Switching Off To Switch On: A Discussion On Digital-Detox.
27 October 2017 |
Emili Hone | About a 4 minute read
We live and breathe digital. It’s the essence of what we do at AND Digital and quite frankly, we’d all be screwed without it, right? I suggest that we’re also on the backend of long-term life damage if we don’t learn when and how to switch off. Ouch. This sounds unattainable in a world where we’re reliant on our laptops to work and apps to order our Starbucks; working around this fact is tricky. I’ve been lucky enough to join AND Digital, who have a fantastic outlook on the wellbeing of our people both in and outside of the office.
I won’t go into the cliché stats of how many ANDis know what Zuckerberg had for breakfast, or how many of us were up all night coding. What I will stress, is how difficult we find it to be un-digital. For most of us, we feel genuine anxiety when we’re without our phones and we find it a little difficult to drift off to sleep too. These behaviours have become so normal that we’re not recognising our ability to change it. Firstly, let’s explore why we would want to change anything in the first place. Why detox?
Phones, laptops, TV. They are all masters in the art of distraction. This is fantastic for long train journeys, but we also miss out on times when we should really be present. Playing with the kids, team meetings, eating dinner on a Tuesday night. You name it, you’ve probably been less engaged because of your devices. The number one benefit of switching off is being in the now, discovering pockets of time you’d been distracted from.
Balance. There is zero doubt that Google Maps has made all of our lives less stressful, and we can all thank Larry Page (Google Co-Founder) for that. However we are often blind to the fact that our omniscient devices cause stress too. #FOMO (fear of missing out), sore eyes from screen glare and procrastination-induced emotional pain. We’ve all been there. These small stresses can have tremendous implications on our mind and body. Do you ever suffer from stiff shoulders or back? Feel a little down that you’re not always on holiday or eating avocado on fancy bread for breakfast? Recognising this and working to change our habits can make a real difference to physical and emotional stress spots.
Happiness. We really care about happiness at AND Digital and we even have a dedicated Chief Happiness Officer. Culminating a combo of the above can dramatically affect our ability to enjoy good moments all to ourselves. We can unwind our strange need to put everything on Snapchat (a criminal offence, some may say). We don’t realise that switching off is actually our key to switching on. I’m not proclaiming that we can’t possibly be happy if we’re on our devices 24/7, but I’m just suggesting that we give ourselves the chance to detox from digital once in awhile and just see what it does for us.
So this is great. Enlightening. But how does one actually achieve a detox? Here’s a few of my top tips:
- Two evenings a week, put your phone away at 8pm. Leave it there. Go to sleep. Awake without natural disaster. Write down one thing per evening that you did instead of sit on your phone. In doing this we discover pockets of time that we’ve been hiding from ourselves.
- When at work, walk away from your screen once an hour when you can. Recognise when you’re taking breaks and tell yourself “I’m taking a break”, the brain enjoys it. Tea bags exist to be brewed. Heck, notice yourself scraping the teaspoon on the bottom of the mug. Notice the smell. It feels silly, but being present even for a moment refreshes the mind and increases our productivity when we make it back to the desk.
- Once a month, use one of your days off for a total digital detox. 8am – 8pm. Go out with your phone turned off and just see how easy it is. Make sure your key contacts know you’re going to be offline, and just enjoy some breathing space. When I do this, I go old school and turn up to meet a friend where we agreed to meet without texting them when I’m 30 seconds away. You’ll be surprised at how long the day feels.
If you are interested in switching off a little more, it’s all about small, achievable actions to begin with. So, that’s it. Nothing radical.
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