Six steps for a successful digital detox
The advent of the smart phone and social media apps have left many of us looking down and glued to our phones for hours on end. This is leading us to question whether our attachment to social media and our phones is all that positive. We’ve all read the tips telling us to practice mindfulness at work or to turn our phones off at dinner, but we often ignore them all too often.
Before starting on your digital detox journey, why not draw up a short list of two or three things you no longer do, or would like to do because you feel time-poor. Whether it’s reading a book, gardening, yoga or drawing, it can be worthwhile writing out your list of what you could do with your free time rather than scrolling on social media.
Here at Glandore we want to provide six easy steps for a successful and more worthwhile digital detox, while still staying connected and getting the most out of social media.
We all get emails we don’t read. Many of us received emails coming up to May 25th and the start of the new GDPR rules, asking us if we wanted to remain on a mailing list. While you most likely unsubscribed from some, take a look at your emails and see if there are there email newsletters or marketing emails you haven’t opened since May 25th. If there are, they need to go. If they were important you’d be reading them.
The same can be said for social media. Why not leave some of those WhatsApp groups you aren’t really using, or those Facebook groups you’ve been added to that you don’t engage in? If you follow the social media accounts of “influencers”, research has shown their perceived “perfect” lifestyle can have more of a negative impact on us than direct marketing in traditional media. Be firm and look at how many people you follow and set yourself a target to reduce that number by 30, 40 or 50 accounts. You can easily do this in the time it takes to make yourself a cup of coffee. Once you start, you will find that you will easily double the number of people you unfollow and leave your timeline for those people who you want to see or who make you feel positive on social media. An idea for afterwards could be to set yourself a maximum number of people you’ll only follow and if you want to follow someone new, someone else has to go.
Turn off your notifications
Immediately checking that buzz or beep from our phone that lets us know we have another email or WhatsApp message can be extremely tempting. Is it important to instantly find out who liked your holiday snaps? We all know you can still can see your notifications when you check the app out later on. By simply adjusting the setting section on your iPhone and Android, you can change your notifications and keep only the most important ones turned on. Less notifications mean less distractions.
Delete any apps you don’t use
Far be it for us to recommend what apps to delete or to keep, but we have all downloaded apps that we’ve tried and now never use. Once we’ve lost interest or the trial period is over, we often don’t take the time to delete the apps that haven’t quite made the cut. It’s as easy as setting a few minutes aside and if you haven’t used the app in the last three months, be brutal and hit delete. Your home screen will be significantly less cluttered, you’ll get your storage space back, your battery life will extend and your phone speed will increase.
Do not disturb
Almost all phones have a do-not-disturb mode and a night mode. If you turn it on and activate it from 22 hrs to 7hrs, this will stop you from getting social media notifications, text alerts and calls late at night. Don’t worry, you can add certain people to your favourite contacts to ensure that if they need to get in touch, their text or call will come through to your phone, while the iPhone do-not-disturb setting also allows a call to come through if they’ve called twice in the last five minutes. Night mode changes the colour of your phone to a warmer yellow tone as opposed to bright white-blue hues, thus aiding a more positive night’s sleep. Research has shown that bright screens before bedtime negatively impacts on your sleep quality and best practice is to avoid using your phone entirely two hours before going to sleep.
Personal phones for personal use
Like many of today’s modern workforce, you most likely have a smart phone, a tablet and a PC or laptop. Some people also have a separate smart phone for work requirements. Ask yourself, do need all of your apps, messages and emails on all of your devices? Do all of your email addresses need to be connected? Why not consider restricting separate accounts to separate devices. In order to separate from work and achieve a healthier work-life balance, keep your personal social media apps to your personal phone or tablet, and keep your work and business essential apps and programmes to your laptop or work phone.
Cut down on screen time
For iPhone users, the new iOS update monitors how long you spend on your phone and even further, how long you spend on each app. If you don’t have an iPhone, there are a numerous other free apps that do something similar, with some added extras to limit your screen time. One of our favourites is the Space app, which also helps you set goals to be more mindful of your screen usage. According to Space, they use “neuroscience and AI to help you kick app addiction” and offer users “a little breathing room to help you take back control”. Being aware of just how much time you spend on your phone might shock you and encourage you to, perhaps, set yourself a personal challenge to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone each week.