How to Take a Digital Detox

It’s time to switch off your notifications and start living IRL.


If you’re of the opinion that coffee is the strongest addictive substance in your life, it’s time put down your latte and reassess. Are there any other small, handheld devices that keep you up at night?

Let’s put it this way: how many cumulative minutes per day – honestly – would you spend on your phone, computer or tablet? According to a US-based study from Pew Research Centre’s Internet and American Life Project, 67% of phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts or calls – even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.

Avoiding technology completely is unfeasible for many of us – it’s a major part of our lives (and our jobs) and has limitless benefits, but using our digital tools excessively can induce a range of stresses and anxieties in our lives, not to mention the fact that it devours a substantial amount of downtime with ease.

So, why not try switching off when not at work? The advantages from spending time removed from our devices are many; switching off can help remove feelings of jealously, envy, loneliness and most importantly, severe cases of FOMO. If you think you’re in need of a break, here are five ways to help you step away from the screen, and re-centre yourself with a digital detox.


SET YOUR INTENTIONS. Like any good detox, decide what your ultimate goals are, and devise objectives that will help you achieve them. Choose a feasible amount of time to be detached from your devices – if you’re unsure, a good compromise is a fusion of both realistic and challenging. That could be a day, a week or a month, depending on your relationship with technology. It’s also important to define what digital means to you; is it everything that uses a glowing screen and/or the internet? Or are you just trying to cut down the time you spend scrolling Instie on your smartphone before you get out of bed? Lastly, tell the people you connect with most frequently that you’re doing this, and they’ll find an alternative way to reach you. (You can expect that carrier pigeon next week).

INVEST IN TOOLS. Here, you’re able to have some fun and revisit the tools of decades past. Remember alarm clocks? Buy one. Most of us wake to the chirping, bleeping or chiming of our phones, immediately prompting us to check our emails, messages, and the ever-important Snapchat. Waking up to an alarm clock will lessen the inclination to turbo scroll through our feeds the second upon waking. The same goes with wristwatches. You know, the accessory worn on the wrist that tells the time? Get in the habit of using this to read the time, rather than pulling out our phones.

MINIMISE DISTRACTIONS. Many of us have jobs that rely on the use of all the wonders modern technology has to offer, and have social lives that are connected via online platforms. This is unavoidable if you’re wanting to remain connected with colleagues and friends, but there are ways to minimise your time online. Disable all push notifications on devices and your tabs browsers as soon as you’re done with them. Don’t check your work inbox on your ride home. No distractions via click bait, for you!

LEARN HOW TO RE-ENTERTAIN YOURSELF. Checking Instagram, Facebook, and our favourite websites have become automatic responses when we grapple with boredom and are searching for entertainment. Use your time in a digital detox to reinvest in a hobby or a task you’ve always wanted to get done. Now’s the time to learn to play the ukulele, become a master at Monopoly, or write your autobiography. And if you think it’s unrealistic to think you can conquer an instrument in your downtime, think again: if you sacrifice the mere 20 minutes you spend on your phone at night (and let’s be honest: it’s probably more than that), that’s over an hour and a half of weekday free time you’ve just put back into your working week. You’ll be strumming away in no time.

WELCOME UNOCCUPIED MOMENTS. Studies have shown that smartphone owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes, so it’s important to actively sit with the quiet time while you have it. Life has a tendency of only getting crazier, so recognise that solitude is a blessing, not boredom. In fact, boredom is the breeding ground for creativity – here’s the proof.

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