Hello Technology and Instant connections,
What if I told you, right now, you had to disconnect from all your technology for the weekend? Would you say “no problem, I don’t have a phone or use social media or have a computer, so it is easy”? Or would you be like most of us who would respond ” no problem, I can disconnect easily” and know that you don’t mean it and that you would be checking throughout the day.
Last year, I agree to do a Digital Detox with @AmberMac on the Marilyn Denis Show. The segment aired on January 1. I have to tell you, my addiction to using technology was at an all time high.
7 signs you might be ready for Digital Detox
- Using your cellphone at dinner to check a stat on google and then looking at your social feeds to see what’s going on
- Going to yoga and immediately checking your phone after class to see who has posted stuff or emailed you
- Bringing your phone to yoga and having it ring during class so you did not miss the important call
- Being the passenger in the car and realizing you missed your favourite sights because you were checking social channels and email or posting cool stuff
- Leaving your phone beside your bed so you can check it before bed and when you first get up in the event anything has happened
- Finding yourself looking at the time and realize that you just spent an hour looking at social channels when you started off looking for a cool place to eat in the city
- Bringing your phone with you on every adventure so you don’t miss taking a photo and then finding yourself doing social check-ups while being on the super awesome adventure.
If any of these resonate with you, it might be time to do a Digital Detox for real – as in actually doing it!
For the record, the above list was mine. I am sure you can add to the list.
My addiction grew slowly. Yes, work did have me online for much of the day, but I had boundaries. I knew I was beyond normal use when I had the phone beside me day and night and during yoga class. It started with my daughter leaving for Thailand and wanting to make sure I did not miss an email should she need us for anything. When she did get sick, of course the email came during the night (her day) and we were asleep and I did not check until later that morning and it was hours after she had gone to the hospital. She got the help she needed but it left me keeping the phone close. And then I got a new phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 3) which allowed me to access all the social channels that my old phone did not. Now that I had the cool phone, I was so going to get even better at social media. Now the addiction was full on.
When Amber put the question out on Twitter, “Who would like to do a Digital Detox on the Marilyn Denis Show”, I immediately replied by ” not a chance, and loose connection with all my friends and family, never”. Perhaps it was the speed of my response or the denial that I would do it, but then the offer came to do the Digital Detox segment. I had to follow Amber’s digital detox rules for a week. Check out the segment here and Amber’s tips here.
7 new habits I created after my Digital Detox
- I no longer bring my phone to yoga and drive all the way home before I check it so I get the full relaxing benefits from yoga as long as possible
- I let others pull out their phone to do the google stat check unless I am specifically asked and then I shut down the phone
- I set hours for checking social channels – not all day. I check after my morning routine which includes setting my to do list. And if the list is too pressing, I check after one critical item is done
- I leave my phone in a drawer in my desk so it is not calling me to check what is going on
- I close out all social tools when I am focusing on an activity on my computer – no pings happening to distract me and sorry friends, no instant chats either
- I leave Skype off until I need it for a scheduled call – again, no instant distractions to get me off my focus
- However, I still use the phone in the car (as a passenger) to do a lot of instagram photo editing and also for checking statuses.
On Friday night, as we were on a weekend roadtrip, I realized how much I was missing – from scenery to conversations to quality time with my hubby – by having my full attention on my phone. So I made a “Digital Detox on this weekend” sign and hung it up on my Instagram and Facebook wall. I let everyone know I would be back Monday. And then, I put my phone away!
I did have the phone plugged in and on Saturday morning, I pressed the power button to see if there were any text messages. If there was, I checked. And then I shut down the phone again. We were moving my daughter home from university, so checking text messages was important but not urgent so I checked only 3 times on Saturday. I also brought my phone with me on our dock rescue mission to take photos. And I used the phone camera to capture images of the flowers and wild leeks that we came across on our weekend adventures. But the rule here was, I could only use the camera and no other feature of the phone.
So how did I make out? I felt great! Seriously, Friday night was hard, Saturday was challenging, Saturday night was fine and Sunday was easy. Confession time. I did use my phone for 10 minutes on Sunday driving home and realized I missed part of a conversation so I put it away and enjoyed the rest of the ride home technology free.
6 benefits I got from my Weekend Digital Detox
- More sleep – when my body was tired I slept instead of going online
- Read a book – or a cookbook actually. Oh She Glows is a stunning cookbook
- Enjoyed nature, listened to birds, saw raging rapids, watched kayakers brave the water and rescued our dock
- Cooked – using the the wild leeks I picked
- Listened to music, socialized with super kind neighbours and connected with my hubby
- Moved my daughter home and was present for the occasion.
I lived life in the moment. I was present and enjoyed it all. You will see me doing this Weekend Digital Detox more often as I see the benefits from it.
I love technology and social media and connecting with others using social tools. I have made great connections this way. I just think we need to make sure we schedule in time to use social tools and more importantly, we schedule in time to be 100% present with the ones we love.
Do you have any tips on how you keep your technology and social media time in check? Please leave a comment below so we can all learn from you.
To being present and leaning to UN-Plug from technology for a Digital Detox,
Your “Digital Detox” Partner, Wellness Cheerleader & Culinary Nutritionist