“Just let me reply to one more message”, I’ve found myself saying time and time again, while missing what’s happening right in front of me. Though I pride myself on my ability to ignore my phone when I want to, I’ve fallen into the same trap as many online business owners, and during stressful work situations found myself checking my phone more times in a minute than breathing.
The average person apparently checks their phone 110 times throughout the day, according to the below infographic from Daily Infographic. We get our little blue light out of our pocket, swipe and scroll and swipe again and tap, tap, tap. We see some forms of communication from friends and acquaintances across various channels, sometimes even from people that we’ve never met in person, and then we put it back in our pocket only to check it again 8 minutes later.
As someone who runs an online business, I know it can be especially tempting to constantly be checking emails, texts, social media alerts and so on, either for yourself or for your business. Every time that phone bings, no matter how far across the room it is you’ll find a way to get to it within seconds. However there are times, the weekend being a prime example, when it’s better to switch off or at least limit your consumption for the sake of your health. Studies indicate that many people struggle with a sudden lack of constant access to the information on their smartphone, whether it be knowledge from the internet or communication from their friends over text. It’s well documented that being agitated over a lack of mobile phone access can culminate in anxiety in real life social situations, so undertaking a regular digital detox is recommended. Here are a few things you can do to help switch off:
Sleep with your phone outside your room
This has been said so many times, but do we do it? Meh. The fact is that many people use all of the apps that their phone provides, a built-in alarm clock being one of them. Without a phone right next to your bed, how will you possibly be able to awaken at the exact time you want to in the morning? While this is a valid concern, it’s no reason to avoid putting your phone on charge in the living room instead. Order a budget alarm clock on Amazon for your bedside table, take 5 minutes to learn how to program it, and start taking your sleep routine more seriously. There’s no need to keep your phone so close when you’re asleep, so enjoy being apart from it.
Go a walk in nature without your phone
Have you ever had that gut-wrenching, panic-inducing feeling of leaving your phone on the kitchen counter and heading out for the day without it? It’s usually followed by a brief period of genuinely weighing up the pros and cons of a 60 minute drive back to the house just to get your hands on it. It’s time to learn to be OK for a long period of time without your phone safely nestled in your pocket. Going for a walk, or even better, deliberately going out for the day without it can help rid your body of the constant need to swish your thumb around on invisible keys.
Avoid your laptop for the whole weekend
If you’re a workaholic who knows it’s time to spend more time having real life chats with family and friends, then the weekend is the perfect chance to exercise your tech-free lifestyle. Constantly checking your emails and being hunched over a laptop can be bad for your body (how’s your posture?) and your mind (time to get outside more). Shut your laptop or switch off your desktop computer, and give yourself the whole weekend to actively ignore work. Unless your company is solely reliant on you, then you should find that come Monday morning your work can be picked up where you left it.
Use a notebook
If you feel the need to question something and immediately find out the answer from Google, then it might be time to get back to basics with a notebook and pen. There’s no need to find out the answer straight away unless it’s an emergency, so write it down in your notebook as a reminder to look it up later instead of on the spot. No one needs constant access to information, we just think we do, so learn to turn off the part of your brain that seeks immediate answers.
Go old school!
If you want to feel really refreshed and take your digital detox to new levels, why not try doing things the way you did before you had the internet at your constant beck and call? Visit a library to find out the information you need, buy an alarm clock to replace your phone, write a letter to a friend instead of texting, go as old school as you like. If you’re not into living the completely tech-free lifestyle just yet, a good place to start is downgrading the data on your phone to limit your usage. You’ll be back to basics in no time!
Any plans to detox this weekend? Check out our self-care ideas for slowing things down, and don’t forget to share your story with us (but not until Monday, of course!)