spiral down, and confusion might start to kick in. You might lose all hopes in continuing digital detox. Never lose hope and stick to the routine with utmost sincerity and dedication. Always have a backup plan if everything fails. Having a time limit set also helps.
14. Setting restrictions in certain parts of the house
Having few areas where technology is off-limits should be implemented like TV should not be present in certain places. This would help the family to spend some time together and increase the sense of belongingness among each other. Kids should be made to play outdoors and spend time with nature. These factors contribute better wellbeing of the entire family.
15. Exploring nostalgia
It’s time to pick up the pen and paper and start indulging in this you used to do instead of giving your attention to technology, explore your passion for art or go outdoors and merge with nature. It not only detoxifies your mind but also keeps your soul intact and replenished.
16. Spending time in places where mobile phone usage is not entertained
There are a lot of places that strictly prohibit people from using mobile phones, there are monasteries, libraries, boot camps, temples and much more. Explore these places to help you minimize technology and detoxifying your mind. These places also help you meet new people and help you grow new ideas.
17. Updating your calendar
You can use an excel sheet or a regular physical schedule to keep track of your activities and updating them constantly will help you be content and satisfied with your achievements and also be determined enough. Be less tech-savvy and more time-savvy. Being time efficient helps a lot and be more self-disciplined.
18. Taking one step at a time
It’s necessary to take it slow and steady in the beginning and then gradually to increase the pace later. Initially starting off by avoiding technology for an hour and then steadily increasing the time is the best thing to stay on track. An idiom says “slow and steady wins the race”, it is right in digital detox too. The end destination will have you focused on the task at hand and less on social media.
19. Leaving gadgets at home
This might be a bummer, but it’s efficient nonetheless. Carrying a low budget phone that cannot have any social apps like Facebook or Instagram will stop you from being distracted while you are commuting. This will help you be aware of your surroundings and alert all the time. The end process will make you realize that technology matters little and there’s so much the world has to offer. Embedding your necessities goes a long way in determining how efficiently you live your life.
20. Chanting a mantra
This might seem old school. Still, it helps, having fixed your goals for digital detoxifying, it’s time to you chant a mantra that will help you stay energized and enthusiastic. Repeating words like “I am doing well and I am where I am supposed to be ”. This affirmation helps your mind float in the juice of positivity.
Personally, I have a set of affirmations posted around so I can motivate myself whenever I need a little push. A little meditation and a motivational nudge can go a long way. And to help me go through with this, I follow ma proven success formula for meditation, called, ‘SAVERS’.
First day in the morning, wake up and say this to yourself:
“I shall practice SAVERS every single day to be responsible about myself and my health.” SAVERS stands for:
- Silence (10 mins)
- Affirmations (5 mins)
- Visualization (5 mins)
- Exercise (20 mins)
- Reading (10 mins)
- Scribing (10 mins)
All these factors play a crucial role in digital cleansing or digital fast but what matters most is self-control and perseverance. A digital detox won’t work if you aren’t fiercely committed to the planned routine and taking a little bit of time off. It’s nearly impossible to stay away from technology as it has been deeply rooted in our generation and has been part of our lives for years now. But like everything, it has its downfalls and unwanted addiction will lead to a disastrous and unhealthy lifestyle.
With this in mind, play by your advantages in a digital detox and try to optimize your weaknesses. Resist your temptations and lead a healthy lifestyle altogether! So, would you be brave enough to take a detox challenge?
Or if you already have, how did it go?
What practices do you recommend for a successful Digital Detox?
Let us know below.