If you're like me, you probably sleep with your smartphone and tablet at arms reach. Then start checking email, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and several news sites before you fully wake up each morning. Do your friends and family constantly nag you to stop looking at your phone?
Time to Unplug and Recharge
We spend so much of our time these days charging our phones, tablets and ebook readers that we sometimes forget that us humans too need to recharge. Without taking the time to properly recharge it is very easy for someone to experience burnout in this digitally wired world.
Thanks to cloud computing we all now walk around with supercomputers in our pocket.
I've decided it's time to fight back and take action against my digital overlords. However, the reality is I actually love these digital distractions, so rather than going cold turkey, I've come up with a realistic 12-step plan to a healthier and more productive life in this digital world.
My 12-Step Digital Detox:
- I signed up for an eight-week mindfulness course (for any friends reading this I was not abducted by aliens and reprogrammed). I also recommend downloading an app called Head Space, which offers really great 10-minute guided mediations.
- I'm going to take Arianna Huffington's advice in Thrive (essential reading) and remove all technology from my bedroom except for one old beaten up alarm clock and reading light. I'm still debating if I should remove my Kindle or not.
- Okay, this one is going to be tough, as I plan on not checking my phone when I wake and instead wait until after breakfast! To achieve this I'll probably need to hide my phone outside the bedroom. What's even tougher is the fact I actually plan on having breakfast!
- Reduce and eventually stop drinking coffee. Instead I'm going to start drinking more green tea, so I don't have to miss out on those all important coffee break catch-ups.
- I plan to exercise at least three times a week. I'll try to mix it up by playing five-aside soccer, gym work and maybe go for a run or play some tennis.
- I will turn off all phone alerts and notifications, as these are probably my biggest distraction and productivity killer.
- Eat healthier during the day and remind myself that small changes can produce long-lasting effects. Include some vitamin supplements for those days I fall off the wagon.
- When at work actually focus on what needs to be done and avoid needless distraction. Some people see staying late at work as a badge of honor but in reality chronic lateness is just poor time management. It also dilutes ones earnings and reduces one's overall quality of life -- tilting the scales of work-life balance!
- I decided I will no longer constantly check my phone when I go to a bar for a few drinks with friends. Instead I will turn it off just before I meet them. The upside is this will stop some of the nagging.
- I'm going to reduce the number of people and sites I follow and read online. I'm going to focus on creating a curated list of interesting people and sites which actually add some real value in my life.
- As much as I love my Kindle I've decided to only have real books in my bedroom and for a start I'm going to read The Power of Now followed by rereading the less spiritual Getting Things Done.
- Get serious about time management. The problem is not really about technology; it's about time management. Make a schedule that includes time for everything -- work and personal activities -- and then stick to it.
Bon Voyage and Wish Me Luck
In a couple of months, I'll write a follow-up post to let you all know how these hyper-dis-connectivity (if that's a real word) changes are working out over the long term.
To quote Paulo Coelho: One day you we will wake up and there won't be any more time, to do the things we've always wanted. Do it now.
If all else fails you remember you are not alone and maybe it's time to attend a professional Digital Detox Camp.
Discover a new definition of success with the Thrive with Arianna Huffington online course. Register now!