Most days it seems my iPhone is always tethered to me. I find myself reaching for it (phantom vibrations or not) as soon as I wake up, waiting in line at the grocery store, riding shotgun in the car, or even while foam rolling at the gym. Look around next time you’re waiting somewhere, you’ll be amazing at how many people are staring at their phones – for better or worse, our devices are always on.
Information overload leaves me feeling overwhelmed and unfocused, with my attention span all over the board. And, I know I’m not alone. We’re bombarded with media all around the clock, but it’s up to us to choose how – and how much – technology we consume.
Here are four ways to help (temporarily) cut that cord and disconnect from your tech!
1. Change Your Morning Routine
It’s easy to reach for your smartphone as soon as you wake up – especially with all the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram notifications screaming at you! Resist the temptation to scroll through them all (better yet: turn all notifications off). Instead, devote the first 15 to 30 minutes (or longer) of your morning as sacred screen-free time. Make a shot of espresso or a cup of tea and read a chapter in a book. Or, enjoy it outside while listening to chirping birds. Early morning is also a wonderful time to meditate; just 10-15 minutes to sit quietly and reflect.
2. Face Time Instead of Screen Time
Rather than emailing, get up from your desk and go talk to your coworker, face to face. Something that would take five emails back-and-forth could most likely be resolved by talking in person for a few minutes. And, rather than texting a friend, schedule a coffee date to catch up. Be sure to keep your phone out of reach so you can focus on meaningful conversation. And, put the phones away during dinner so you can be present and connect with your family.
3. Go Outside
It’s been said that “the human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.” Indeed, it does. So, get outside! New surroundings recharge your batteries and open your mind to new points of view and possibilities. Explore a nearby park or pack a picnic and take a day trip to go hiking. Check out new trails on your bike; you never know what you’ll discover. Bring your phone for safety, but keep it tucked away so you can soak up the views. Sure, it’s nice to snap a few photos, but try enjoying the views with your own two eyes instead of through a screen.
4. Find a New Hobby
Being attached to your smartphone is often an information overload. We bounce from one app to another to another, repeatedly checking to see if someone double-tapped an insta pic or if your inbox is exploding. All that routine checking-in takes up a lot of time – time that could be spent doing something productive, like taking those guitar lessons you’ve always said you would or learning how to rock climb. A new hobby helps you stay in the present moment, as you focus on learning something new instead of worrying about status updates.
So, I challenge you! Pick one evening a week for a digital detox. No smartphone, no computer, no tablet, no TV. Instead, cook dinner, be a tourist in your own city, or cozy up with a good book. You might be surprised at what happens!