Offline is the new luxury and that is why you see and hear more about digital detox, technostress or smartphonelessness these days. And there are apps to help you do just that. Yes, you’ve read it right: there are apps to help you with your digital detox… Are you ready to take control over your time spend in our digital world?
Travel agencies offer digital detox holidays, companies designate rooms as quiet rooms to get rid of other influences including the digital ones. Did you know that Selfridge warehouse in London opened a Silence Room so you can get rid of the busy chatter of Oxford Street? Do not: you cannot even take your shoes or phone with you. And more brands every day are getting on board the digital detox train. KitKat now sponsors Wi-Fi-free zones in Amsterdam: “Have a break, have no Wi-Fi!”.
And it’s not just marketing agencies and brands that spotted the digital detox trend. We are all getting more aware of the damage our digital connection on a day to day basis has on our life, more importantly on our health. Who doesn’t want to trade digital time for more energy, concentration and focus? I will not lecture you any further about the health impact it has, so if you want to know more: Google it. There is plenty info out there. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention to ban you from your smartphone or Netflix binge-watching. I am addicted to my digital time too, but now I’ve experienced a digital disconnection I find that I want to be more in control of my digital life. So how do you start?
Digital detox challenges
You might want to try to find a digital detox challenge you can join. There are plenty out there. On the downside: you probably have to go online to find one… There are offline options as well. You could read a book, The Digital Diet by Daniel Sieberg, for instance. This book offers four steps to help you get rid of your digital addiction.
Other aids in your digital detox:
- Stop all advertising and newsletters in your email
- Get rid of all your apps on your phone
- Stop notifications and other sounds on your phone (you can use the app Offtime for that) or use airplanemode more often
- Use the programme SelfControl for your Mac which blocks specific websites
- Empty your desktop
- Alert your social life and colleagues about your offline status
- Don’t be afraid for the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
- Use an alarm clock or wake up light instead of your phone and ban the phone from the bedroom
- Leave your phone in your bag during activities/meals
- Get physically active (makes you forget your phone)
- Reflect afterwards, what did you like or not like? Adjust for your next detox.
Trying to cut down on the use of your smartphone? Then download the apps ShutApp or Flipd (you set a timer for how long you don’t want to use your phone) or Forest (blocks your phone during the time you set using the pomodoro technique, if you want to use your phone anyway you kill the digital tree you’ve just planted). And the makers of Forest also created SleepTown to make sure you don’t touch your phone during the hours you want to sleep..
Want to learn more about your own digital behavior on your smartphone? Try the apps BreakFree, Mute, Space or Moment. And if you are the owner of the iOS 12, Apple added a feature on your phone called Screen Time that will tell you more about your time spend online. And then there is a meditation app called Headspace that will help you put your feet back on the ground and helps you experience activities offline.
Still not feeling it? This might work
Having trouble going offline? Use your vacation for a digital detox. Log of and focus on yourself (and on your significant other/family). Trust me, your time away will seem longer and you get back well rested. Skyscanner noted that Cuba might be an ideal destination as 98 per cent of the hotels in Havana don’t seem to have Wi-Fi. And there are hotels and spa’s that make you surrender your phone, so before logging of make sure you add that to your specifications when looking for your holiday destination. No more Google Maps, but getting lost in the city while using real maps. And if you get stressed without Netflix or smartphones, you might want to consider adding a massage to your vacation plans.
Still having problems with going offline for a week or longer? Try starting with 24 hours or maybe even tech breaks during the work day for an hour or so. And don’t worry if you give in to your binge watch on Netflix or Instagram wanderings later today,. Digital detoxing works like any diet: results are more durable when you take tiny steps.