It’s one of those things (like modern art and political opinions) that’s open to interpretation.
And like the latter, it’s been getting a lot of buzz lately.
Digital detoxes. While the term can be used for decluttering your digital life or purging unnecessary files and apps, it’s the unplugging from your devices and living like it’s 1999 that’s the most popular definition.
Grace wrote an excellent post on the importance of unplugging in our increasingly connected world, which got me thinking about what all our screen time and ‘staying connected’ is actually doing to us.
It’s not good. We attempt to do multiple things at once, not accomplishing a single item particularly well. We ignore the people right in front of us in favor for strangers online. Our priorities are defined by the unread messages in our inbox, and not our own goals or priorities. All of that ‘connection’ time takes a toll on our health – excess strain on our eyes, insomnia, and a decreased ability to focus.
For every negative effects that being online has on us, offline time has equal (and more!) positive ones. On the health front – more restful sleep, improved memory and better posture. On relationships, being offline improves your conversations (no more Googling every random question) and fostering a deeper connection with those around us.
Eye contact and undivided attention is a precious, rare thing.
While I’m proud of certain habits (my phone is on airplane mode from 9 pm to 7 am), there are others that could use a serious overhaul. My morning routine is focused around my iPad, I always have my phone within reach so I can snap a picture of Rho, and I have definitely zoned out of conversations with my husband while putzing around my phone.
And then there’s our Morning Joe habit. We have the show on from 6-7:30 a.m. every morning, while we play with Rho and get in a round (or two) of caffeine.
A detox doesn’t just sound good. It’s downright necessary.
While I don’t think I’m able to do the Ivanka Trump (being completely unplugged from Friday evening to Saturday evening) just yet, I do want to cultivate a daily and weekly offline routine that can help me on that whole “live better” mission.
Here’s how I’m going about my digital detox:
- Daily – I’m going to spend an hour, every day, with all my devices put away. That offline time will be a chance to draw or color, do strategic planning for Bridge2Act or this website, write letters – whatever I feel like doing. I feel like I spend most of my days on tactical work, and don’t give myself enough time to create for pleasure or reconnect in a more intentional way. This hour will be my time to change all that.
- Weekly – I’d eventually like to get to a full 24 hours unplugged on the weekends, but I’m too much of an addict right now to do so. I do, however, want to give my loved ones (husband, son) a block of time on the weekends where they have my undivided attention. No television on in the background, no music playing over our Sonos (maybe a good reason to invest in a record player?), no iPhone or iPad within hands reach. Just us.
And because these things are always easier to do as a group, I’d love to challenge you to try it out for yourself. How are you going to incorporate offline time in your life? COMMENT below and let me know!
Go on. Put away your phone. Shut down your laptop. I’ll talk to you later.
image via Death to Stock