Up for a challenge? Put down your phone. Turn off your tablet. It’s time for a digital detox.
National Day of Unplugging is a 24-hour period – from sundown on the first Friday of March through sundown on Saturday. According to the initiative’s website, the goal is to "start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child." But, to be honest, you can get a grip on your technology addition any day of the year without going cold turkey.
Comedian Ari Shaffir told the BBC in August that he lost his smartphone and never replaced it. He admits the first six months were difficult. "I felt withdrawal symptoms at first, kind of the way I felt when I quit smoking," he says.
While weaning yourself off your phone and/or tablet certainly sounds daunting, it can actually be good for you. There is such a thing as “too much tech.”
Forbes claims America's smartphone addiction is now an epidemic. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, roughly three-quarters of Americans own a smartphone. Half the public now owns a tablet computer. Nearly seven-in-ten Americans use social media. In another study, Deloitte found people in the United States check their phones 46 times a day.
Not convinced it’s time to power down your phone and/or tablet?! Here are five signs you may be too connected:
- Your battery doesn’t even last a day.
- You check your phone or tablet before going to sleep and as soon as you wake up.
- You sleep with your phone under your pillow.
- You wake up in the middle of the night to check your phone.
- You take your phone to the bathroom.
If you reduce screen time, you’ll notice an improved physical and mental well-being. First, you’ll feel more productive. The amount of time you would typically spend on your phone could be allocated to completing a DIY project or catching up with old friends. You’ll experience less eye strain and neck problems. You’ll wake up feeling less groggy since you’re not interrupting your sleep to check your phone. You’ll have the opportunity to boost your self-esteem because you’re not constantly comparing your life to others. Your waistline will shrink after giving up the sedentary lifestyle technology forced you into.
Kicking this bad habit will be tough, but it’s doable. Here are ten suggestions to disconnect from your phone and/or tablet:
- Go public and get support. Tell your friends and family what you’re doing.
- Disable notifications on your smartphone or tablet.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Keep your phone where you can’t see it – in your pocket or purse.
- Only check your phone or tablet once an hour for a few minutes.
- Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock.
- Put away your phone or tablet at least an hour before bedtime.
- Seek out the non-digital versions of the tasks you like to do with your phone, like picking up an actual camera.
- No devices at meals.
- Bored? Resist the urge to “waste time” on your phone. Instead, go for a walk, ride a bike, or play a board game. Or you could unclutter your computer.
- Avoid responding to work emails from home.
Are you ready to break your smartphone addiction? There’s no time like the present. At least try it for 24 hours. It’ll get easier with time. Keep us updated on your progress by leaving a comment below.