Smartphones are our constant companions. Whether at home during dinner, boarding a bus or in the car at a red traffic light: at the most impossible times, we need to chat, check e-mails or browse the web to keep ourselves occupied. Most people check their smartphones and tablets between 50 and 100 times a day. With 8 hours of sleep, that makes between 3 and 6 times per hour! That’s a constant distraction and pure stress. Such non-stop use of digital media is already like an addiction for many people. Many have recognized the problem and that’s why there is a growing trend towards digital detox.
Digital detox is an attempt to limit the time spent using smartphones, cell phones and tablets (or digital devices and media as a whole) as much as possible. But doing without them is often anything but easy. Here are a few tips on how the digital detox can really succeed.
1. There are alternatives for many things that smartphones or tablets do
Actually, the cell phone was once intended for making phone calls. But many people use their phones as alarm clocks, watches, flashlights or even compasses. Anyone who wants to reduce smartphone consumption should buy a wristwatch, a real alarm clock, etc. That way, there will be no need to check e-mails every time you check the time. You won’t get the urge to check your e-mails every time you look at the time, or read the latest posts on Facebook just before you go to bed, or turn off your alarm clock. This is a valuable first step in making the digital detox a success.
2. Turn off push notification on your phone or tablet
It happens all the time: with every e-mail, every WhatsApp or text message, every new status post on social media and, depending on the settings, also with every update of most other apps, your smartphone or tablet flashes, vibrates and lights up. If you turn off push notifications or set your smartphone to silent, you won’t notice any of these, so that there’s less temptation to keep checking your phone.
3. Use apps to support you in your digital detox efforts
Anyone who wants to spend less time staring at their smartphone can do so with the help of the smartphone itself. Digital Detox apps are there to show the user how long he or she used the device and how often the screen was unlocked at the end of each day. For most people, this is probably the first time they realize how much time the smartphone “steals” from us every day.
A message saying “time wasted thanks to smartphone: 185 minutes” … anyone who reads this every day is certainly highly motivated to quickly change the situation. After all, at around 3 hours per day, you waste almost a whole day per week – and very quickly you’re talking about several months or even years in your life.
4. Create digital-free zones and time slots
Creating digital-free spaces is one of the most important points for digital detox to succeed. No smartphone or no accessibility via smartphone after 20:00 in the evening, no tablet or laptop in the bedroom, no use of digital media at the dining table or when playing with the children: these rules are easy enoguh to follow. Once this has been achieved, the free spaces and zones can be expanded, such as in the following manner:
- No phone or tablet during lunch break or generally at work (not even in the home office)
- Very little Internet or better completely offline on vacation
- Smartphone avoidance when shopping at the supermarket
- No phone when eating out
- No phone when going for a walk or visiting friends
For the last points mentioned, it is important to leave your smartphone or tablet at home: just leave your smartphone or tablet at home or switch it off. You can then treat yourself to some time with your digital companions afterwards – or at certain times.
5. Digital detox: completely switch off smartphone or tablet every now and then
For all those who find this too difficult and feel uncomfortable without a smartphone in their pocket, here’s a simple trick for taking a digital break: turn off the smartphone after each use. That way, the effort required to briefly read e-mails or check the number of likes on Facebook will be so high that you’ll probably give it a miss.
If that’s too much for you, you can simply cut off the Internet connection after every use or put your smartphone into flight mode. Even then, the ringing and vibrating will decrease, and a simple glance at the display will no longer be enough to see if anything new has happened.
We wish you good luck with your project and digital detoxing 😉