Hey friends! Let’s talk about technology today, shall we?
It’s no secret that our society has grown increasingly reliant on technology. We use it for communication, entertainment, driving directions, you name it.
And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
For one thing, technology has helped lift the burden of otherwise time-consuming tasks. (Have I mentioned my deep love of my Roomba recently)?
Unfortunately, there’s a darker side to technology as well. This is the technology that sucks us in, separates us from close relationships, and fogs our brain with distractions.
I was reading an article by Joshua Becker the other day, and he uncovered some alarming statistics. He found that:
- “84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device.
- 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.
- 88% of U.S. consumers use mobile devices as a second screen even while watching television.
- Almost half of cellphone users have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls.”
When I read those facts, it was really a wake-up call for me; truth time: I am guilty of each one.
This made me realize, “WOW! I desperately need some strategies to unplug from technology.”
Have you ever thought those words?
If so, this post is for you.
Now, I’m not saying unplug from technology forever, of course. In fact, I’m not even saying all day. But we do need to practice mindfulness regarding why, when, and how often we engage with technology.
15 Tips to Unplug From Technology
First, let’s tackle the why…
Here’s the deal, it turns out that our addiction to technology is actually reducing our productivity levels simply because of its constant distraction. So avoid the myth of multitasking and give your brain a break. You’ll get more done when you do!
Unplugging also encourages you to dedicate more time to your real relationships. You know, all of those important real-life connections with the special people in your life.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a distracted conversation. And you don’t need me to tell you that competing for someone’s attention when you’re up against Facebook, Instagram, or email, is tough.
By unplugging and dedicating more time to the important people in your life, you’re on your way to boosting happiness. Because remember, relationships are one of the leading contributors to a healthy, happy life.
In addition to boosting happiness through strengthening relationships, unplugging also puts an end to the comparison game. You’ll have a much easier time feeling content with your life when you’re not inundated with everyone else’s Instagram-perfect existence.
The constant pings, vibrations, and flashing screens are exhausting! What’s more, they contribute to this constant feeling of “attend to this NOW!”
I don’t know about you, but when I have several text, email, and missed call notifications on my lock screen, my anxiety spikes; I feel I must respond to each situation ASAP. By stepping away from these demands, you also reduce stress.
As an added bonus, there is also a financial benefit to unplugging and turning off notifications. The less dependant you are on your technology, the less you will use it. This goes for your mobile data and even your household electricity bills. Most people are on a mission to cut back and save where possible, and swapping to unplugging from tech and prepaid electricity to help you keep a tight track of your spending are two things that can help.
Get More Sleep:
I’ve mentioned in previous posts the negative effects of the “blue light” emitted from our smartphones, computers, and television screens. This light sends a signal to our brain that messes with our melatonin levels, in turn making it more difficult to fall asleep.
What’s more, the simple addiction of scrolling endlessly through Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a huge time suck, and it often keeps us up much later than intended.
How many of you have told yourself: “Just 5 more minutes, then I’ll go to bed.” but 30 minutes later, you’re still sitting on the couch? Yep, me too.
It’s time to unplug, people.It's time to unplug people. #unplug #mindfulness #worklifebalance Click To Tweet
Top Tips to Unplug from Technology
So what can we do? How can we step back and unplug from technology? I have you covered. Here is a list of my favorite strategies; give them a try today!
Leave Work At Work
When you’ve finished your work for the day, put up an auto-away message that states, “Thank you for your email. I’m away from my desk, and I look forward to responding to your message upon my return.” Then, forward your calls to voicemail. By eliminating the temptation to check your emails and updates after work, you’re helping yourself unplug from technology and the job.
It’s all about work-life balance, people!It's all about work-life balance, people! #worklifebalance #mindfulness #unplug Click To Tweet
Create a specific time each day that you will completely power down. Leave your phone in another room, close your laptop, and turn off the television. It’s time to go old school.
Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Page through some cookbooks and find a dinner recipe. Play a board game with your spouse or children. Go for a walk and listen to the sounds around you.
There are countless fun activities you can do to recharge. Just make sure you schedule that downtime to ensure you fit it in!
Create a Technology “Bedtime”
Establish a time that you’ll unplug from technology for the day. This might differ from day to day, or you might have a strict 8:00 p.m. technology bedtime each night. Either approach is great.
The important thing is actually sticking to that bedtime. Whether this means putting your phone on “do not disturb,” physically turning off your computer, or putting all electronics in a different room is completely up to you. Find a strategy that works, and go for it!
Bonus tip: make your technology bedtime a part of your own bedtime routine, and the practice will soon become habit.
(Looking for strategies to create a bedtime routine? Check out my post How to Create The Perfect Bedtime Routine. Then, download my workbook to help guide you through the process.)
Turn Off Your Notifications
It’s easy to tell yourself you’re going to unplug, but then get distracted by that constant vibration coming from your purse. To stop this problem in its tracks, simply turn off the notifications!
Stop those “polite” vibrations, silence the ping, and turn off the screen lock alerts. When you don’t have something constantly trying to grab your attention, you’ll have a much easier time unplugging from technology. I promise!
(Bonus, there are plenty of free apps available that allow you to block certain social media websites as well. I use one called Work Mode, which is a Google Chrome extension. It’s super helpful.)
As a professor, I am often grading papers and reading articles or books online. I’ve discovered recently, however, that I get much less done this way. And that’s because I find myself distracted by the need to “quickly” check my email, look up a piece of information, answer a question on my blog, etc.
Therefore, any time I need to read, I do so unplugged.
I go to the library and check out the physical book or I print out the student’s paper. Then, I sit at a completely different location that’s separate from my computer. I can’t believe how much more work I accomplish and how refreshed I feel from just those two simple steps.
Because the internet is no longer fighting for my attention. I can focus solely on the project at hand.
And there you have it – my favorite strategies to unplug from technology, and why we should all practice them more often. If you’re looking for more even more suggestions of how to unplug from technology, check out my list of 15 simple strategies here!
Do you unplug from technology often? What are your strategies? Do you face any challenges when you unplug from technology? Let me know below!