Let’s face it. As much as we don’t want to admit it, we’re glued to our smartphones, tablets and computers 24/7. We need to step away from these devices from time to time to ensure we are living our happiest and more focused life. Rachel Jonat, author of THE JOY OF DOING NOTHING, shares seven ways to start disconnecting.
It’s so hard to turn your brain off these days and get some quiet. There are so many fun distractions. Television is so good right now and available on demand almost everywhere. There are so many ways to get messages from friends, relevant news about your city or town, updates about your favorite sports teams, juicy details on that celebrity split you are guiltily following, and those stunning photos of your friend’s trip to India. It’s all right there. And that makes it so hard to disconnect for your do-nothing time.
Remember, doing nothing is time for you to unwind and relax. And that will mostly mean being offline. If that scares you, fear not. Start small. You’ll benefit from even the smallest change in your online habits. And when you start feeling these benefits—less stress, more focus— you’ll put yourself in a feel-good feedback loop. The more time you spend offline doing nothing, the more you’ll want to put your phone away and connect with yourself, friends, and the world around you.
Seven Ways to Start Disconnecting
1. Leave your phone at home for quick errands. Get used to that feeling of not having it in your pocket/bag.
2. Put your phone to sleep for the night. Leave it charging in another room—not your bedroom. Yes, dust off that alarm clock and start using it again.
3. Turn off push notifications for most of your apps.
4. Have a day offline. It could be once a week or once a month. It could be complete (you actually turn your phone off) or just partial (you only answer phone calls).
5. Set some evenings each week to be screen-free. This means no television, phone, iPad, or computer. Get used to, and start enjoying, the offline life.
6. Stop checking and returning messages immediately. Set a time each day for reading and replying to personal emails and messages.
7. Make a point of connecting with friends and family in person. You’ll start to crave more real-life interaction and rely on your phone less to nurture and grow friendships.
Here’s a guide to finding the level of connectivity that’s right for you:
• Light: Turn that text conversation into a phone call. When you hit five minutes of messaging back-and-forth, suggest a real, live, oldschool phone call instead.
• Medium: Put your phone away at mealtimes and when you’re watching television. Get comfortable with single-tasking and enjoying those activities more.
• Deep: Take a break from one of your most-used social media accounts. Leave a “gone for a while” message up and ask people to call you or come by if they want to connect. Take the bold leap into mostly offline friendship and socializing.
Spend more time outdoors!