We’re living in a fast-paced digital world where technology affects everything we do. Whether it’s a heart-rate monitor on your smartwatch telling you how productive your last workout session was, a Snapchat notification on your phone or a television subscription helping you while away the hours, digital tech is everywhere.
In the right circumstances, your favorite devices can be powerful tools. After all, they help you communicate with your loved ones and be more productive at work. Some solutions can even make you healthier. The problem is, though, that the world is so saturated in the digital today, it’s difficult to see if and when we’re getting too much exposure to social media and Wi-Fi connections.
Here, we’re going to explore the benefits of “logging off” for a little while to help you determine whether or not you could benefit from a digital detox.
What is a digital detox, anyway?
Before you can decide whether a virtual vacation is right for you, let’s get to the bottom of what detoxing really means. A digital detox is when you take a break from tech for a while because you realize your addiction is stopping you from achieving your goals.
The precise details on how you should design your detox will depend on your personal circumstances. While some people will simply need to turn their phone off more often, others may need a more complete retreat.
Ultimately, it’s about showing yourself you can live without constant exposure to technology, as well as discovering the benefits that come with switching off occasionally.
So, is a detox right for you? Here are a few questions to help you decide.
Is Your Addiction Holding You Back?
Digital addiction might sound like a term made up by parents to get their kids off their computers. But it’s a real problem from which many people suffer. In fact, the urge to check our phones and play with technology is so great that it can make us a danger to ourselves. Some 28% of Americans admit they don’t drive as safely as they should when they have access to their cell phones.
If you’re so obsessed with checking your Instagram feed that you can’t concentrate at work, or you lose sight of what’s happening in front of you, then this is an obvious sign you need to detox. Just like any addiction, digital dependence can be a dangerous thing.
Are You Struggling to Sleep Properly?
There are plenty of reasons why your computer cravings could be stopping you from getting a relaxing night of sleep. First, the constant buzzing of a phone is hard to ignore when you should be in dreamland. Second, the blue artificial light produced by phones can make us feel more awake by messing with our circadian rhythm—the thing that tells us when we should be sleeping and when we should be active.
Even if you don’t want a full digital detox, you could get a better night’s rest if you commit to two hours away from technology before bedtime each night.
Do You Regularly Feel Anxious and Depressed?
Healthy living is all about balance. Too much of anything can be bad for the mind and body, and technology is no exception. Research has shown a positive correlation between feelings of anxiety and digital dependence. In fact, some studies have tied anxiety to the dopamine release similar to that produced by the stimulants that come from social media likes and text messages.
The constantly-connected world we live in has encouraged pleasure-seeking behavior in many adults, which creates an environment potent for mental stress. If you’re struggling to find the enjoyment in life you once had, it may be a sign you need a break from the digital world.
Do You Have Trouble with Relationships and People Skills?
Another unexpected benefit of a digital detox is that it forces you to take your eyes off your smartphone and pay attention to the world around you. This will help you improve your people skills, which leads to better relationships and a happier you. After all, no one likes trying to talk to someone who is more interested in their Facebook status than what they have to say.
Cell phones and tablets allow people to close themselves off from the outside world, but a digital detox pulls you out of that unhealthy isolation. This can be particularly important when it comes to saving romantic relationships. A Forbes study found that 3 in 5 people spend more time on their phones than they do with their partners.
If you can’t have dinner with your partner or enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend without staring at your phone, it might be time for a digital detox so that you can carve out more time to spend with the people who really matter.
Is Your Workplace Productivity Suffering?
To some extent, technology has made the professional world a more productive place. After all, most of us would struggle to do our jobs without the support of a computer or tablet. However, there’s a difference between using digital devices to improve your workplace performance and accessing them as a form of office procrastination.
If you often find your to-do list is left practically untouched by the end of the day, but your social media feeds are in great condition, this could be a red flag that your obsession with the digital is stopping you from achieving your professional goals. Taking a break from technology could help you to get your priorities back on track and start impressing your boss again.
Are You Having Issues with Your Budget?
Aside from essential expenses like mortgage payments, food costs and utility bills, digital fees can represent one of the largest drains on our bank accounts. Take a moment to think about how much you spend each month on broadband, television, cell phone bills and streaming services. You might be surprised just how much cash goes into your digital addiction.
Going on a hiatus from technology can help you to figure out which of your devices you really need, and which you can live without. This can reduce some of the strain on your budget, meaning you’ll have more money to spend elsewhere.
Is Your Waistline Expanding?
Finally, too much technology doesn’t just harm your mental health, it can also have a negative impact on your physical state. According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, students are more likely to overeat when they’re using social media. After all, when our attention is diverted elsewhere, it’s hard to pay attention to when we feel full.
Whether you’re an overworked student trying to catch up on lectures while you eat lunch or an office worker who streams television shows on their smart television during dinner, a digital detox could be a good way to promote conscious, healthy eating.
Switch Off and Refresh Your Mind
Technology can be a good thing, but too much of it is dangerous. Sometimes we need a break from all the digital processing we do each day. After all, information overload can harm your general well-being. Even if you can’t do a complete withdrawal from the digital world, create some quiet time each day. Taking a few moments to sip a special brew while reading an actual book or writing in a journal can be very beneficial.
Taking a break to detox and reboot your organic batteries can help to keep you happy, healthy and successful. Hopefully, this information has helped you decide if this is exactly what you need.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.