We have all heard about the concept of decluttering. Mari Kondo taught us how to declutter our homes to bring more joy to the household. What if this same concept of decluttering can be applied to your digital life? Here’s why…. As associate IT professor and bestselling author Dr. Cal Newport states – “Your digital life is as important as your physical health”.
Spending time away from technology; including your phone, laptop, gaming, and other electronic devices is a vital ‘reset button’- especially for those who feel stressed or burnt out. Much research has been done on links between stress and the use of social media and other technology usages. One particular study even suggests that a digital detox could make doctors be better at their work.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes….Including you”
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Social media can be helpful to stay in touch, organize events, raise funds for charities and circulate important information. However, we have seen many instances where social media usage causes more harm than good, especially in spreading news which induces fear in society. If you have been using social media constantly you have probably been exposed to unnecessary programming by social media for a while. Taking a break from social media will allow you to listen to that inner intuition to guide you along your path. What you truly want in life becomes much clearer when there are no outside noises. Take a break and listen to your inner wisdom. You may already have all the answers that you seek.
So what can you possibly gain from taking breaks from the internet? Yes… “sniffles”… this includes spending time away from our blog! Here are our top reasons for taking time away from technology.
When you have time to listen to your inner wisdom you will gain more knowledge about yourself, you will get more and more clear about what you truly want. Watching TV and surfing online you are constantly bombarded with information that convinces you that you need things, to buy more cars, the latest gadgets, etc. you don`t know what you really want. If you truly listen to yourself, you will discover your true path. Maybe you would like to work at a volunteer organization, maybe you like writing books, maybe you like making toys… whatever it is, give yourself some quiet time and space to listen to yourself.
Application of Knowledge
Cultivation of Enriching Relationships
You will start to notice that your family relationships and friendships will begin to take on new meaning and flourish when you take breaks from technology. You will make new authentic friendships the more time you spend fully present with people and not on your phone. Giving individuals your complete attention rather than an electronic device will deepen and improve all relationships. We all need more of that in the world.
Doing Deep Work
Time away from technology, such as TV, the internet, and constant information bombardment, you will eventually notice that you can pay more attention when you are focused on a task. The power of your concentration will increase resulting in higher quality work in less time. This is an important skill in the workforce as so many people are trying to multitask and are unable to concentrate on any task long enough to produce high-quality work. Read more in our blog post about multitasking. If you want to be indispensable at your workplace produce high-quality work. Show how you can add value.
“Be so good so they cannot ignore you”
–Dr. Cal Newport
Now you see the benefits you must be wondering how you are going to accomplish this mammoth task of switching off. Don’t’ worry we have the answers. Read on (before you take a break)
Taking a break from technology might be a foreign concept to most of us. If you find it hard to step away from your phone, simply turn off the Wi-Fi in your house. Make a decision, decide to step away from all technology as an experiment that you are trying out to improve your wellbeing. Take a deep breath. Observe your surroundings. Simply enjoy the silence. This is the first step, you might feel a little different if it’s the first time you are taking a break from technology. But don’t worry trust us you will soon come to love these disconnected moments, where you can reconnect with yourself, loved ones, and maybe even nature.
Visit a Neighbor
When was the last time you visited a neighbor? Especially the older neighbors. Take a board game with you and spend one evening playing a game with them. Bake some mini muffins and simply give your basket of baking to a neighbor with a small note that says ‘some muffins to brighten your day’. These small acts of kindness will someday come back to you. Who knows, your acts of kindness may completely change someone’s life. Watch the Tom Hank’s movie ‘A beautiful day in the neighborhood’ for inspiration. Certain studies have shown that if you are positive and happy your neighbor is automatically 35% happier! Think about how much happiness you can spread!
Sit with Nature
If you have a garden, spend time enjoying and observing the plants and flowers. Think of new ways to arrange your garden. You can certainly use tools like Pinterest for creative ideas. Be still with the plants first. Listen to them. You will be amazed at all the creative ideas that are going to flood your brain. Plant a few vegetables or flowers if you have a garden, be close to nature as much as possible. Imagine being able to make your own salads! You will never regret it.
Take a Walk in the Park
If you do not have a garden, take a walk in the park without your phone. You may feel anxious at the thought of not having your phone but think of it as a new experience. See the world through your eyes and not through your phone camera. Make a mental note of what you see. You will certainly come back as a different person.
Try to meditate without your meditation apps every once in a while. Simply listen to the natural sounds in the universe. In Tim Ferris’s book ‘Tools of Titans’, Tim states that meditation is a common practice among more than 80% of the successful people that he has interviewed for his book. Give meditation a try if you haven’t already. This practice will most certainly help you to reconnect with yourself.
Try Different Exercise Routines
Apart from maintaining a healthy weight and improving your overall well being, doing exercises will help improve your mental state. Try many variations of exercises that will challenge your body. Jogging in the park will give you more endorphins than getting ‘likes’ on Facebook. Try and see for yourself. Engage more in exercises that are joyful to you and have fun with it.
Read a Book
You might be used to reading kindle books like most of us. During your break from technology, put your kindle/tablet aside for a while and visit your local library and bookshops for a chance to browse new books. You might discover amazing books that you haven’t heard of before. Read something new and see the world through another person’s perspective. You might even bump into new friends or discover a new place with great food on the way to your book store. The goal here is having new experiences outside of the digital world that you are so used to living in.
Commit to a Complete Digital Detox Plan
Dr. Cal Newport in his book Digital Minimalism provides a step by step method for a complete digital detox. Basically a digital detox includes removing all social media from your phone and not using them for a month. He claims it takes around 30 days to completely digitally detox and suggests reintroducing social media back after 30 days to notice and understand the difference. It enables you to identify the tools that are actually helpful for your work and/or social life and the superficial apps that you really don’t need just as ways to going along with trends. He advises that social media tools should be completely kept off the phone and to use the phone only to make phone calls. After my digital detox, I actually removed FB from my phone – resulting in my productivity level going through the roof!
The advantages of taking breaks from technology like enhancing your relationships, improving your connections, to getting better at your job are way too valuable to ignore. New experiences enrich your life in more ways than you can ever imagine. You will rethink your life path, be more creative, be more present and even be fit and healthy all because you balance living with technology and your life in a more meaningful way. Now that you know the benefits of taking a break from technology, Are you ready to give digital detox a try?