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Is it time for a digital detox?

Is it time for a digital detox?

It seems to me that everywhere I go nowadays, I see people (and I’m not just talking teenagers here) looking at their smart phones, scrolling along their screens and being completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. It even happens in pubs and restaurants when we’re actually supposed to be socialising.

And it got me around to thinking about a ‘Digital Detox’. 

What’s a Digital Detox?

It’s when you go cold turkey and MOVE AWAY FROM THAT SCREEN. 

Maybe you’re in the habit of reading on an iPad or Kindle last thing before you go to sleep. Well, according to recent research that’s not such a great idea as it’s not the best way to read a book at night. Your eyes are far more rested by reading an old fashioned book with pages and paper.

"We need to stand back, see technology for what it is and choose when to engage or disengage," says Louise Cox Chester of Mindfulness at Work. "Putting the device down will soon be seen as the clever thing to do and all about sustaining our performance in the long term."

And this goes for your phone and your laptop as well. 

Give yourself a day off a week from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and yes, your e mails. Oh and texting. Get all those jobs done at home that don’t need a computer or a screen involved and use a pen or paper if you have to. (Just think how charming it is to receive a handwritten thank you letter instead of a text or e mail.) 

It might be hard at first and you might wonder if you’re missing something – but you’ll accomplish far more than you thought possible. Okay, so leave your phone on so people can contact you but step away from the texting. 

As Arianna Huffington says in her book 'Thrive': "Being connected in a shallow way to the whole world can prevent us from being deeply connected with those closest to us – including ourselves. And that is where wisdom is found."

At work or home, stepping away from the screen and taking time to think things through and write (with a pen) actually frees up your thought processes. We’ve all spent time on a computer and wondered what we’re actually achieving. 

Productivity studies show that it’s actually much more effective to just check your e mails two or three times a day, rather than every time you hear that ping.

Check your e mails before you start work, decide what needs to be done and then don’t recheck until after lunch, or later on that afternoon. It’s all too easy to get distracted along the email trail and step away from your priorities. 

A digital detox is just what it sounds like. It’ll be tough at first, but you’ll survive and be better (and more productive) for the experience. 

More on digital detoxing 

When you’re at home, you also need to consciously step away. Talk to your partner and family. Be available.

The best way to digitally detox is to decide how much time to take out from your screens – and then stick to it. It may be for an hour in your working day or maybe the whole of Saturday – or a weekend afternoon or evening. 

Whatever you decide, read the article here and you’ll see that far from reducing your productivity, a digital detox can actually enhance it.