Challenge – Do A Digital Detox

Digital Detox Challenge

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

  • I’m absolutely terrible about staring into my phone screen before dozing off and looking at it first thing in the morning. I’ve noticed how it’s been effecting my dreams and how deep of sleep I’m get lately so I’m working to fix it, but it’s a hard habit to break. My fiance and I are really good about staying off our phones while we’re out to eat and I really love how the quality of our conversations takes a turn for the better. It’s made me more aware of the fact that is how conversations are meant to be had and I need to stay off my phone anytime someone is with me, not just at dinner.

    26 and Not Counting

    • hithaonthego

      This is where my Apple watch is a bit of a curse – even when I’m not looking at my phone, the notifications on it do have me more distracted than if I had my phone out in the first place. I’ve been careful to put all my devices on Do Not Disturb mode whenever I’m with anyone. That little feature is my jam.

      • I never think to do that, but could definitely benefit!

  • Sharona

    This past weekend, I deleted social media from my phone (instagram, snap chat, twitter, fbook) and let me tell you, it feels awesome! I realized it was detracting from my life more than benefitting. While I recognize you use these tools for your job, my realization that I didn’t NEED to see someone’s latest snap/instagram pic felt really freeing. I’ve also felt like I’ve been thinking more clearly without getting distracted (sometimes for over 30 minutes at a time) by things that just didn’t matter in the moment.

    • hithaonthego

      That’s amazing! I’ve deleted Facebook, but have yet to do the plunge for other apps. If I can figure out how to lock myself out of them for certain blocks of time, that would be AMAZING.

  • graceatwood

    LOVE this (and so happy you liked my post!) xo

    • hithaonthego

      Of course! xoxo

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  • Amber Burns

    I’ll definitely be joining in – especially on the weekends. I start my mornings with my iPad too, and while I’ve gotten better about putting the phone away while I sleep, I’ve picked up the bad habit of watching shows in bed and falling asleep in chatter and dull tv light instead of falling into a sound sleep naturally. Something has to give!

    • hithaonthego

      Our baby’s bad teething pain has knocked our schedule out of whack (way more TV, not enough reading). I’ve been up at 4 am with him every day for the past few weeks, and an episode (or 3) of Grey’s Anatomy is all I can handle at the end of the day.

  • Jennifer

    Greetings Hitha – I stopped looking at Facebook around the first of the year because to me, it became a stream of junk mail which fall into three categories: 1) Posts that your family and friends are “tagged” in which are made by other people you don’t know and don’t necessarily need to know; 2) “Suggested” posts which for the most part, I wish Facebook would stop suggesting; and 3) Live blog documentation by family and friends. I love the photos of the kids and the cool events in your life, but when it’s down to posting photos of your glove compartment, I’m ready to “unfriend” you. That last one sounds mean, but ugh, I’m happy for the time I’ve gotten back in my life :-)

    • hithaonthego

      Cold turkey is sometimes the best way to go. And anyone who posts photos of his/her glove compartment is someone who clearly needs to put the phone away and start living a life.

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