I feel as strong about a good digital detox as I do about not throwing back crappy Gin (don’t worry Hendrick’s, you have my heart).
There’s a distinct difference from the time I started out in the online world (hello 2012) to now.
I’d log-in to Facebook and sound off about all things food, spirituality and what crazy thing my dad was doing and/or saying on the wild journey of dementia.
I loved being online and all up in the social media platforms.
Cut to now and there are so many more networks and features added to each of them.
As a freelancer who resides in the digital world as a career, it can be mind-boggling and overwhelming where to start and invest your time and oh, the changes that occur daily (almost momentarily).
All of this overload led me to believe a digital detox is something we all need (especially if that’s the area we work in).
Why You Might Need a Digital Detox
One weekend I made the decision to delete my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook apps off my phone.
I was hesitant at first because I began to think I was going to suffer a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
What if a super, uber-celebrity retweeted my blog?
What if I gained overnight Twitter Stardom?
What if I woke up to a gazillion followers on Instagram overnight?
What if I went viral on Facebook and didn’t even know it?
All those ri-gosh-damn-diculous (and not to mention douche-bag) thoughts went through my social-laced head and I obviously needed to check myself. I mean seriously. Just saying them out loud makes me want to kinda give myself a little twist of the ear.
The mere idea of those questions and potential FOMO had me disputing my sanity AND knowing I definitely needed to delete these apps…like yesterday.
If you’re in the digital landscape and have these thoughts, then ya just might need a digital detox.
If you don’t live in the online world like some of us freelance folks, but still itch for a bit of app-free time, don’t wait for the FOMO feeling to hit you.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Perhaps you eat and scroll.
Perhaps your thumb is all sorts of sore from texting like Billy Joel plays the piano.
Perhaps your kids are like, “Parental Unit, I’m talking to you” while you check your email.
Perhaps you reach for that iPhone like you reach for your inhaler.
Perhaps you just need a damn break from your screen.
If there’s any resemblance here, let’s get our digital detox on, shall we?
But first, we must peel a few layers back…
If you’re like me, I’m all about that personal development.
If I’m going to do something to help me grow and learn about myself, I want to maximize it.
Because I like to “optimize” most things and before I go into the “how” of a digital detox I want you to know a wee bit more about yo’self.
I’m a raving fan of Gretchen Rubin.
She’s the author of The Happiness Project and many other books which help you know thyself.
And when you know more about yourself, you can make better decisions that work for you. Or so the theory goes.
I first heard the idea of being an abstainer or moderator from her work.
The abstainer thrives without having to decide or justify why they can have, let’s say, a cookie. If you’re an abstainer, you tell yourself, “I don’t eat sugar” and it’s kind of “easy” as that.
Moderator’s need, well, moderation or they will go bazerk saying, “I can never have a cookie again”. Moderators can totally handle having a bite of a cookie without having to go full-on Cookie Monster.
Why the hell am I bringing up the abstainer/moderator talk?
Because this might guide you in how you want to handle your digital detox.
I know people who moderate their digital life with a weekend delete of apps and all things electronic.
I also know people who’ve sworn off social media for a whole year (or more) and chucked their smartphone for a little flippy one. (Oh, hello T9 texting).
Some people need a little digital detox getaway (the weekender’s) and some people need a complete upheaval (ditch that iPhone and deactivate Facebook like the button happy person you are).
When you know what will work for your life, it’s easier to make decisions from that place.
Ok, let’s get into already. Geez, Kel, your tangents.
How to Rock a Digital Detox
The first question you might ask yourself is why do you use social media?
Why do you subscribe to a newsletter?
Why do you visit that website?
I use social media and subscribe to newsletters and visit websites as fuel for inspiration.
When I log-in and start scrolling I’m looking for uplifting, thought-provoking content.
I’m not in it for the news or the polarity it can provide as well (cool if you do, just not for me).
Knowing why you get online is key to knowing how you want to navigate it.
Now for the nitty gritty digital detox tips…
Have a bunch of unopened email lurking in your inbox/junk folder? Unsubscribe.
My rule of thumb is if you don’t look forward to a newsletter or email from a particular person/brand/company then hit that unsubscribe button.
This can touch on the FOMO real heard. I mean, I allowed my Banana Republic emails to keep coming because I loved that one time a year I shopped there and cashed in on my emails and discounts.
Not worth the continual deleting for me.
So, I unsubscribed and placed mad trust in the shopping God’s I’d catch a killer deal for whatever I needed when the time came.
Feel bad about unsubscribing from a newsletter you’ve been on for a looooooong time?
Think about it like this: that person doesn’t want you on their newsletter if you’re not opening it, or potentially buying and/or using what they’re putting out there.
If you’re not excited to open an email or interested to see what’s inside, do everyone a favor and unsubscribe.
I actually encourage unsubscribes from my newsletter frequently; I encourage a win-win on both digital ends.
And remember, you can always subscribe again!
Ahh, love that. The sound of sweet-ass choices.
Just think how free you and your inbox will feel when that ping comes and you’re all, “Oh hell yes, I can’t wait to open this email” versus dreading what’s lurking in your folders.
The same sentiment goes for unfollowing people on your social media platforms. If you don’t want to interact with someone you’re following on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. than clickity-click that unfollow button.
I’ve unfollowed people I thought I’d love forever but just wasn’t pickin’ up what they were putting out there NOW (that could always change).
And whenever I think about them or want to see what they’re up to I go creep on their profile. People change. Ideas are fluid.
Keep checking in with where you’re at and the people whom you subscribe to.
Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow to whatever and whoever doesn’t serve the reason why you decide to log-in to these accounts.
TAP THAT APP (GOODBYE)
This doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, it can be temporary.
Choose a designated day(s) out of the week when you want to go app-less to the ones you just can’t seem to stop unconsciously opening (can you hear the tap, tap, tap?).
With this app-free idea, weekends are a great place to start.
That’s where my digital detox started. I loved it so much for one day, I thought, “Shoot, I’m gonna keep going ‘till Monday.”
When I re-installed the apps on Monday, I felt refreshed and excited to get in there and resume my online socializing.
Not to mention the brain space I was freed up. Holy hell. The Creativity Juice was strong and flowing and I wasn’t about to tell it to stop.
I realized how much space hitting that app icon all the damn time takes in my head (and energy).
Take control back into your hands (and thumbs) and delete that app!
Now, these are but three tips for partaking in your own kinda digital detox.
Even if you take only one of these tips for an unplug, you’re on the up and up for creative energy and time to plug into things that matter outside of social media.
I’m nowhere near utopia with my iPhone usage, but I’m better than I was.
I’ve cultivated more consciousness around it and with those extended breaks of going app-free – when I reintegrate – I can really see where I go unconscious.
We live in a digital world and if that’s not where you wanna spend your time, that is beyond rad (I’d physically high-five you if I could).
If the online world is a place you want to hang give it the boundaries and space that works for you…’cause the Zombie look (you know the one, where you’ve been staring at that screen too long) is so last season.
Love + Tapping Out From Time to Time,