4 steps to a Digital Detox

4 steps to a Digital Detox

30/10/2018 09:00:00 

For most of us, digital devices are an important part of our daily professional and personal lives. From smartphones and smartwatches to tablets and desktops, these devices ensure we are constantly plugged in. While there are benefits to this level of connectedness there are also considerable drawbacks. One study, for example, found that your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone or other portable digital devices are within reach. Furthermore, poor digital habits can increase stress, decrease productivity and stop us from striking the right work/life balance.

Creating healthy and sustainable digital boundaries is important. As such,  understanding how to digitally detox effectively ensures that your personal and professional lives will benefit. Here are 4 simples steps to start a digital detox today:

1. Turn off notifications

We are constantly inundated with notifications, from our social media channels, email accounts and even entertainment or news apps. These updates can be informative, but they are also distracting and interrupt our workflow. A simple solution is to turn off all the notifications that are not essential to your workday. This will allow you to stay focused on the task at hand and increase your productivity throughout the day. 

2. Switch to paper when you can

There is a certain satisfaction in writing a list down with a pen and paper or reading a book opposed to reading from a tablet. Research suggests that this is because our brains process abstract information more effectively when we read it on paper. By simply ditching the digital note-taking apps and putting away your tablets you can process the information better and maintain your focus on the task at hand. 

3. Screen-free social time

Have you ever sat at a restaurant and watched the people around you? Are they engaged in conversation with each other? Or are their noses buried in their phones as they snap pictures of their food? It’s likely that you are frequently seeing the latter, and you are probably even guilty of this habit yourself. Research shows that even if you’re not checking your phone, simply having it on the table during dinner can reduce the quality of the interaction as our brains are subconsciously waiting for it to buzz, light up or send us a notification. In turn, we are less present and this impacts our ability to truly be with the people around us. Implement screen-free social time and choose to keep your phone away during meals, parties and so on. You may be surprised to see how your relationship with your friends, colleagues and family benefits. 

4. No-phone Zone

Most people use their phones as an alarm clock and keep their phone beside them as they sleep. This increases the temptation to check your social media accounts, watch cute animal videos, or even check your emails when you should be letting your body relax and your brain power down. Invest in an alarm clock and keep your bedroom as a no-phone zone to help you sleep better and reinforce healthy digital habits. 

Technology and digital devices are a large part of our daily lives. So while it might seem simple but knowing when to power on and when to shut down is the key to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. By creating strong digital boundaries you are able to harness the benefits of technology while also ensuring your wellbeing and productivity isn’t impacted. 

Today, most smartphones and digital devices allow you to see just how much time you spend on your screen. For many, this makes knowing when to power on and when to shut down much easier.

How does this affect your own digital habits? Does this encourage or discourage your digital fast? Tell me in the comments below.

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