Digital detox: how to disconnect from your phone and reconnect to your life
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
All I want for Christmas...is a digital detox.
Do you need a digital detox?
Quick test: is your mobile phone lingering on your desk or in your pocket right now?
Mine is too. And we’re not alone.
Technology is seductive. Time spent on phones, computers and tablets is higher now than ever before. We are in serious need of a digital detox.
Unsure? Take this quick quiz to find out whether you need a digital detox.
How can we overcome our addiction this Christmas to embrace quality time with our friends and family and come back from our holiday with new, improved productivity?
UK adults are stuck to their screens on average 8 hours 41 minutes a day (most of us sleep for less)
We tap, swipe and click our devices 2,617 times each day
Since the emergence of smartphones 11 years ago, our average attention spans have declined so significantly that they are now lower than a goldfish
We just can’t seem to put our digital devices down.
Crucially, this is significantly reducing our productivity at work. Time spent on our digital devices is time spent away from important tasks.
So what can we do? Going full digital detox, or “cold turkey” - especially over the most turkey intensive time of the year - is a stretch too far. There is no denying that digital devices are useful (e.g. imagine how much time is saved simply from using google maps for navigation) it’s just too much time spent on our phones that is problematic.
So here are 3 easy tips that could help us build better habits.
3 easy solutions to try over the Christmas break:
1. Keep our phones out of sight
A study at the University of Texas at Austin found that, even if turned off, the mere presence of your phone has significant impact on our cognitive capacity.
Test subjects who took an exam with their phones out of the room, outperformed those who had it on their desk, in their pocket or even in their bag.
So this Christmas, keep your phone in a different room and focus on enjoying time with family. Then you can follow this through on return to the office. Out of sight, out of mind.
2. Turn our bedrooms into tech free zones
Another solution is to keep tech out of our bedrooms. This removes the temptation to scroll last thing at night and first thing in the morning.
A staggering 40% of adults look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, and for those under the age of 35, this increases to 65%.
Also, 47% of adults miss out on sleep due to internet usage. Less sleep leads to poorer brain function, as Matthew Walker tells us in his bestselling book, Why We Sleep.
Committing to this over the holidays will help us understand the benefits for when we return to work. And if you use your phone as your alarm? What better time of year to hint you need a new, productivity orientated present for Christmas!
3. Do the 5:2 digital diet
Even though the holidays aren’t traditionally a time for diets, this diet could be a useful exception.
It has been popularised by award-winning entrepreneur Tanya Goodin from the It’s Time To Log Off movement. It works by each week committing to 2 tech free days. Goodin maintains that small bursts of tech free time can be just as effective for our brains as a full week.
It will likely be very testing at first. However, ultimately, it will help make us less dependent in general.
If this is too daunting initially, you could try setting a smaller goal of going out for a walk without your phones.
We can then connect to nature; take photos on an old camera; talk about past Christmases undistracted.
As we’ve discussed in our blog on The Key to Motivation, setting small, achievable goals leads to big results.
So these 3 solutions can help us disconnect from technology and reconnect to the people around us this Christmas.
All of us at Higson will be taking the opportunity to have a digital detox too. Please share with us how you get on, or get in touch if you need any other advice on how you or your team could improve productivity.