[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own.]
Thanks to technology, we’re more connected than ever. We are allowed to have Netflix, online shopping, and blogging. But we also need to take a break and give ourselves a digital detox.
Excessive amounts of online screening have been proven to lead to a variety of issues, including stress, anxiety, poor sleep, and lower productivity. Do you remember the last time your phone wasn’t right next to you?
When it feels impossible to make you step away from scrolling all day long, you know it’s time for a digital detox. A digital detox is just a total screen time shut down. As simple as it may seem, in a world that largely revolves around technologies — mobile phones, laptops, smart televisions, etc — it can be incredibly challenging to take a step back from the very methods that connect us. But a digital detox is a great way to build a healthier relationship with devices in your life. You can create a weekend digital detox or mini-detox after work – do whatever works for you! What matters the most is that you create time for your brain to reset.
Disconnecting from any digital devices is part of any self-care routine that I build over the months to optimize my creativity, and productivity, and have more energy. We might not realize it, but too much technology harms our brain. From disrupting our beauty sleep, getting behind at work, or increasing our stress levels. Technology also makes it hard to focus on what’s in front of us. More time spent on screens means less time spent with the people we love and makes us feel less connected.
Cutting out technology has massive mental health benefits, and you will be amazed at how much better you feel when you aren’t constantly connected. Benefits of doing a digital detox:
- Without blue light, you’ll get better sleep and have more energy in the morning.
- Less tech means more time to get things done. When you’re not staring at a screen, you’ll have more time to do the things that matter.
- Having more time for your loved ones can only be a good thing. Notice how much closer you feel to the people around you after going tech-free.
- More time to explore all those hobbies you’d long forgotten.
Digital Detox For Freelancer
Allow only important notifications
Limit the number of notifications you receive. Turn anything that you don’t need to receive when you’re working, such as social media and news notifications. The second you check the notification, you interrupt your train of thought. And the longer you focus on your phone, the less likely you resume your stream of productivity.
If you run your own business or your job relies largely on your connection, it may feel impossible to digitally detox. As a freelancer myself, I constantly chat with my clients through Skype and email. I have to keep them updated on their translation documents. However, I check my email once or twice a day and put an out-of-office autoreply on for 48 hours so I can tackle my priorities without interruption.
Create weekly limits
Each week, make a goal of spending less time using digital devices, especially your smartphone. Start with a half-hour each day, then increase it to an hour the next week and keep going.
Do other activities you love
If you have something you look forward to doing – for example, painting, cooking, or arts – you will not feel the need to go on your phone. Investing your time in doing the things you love will leave you feeling happy. Do this to your morning and night routine. If you start and end the day on your phone, it will be terrible for your productivity and sleep cycle.
When I have a subtitling project, I need to use my laptop for 5-6 hours almost every day. And it seems impossible to have a tech-free week. So getting outside or going for a walk is one of the best ways to detox from my devices, and it’s an easy activity you can do every day.
Use your devices only when you need to
To make sure that you are using your phone mindfully, every time you pick it up, ask yourself why exactly you are using your phone. If your family text you about something urgent, let them know and put your phone down. If you think that’s not urgent, tell them you’ll text them back after work. Social media notifications? You probably don’t need to go on your phone (please refer to number 1).
This is a habit that I build this year. Whenever I’ve accomplished offline time, I give myself a reward. It can be getting yourself that thing that’s been on your wishlist, going to your favorite restaurant, having a hair treatment, etc.
Here are some more tips to start a digital detox:
- Let your coworkers know you won’t be available after the workday is done and turn off all your work-related notifications.
- Always prioritize the people in your life over the content on your phone.
- Disconnect for a period of time: during lunch, before bedtime, or after work are all great places to start.
- Make it a rule that no phones are allowed at the dinner table.
Actually, there are a ton of ways to start a digital detox. You can pick up a couple of methods above that work for you and give them a try for at least a week. Some days you might need to be on your phone, so feel free to stay flexible and alternate days to fit your schedule.
Do you have more tips to start a digital detox? Have you made it your weekly routine? Let me know your thoughts below.