In the last post about how ‘addicted we are to tech’ I shared some shocking statistics including the evidence that reveals constant phone checking makes us anxious. Yet 73% of Brits say they’d struggle to go a day without checking their phone or computer!! 

In this follow up post I want to share the many benefits of a digital detox and where to start. 

Wikipedia describes a digital detox as” a period during which a person refrains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers.” It sounds simple, yet when you think about our usual daily lives, how do we make a detox work?  

On the surface, it seems such a challenge that most people don’t bother. However, let’s consider some of the many benefits of staying away from our electronic crutches!

What Are The Benefits Of A Detox     

  • You have more time to chill, destress and recharge our batteries. 
  • It frees up time to connect with family and friends; to talk, laugh, maybe plan a holiday or a weekend get-together.  
  • A detox puts you in control of your time and how you use it rather than reacting and being driven by notifications and being constantly in light or flight mode. 
  • You’ve more time to think, reflect and be creative. 
  • Being fully present.  

So hands up, how many of us find ourselves checking our phone when we hear or see a notification flash up while we are talking with someone? Mmm… guilty. When we do this, we’re not present for that person, and it doesn’t matter if this is your 4-year-old, your mum, partner, colleague or client.  

I heard that when US Singer, Lenny Kravitz, is approached by fans for a selfie with him, offers them a ‘real moment’ with him instead. Sadly, almost all of them opt for the selfie.
 

It’s time to reconnect with people on a human level and give them our full attention. So how do we do this?
 

How To Do A Detox 

If you Google how to do a digital detox (pardon the irony of that comment) you will be inundated with ideas. Here’s a few practical suggestions to help get you started. 

These resonated with me because they are similar to the kind of goal setting strategies we teach at Excel Communications.
 

Have a detox buddy: We have a gym or running buddy so why not a digital detox buddy? It’s always easier to keep your word and commitment to yourself when you are being supported and held accountable.  

 

Tell everyone what you are doing: Share with colleagues, family and friends and ask for their support. The more people you share your goal with the more you’ll want to succeed.

 

Set realistic ‘tech-free’ time goals: Using the same principle we teach leaders on our programmes; work with a team member on changing one behaviour at a time, set a goal for one tech device only, then move onto the next.

Decide on how much ‘free device time’ you will have each day. Will you have a different time allowance on weekends?

Maybe it’s about starting with reducing your weekend usage or perhaps it’s specific work days – you decide. What’s important is that you set yourself up for success.
 

Switch Off: While you may decide to dare I say, switch your phone or tablet off, a smaller first step would be to turn your notifications off.  

Tech-free zones: As well as having tech-free time, you can also designate certain spaces as tech-free. This should certainly be your bedroom (we all know the research around how the light from devices affects sleep quality) and also where you eat is a great starting place too.

I can sense a few objections/excuses may be coming up for some of you, ‘but I use my phone as an alarm Rachel’, or’ but we have an open plan kitchen/diner’. 

I hear you guys and here’s the thing; buy an alarm clock and make your kitchen/diner a phone free area at meal times.

I heard a story recently of a family who all put their phones away in “the phone box” before they sit down together for dinner. It’s the one time of the day when they all eat together and talk. Let’s face it, how often do you eat out and see groups of friends or families together with phones out not talking.  

If you are serious about taking some steps to reduce your tech time, the first step is deciding you want to do it. Then set a date to start!

Good luck! 

 

Rachel Hewitt-Hall

Commercial Director 

 

About Excel Communications 

Excel Communications has a 30+ year history as a global leadership and communication skills organisation dedicated to exceeding the expectations of clients through the training and development of their business and people. 

We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across four continents in multiple languages. Isn’t it time you got in touch? Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.