Doable Digital Detox

  • A much needed digital diet for your tech-obese lifestyle.
- Gaurav Pote, Kathmandu

Dec 25, 2015-

Nothing grabs your attention like a notification ping on your smartphone. The Silent Mode might be turned on, but the periodic vibration, every fifteen minutes, sends your hands fiddling inside your pocket, almost out of obligation. And, we bet you spend the better part of your day binging on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or worse, Clash of Clans.

While it’s not a clinical problem per se, it is overwhelming your personal life and waning your actual social connections. So, come this New Year, how about you make a resolution to go on a digital diet and untangle yourself off your smart-devices? Here’s your game plan.

BEFORE

First, Admit It

Regardless of your surrounding, all you want to do is stare at the 5-inch display, and it’s only your occasional blinking that gives away your zombie state. Dinner tables, university lectures, bathrooms, and meetings — your smartphone shadows you everywhere. What’s more? You go completely berserk whenever you can’t find it within your 2-feet radius. But, it gets better. You still readily deny that you’re addicted to your smartphone. See the problem?

Plan and prepare

It’s not like you’re going to war—but you are, with your instinct to latch on to your phone and go online. Draw a game plan to survive this period. Keep a mental log of how much you use your phone and for how long! Check out some apps that crunch your phone and app usage into numbers. This might shock you, but at least you’ll have a clear picture of your virtual indulgence. 

Tell others about it

Even in a digital world, your sudden absence may be frowned upon. Being inaccessible unexpectedly might upset your friends and co-workers alike. So, update everyone who needs to be informed before you start your digital detox.

DURING

Get off the grid

We might be referring to your addiction to a phone but this applies to all devices that give you access to the online community. The idea is to break yourself loose from the virtual world to the real world. Here are a few pointers that might help:

- Disable push notifications for all apps, if possible. Let’s face it, do we really need a buzz every time there’s a new update?

- While you’re at work, keep your phone at an arm’s length—specially during important meetings. 

- When you’re home, don’t take it to the dinner table or bathroom.

-  Don’t share your bed with your phone and turn it off at least an hour before bed. 

A new research by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that 95 percent of the people who have disrupted sleeping patterns also use digital devices before they head to sleep.

- When you’re on a holiday, or if you’re home on a day off,  try not to use your phone at all.

Do something non-digital

The theory of relativity is not at work here but as soon as you start spending your time away from your phone and off the Internet, time will seem to have slowed down. Utilise it by: 

Read books

Instead of swiping through e-books, flip through actual pages of a real book. Read papers every morning for current news and magazines during leisure time. If possible, always carry a novel to read while commuting.

Socialise like it’s the ‘90s

We’re only asking for you to not use your phone temporarily. You can still very much mingle with near-ones and new-ones in person but just not over a phone call or Facebook. It’s all about socialising the old-fashioned way.

Find a hobby or a sport

Things get easier when you find a hobby that doesn't involve playing video games, watching movies or anything digital for that matter. You can pick up a guitar, work out, go on a hike or partake in physical recreational activities like swimming, basketball or football. When you keep yourself occupied in the real world, you won't be anxious about your virtual identity.

AFTER

Turn it into a habit

Once you've got the hang of it, you will be able to schedule your daily activities accordingly. What you need now is healthy conditioning to stick to this detox plan. So, make it a habitual behaviour to maintain some distance between you and your phone whenever possible. We are, after all, creatures of habit.

Some Benefits Of Digital Detoxing

- Distancing yourself from your phone at work lets you focus more on work, boosting your productivity.

- On your personal life, you'll find a balance in schedule, and more often than not, you'll have control of your own schedule.

- Not having to constantly respond to calls, notifications and worry about the ‘Likes’ you might not have received will alleviate stress – peace of mind.

- Naturally, you'll be connecting more with the people around you than the pixelated faces on your screen.

- And, when it's all said and done, you'll become inherently happier.

Published: 25-12-2015 15:52

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