Learn why a detox from smart devices is healthy and how to begin
In the modern day world, the use of smartphones may serve to be either productive or counterproductive, depending on the user. People do not consider the overuse of electronics a grave issue for two reasons.
1: They feel like what’s the worse their phone can do right? It’s harmless.
2: The excessive use of their smartphones has become an integral part of their comfort zone that needs to be broken.
The fact of the matter is that we have forgotten the things that deserve our attention more.
Why should you do a digital detox?
We are all guilty as charged when it comes to ‘taking a break’. We said we’ll take a break from work and our hands slide off to grab our mobiles, ‘I’ll just briefly check through Instagram updates’, ‘Let me just finish one more episode’, ‘Just one quick game and I’ll be back to work!’. Before we know it, that’s about 5 games off and a quick hour passed before we digress to other topics while briefly stalking on Instagram.
Do we call it a phone addiction? Our reliance on our smart devices has been taken to new heights even with general administrative duties – your morning alarm, bus arrival times, dating apps and reminders amongst others. The average millennial spends about 3.2 hours a day on their smartphones. That’s a lot of time if you compare to the productivity hours you have per day.
Another alarming factor was that studies have linked recent the rise in depression and suicide in adolescents to the increasing screen time were “more likely to report mental health issues” than those who spent more time off-screen and on outdoor activities instead. And perhaps one of the contributing factors to your chronic sleep loss was caused by excessive nighttime smartphone usage.
Having said all of this, here are 5 tips on how you can do a digital detox from your smartphones.
1. Restrict features
Most Android smartphones come with a power saving mode and an ultra-power saving mode feature. The ultra power saving mode restricts all features except for a few crucial features that include phone, text, contacts, calculator, camera and gallery. The idea is to keep your phone on ultra power saving mode throughout the day and only have two specific 20-minute windows where you can use other features. What it does is it will force you not to use your phone as often as usual as now you are restricted to only key features that you may need in case of an emergency.
This method is also beneficial since if an emergency were to occur God forbid, you would still have proper access to the communications features present on your phone. When extra features are disabled on your phone, this will allow the user to be more immersed in his surroundings rather than in his phone since all the attention-demanding features have been turned off. Just bear in mind that you may get tempted to get out of ultra power saving mode for a while, know that the small “while” will get worse and take you further away from everything else.
iPhone users on the other hand, can make use of features that are available on iOS 12 onwards like Screen Time, Grouped Notifications and an improved Do Not Disturb function. These features strives to make your smartphone less distracting and way less intrusive to your daily life.
This concept may be considered a more drastic approach but with the same idea as the ultra power saving mode. The idea is to purchase a regular phone and lock away your main smartphone for the day while keeping your simcard in the new phone. With smartphones becoming an entity that portrays glamour and with modern day people with their ways of consumerism, everyone wants to buy the latest and most advanced smartphone. However, no one wants to buy an outdated phone.
This means that they are extremely cheap and easily acquired. To buy a buttoned-phone and place your sim card on that phone while locking away your actual smartphone is the idea with this method. This is for the people who cannot resist temptations of using the time-consuming features of their smartphones. To physically lock away your phone and hand the keys of the lock to someone you trust (not your friends) will completely void said individual from using his phone. He or she will be forced to either interact with people and his surroundings or to play the basic snake game which is addicting but ultimately not enough to keep you distracted for long periods of time.
3. Screen time Functions and Apps
Most phones have been rolling out smart functions that tell the user how much time they have spent on their screen for the day. It can be shocking to learn that other than that precious 8 hours (or even lesser) of sleep we get, we have spent like 5-6 hours just on our mobile, be it playing games or watching a drama. These reminder on screen time usage is an eye-opener that puts it in your face on how much time you have spent doing nothing.
These apps vary in their functionality. But what it really does is to essentially give you that raw data telling you what applications are the biggest source of a distraction for you, thus giving you the knowledge on what to reduce in your daily routine.
4. Go out more
Probably the easiest and best way to reduce phone usage is to give yourself meaningful distractions in the form of people or the outside world or just doing something productive at the end of the day. Hobbies are powerful agents in having productive distractions. Learning how to play an instrument or making a collection of something that can prove useful in staying grounded. Going out and meeting people is also a prime way to pass the time without wasting it. The key factor in this concept is to remain busy to an extent where using your phone seems not necessary as you already have a lot to do, thus invalidating the excessive usage of your phone.
5. Turn off notifications
It is wise to keep notifications off since it is the first thing that you see that leads you to spend hours and hours on a specific app. Turning off notifications take away that one small sound that your phone gives you, calling to take you away from whatever you’re doing. Taking away this distraction makes a significant difference is how distracted you can get, regarding your smartphone. It may seem like a small change, but in contrast, the effect that I may have will be much higher in magnitude. Notifications have a larger impact than we give it credit for.
Can we gain joy by disconnecting?
Slowly but slowly. Going full-on on a digital detox may not be easy for most of us, but much like people fast from food to clear their bodies, it is important to do the same from electronics to clear our minds. Taking that time you were spending on devices to connect with people who really matter or to relax and go for a walk in the park. This quality time you have given yourself will be a true gift indeed.