Why You Need A Tech Disconnect (And How To Do It)
Our lives these days are consumed with digital technology. We are constantly receiving emails, text messages and notifications. If we are without our phone we feel like we're missing a limb. And this is exactly why we need to disconnect from time to time.
It is recommended that you have 24 hours of tech free time each week. Here's why:
- It puts you back in control - by choosing when you will use your device instead of jumping to attention when you hear that familiar ping puts you back in the driver's seat and gives you greater control of your time and resources.
- It frees up your time - are your always complaining that there isn't enough time in the day? That you don't have enough time to get everything done? The truth is that you do but you the incessant demands of our digital lives keeps us distracted and sucks up our time. By disconnecting you will have more time for you to do both what you need and more importantly, what you want to do. Think about how easy (and wonderful) it would be to be able to spend some of that time on self-care!
- It strengthens social bonds - when you put your device down you have the opportunity to reconnect with those around you. Socialisation is an important aspect of self-care. Undistracted by devices (including TVs), you have time to have a family dinner, catch up with friends, or chat with a co-worker
- It gives your brain some time off - your brain needs downtime too. Without a break, it becomes overstimulated and overwhelmed. And an overstimulated brain can cause sleep disturbance and insomnia. So for the sake of your brain and your sleep, avoid the use of devices for at least 1 hour prior to bed
- It gives you space to think and reflect - often we use our devices as a means of distraction and avoidance of thoughts and emotions we are experiencing. Taking some tech-free time gives us the space to reflect and process. This time allows our thoughts to wander, conceptualise new ideas and problem solve.
Now that we now why a digital disconnect is a good thing, the next important question is how do we implement it?
If the though of taking a whole 24 hours off from digital devices once a week has you breaking out in a cold sweat, then here are some ways you can disconnect regularly throughout the day:
- Invest in an alarm clock instead of using your phone - leave the phone out of the bedroom to avoid grabbing your phone and scrolling first thing in the morning.
- Device free meal times - perhaps one of the easiest to implement. Have you ever noticed that when you eat whilst distracted by your screen you don't even register what you're eating? Yep, me too. Here's your chance to practice some mindful eating. Put down your phone,taste what you're eating, take time to check in with yourself, and connect with others around you.
- Turn off notifications - FOMO is real and we have become conditioned to needing (and wanting) to be the first to know so we don't miss out on anything. You're never going to achieve downtime if you're constantly hearing that little ping. So turn those notifications OFF.
- Learn to be bored - aren't we always telling our kids that there are plenty of things to do when they're moaning "I'm bored!"? The same goes for us too. We so often use our devices to avoid boredom. Instead we should be embracing the boredom and see where it takes us. It gives us a chance to think, become inspired and get creative.
- Turn your devices off - I've left the most radical for last. But this is the most effective way to grab some digital free time. Turn them off and put them away. You may have to start this one with baby steps. Turn them off for an hour and then build up to longer periods of time.
So there you have it - the why's and the how to of a digital disconnect.
Do you practice regular tech free time? Let us know how you disconnect in the comments below. And if you decide to give these tips a try, let us know how you go.