15 Tips to Unplug From Technology (And Why You Should Give It A Try!)

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)?

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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.

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15 Tips to Unplug From Technology

First, let’s tackle the why…

Distraction:

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!

Relationships:

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.

Happiness:

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.

Less Stress:

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.

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

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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!

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Schedule Downtime

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.)

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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.)

Read Offline

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.

Why?

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!

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Question:

Do you unplug from technology often? What are your strategies? Do you face any challenges when you unplug from technology? Let me know below!

46 thoughts on “15 Tips to Unplug From Technology (And Why You Should Give It A Try!)”

  1. I never realized I had a dependency on my phone until I don’t have it with me. It’s my lifeline to the outside world. But the biggest problem I have with disconnecting from it is with my side hustle and wanting to know the my daily stats. I’m not sure why I need to know this, but what if I miss a message??? Thanks for the reminder to put it down sometimes.

    1. It’s a hard balance, isn’t it? But if we can find time to step away, we are more mindful of the time that we use it 🙂

  2. Turned off notifications recently and it really has helped. My phone is still with me everywhere when the kids are at daycare and their teachers might need to get a hold of me, but without the dings or little red circles I’m getting better at not getting sucked into social media at its every beck and call.

    1. It’s amazing what a difference those little changes can make, isn’t it?
      Also, I thought of you and your post about the girl in the (yellow?) shirt the other day when hiking up the ridiculously long stairs at the Porter T-Stop

  3. I have come to realize that the number one reason for low productivity in my life is technology. Scrolling up and down the internet and then wondering where all the time went. I am being more mindful about how I use technology and these are awesome tips.

    I love your blog and I have subscribed to make sure I don’t miss on any productivity tips- it is the area I am really working on improving.

    1. Yes, me too! My kryptonite is clicking through all of the different tabs I have open on my screen (ugh). Now when I work online, I restric myself to ONE tab. It’s a challenge, but helpful!

      And thank you so much – your comment means a lot to me! I’m thrilled that you’ve subscribed! A few of my favorite productivity posts include time blocking: (https://imbusybeingawesome.com/timeblocking/) using a daily routine to maximize productivity (https://imbusybeingawesome.com/followingaroutine/) and my top productivity tips when working from home: (https://imbusybeingawesome.com/productive-working-from-home/)

    1. That sounds lovely – especially during the insanity of house hunting! Have a wonderful weekend (and congrats on the upcoming move!)

  4. I find it so hard to switch of my tech. I have been getting so much better at it as of late. An hour before bed I put my phone on flight mode. I love these tips. I have been doing similar things already, but I may have to take your advice and turn off my notifications. Instagram is my weakness.

    https://samanthaallaker.com/

    1. Great suggestion about the airplane more – I love that tip. I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

    1. I agree, Tracy. It’s SO hard. And it’s great that you’re trying. That’s all we can do – and each step forward is a move in the right direction 🙂

  5. All great information and tips. I don’t really use my phone too much because I’d much rather be in the moment but my family and friends are almost always on theirs, even if we’re hanging out, and it drives me nuts!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

  6. Brittany Bergman

    I love these ideas — especially a technology bedtime. I haven’t established that habit yet. One thing that’s working for me is to leave my phone in my coat pocket when I get home from work. Then I’m not tempted to check it during the short amount of time I have with my daughter before she goes to bed. I’ve also taken a few extended breaks from social media lately, and I find that I use my phone FAR less when social media is not an option. I start doing that for a few days or a week each month to return to a baseline usage I’m comfortable with.

    1. These are great strategies, Brittany. Thank you so much for sharing them! I’m going to try your coat pocket trick next time I come home from work 🙂

  7. This is so important! The stats you mention are crazy! I know I fall into some of those buckets myself sometimes. I like how you point out the WHY’s of limiting cell phone use, not just give the tips. Hopefully having a solid why will help you stick to the new goal or habit. Thanks!

  8. Reading offline is insanely helpful! I get so distracted trying to read somehting on my computer.

  9. Brittany wright

    I really need to try some of these. I went out of the country recently and was barely able to use my phone. It made me realize that I’m way too attached to it!

    1. Yes – it’s definitely challenging. But if we keep working toward the goal, every step helps 🙂

  10. Hi, I really loved this post and it is all true but how do you unplug when it is your second job? When you leave your day job only to go home to continue your second job (eg blogging/crafts selling on ebay or etsy) this means you can unplug that easily. I guess you just have to work with boundaried.
    Thanks for the tips and great read.

    D, xo from Live Dream Create – D

    1. That’s a GREAT question, and it’s a challenge with which I also struggle. Personally, I avoid using technology when it’s not related to either my first or second job. So yes, I certainly still advertise my blog posts and work on my Etsy page in the evening after work. However, I limit simply scrolling through facebook or Instagram for “entertainment,” and instead opt to chat with my husband, read, etc. I hope this helps!

  11. I so needed this post! One thing my family has been doing is to have screen free evenings. After dinner and dishes we play outside, grab out a board game, or even just sit and chat.

    This hour is precious and really helps us connect as a family without being pulled in different directions by the tech. Getting the family on board was huge because they now remind us. It can be hard to walk away from the screen (especially for me!), but it’s so beneficial when we do!

    1. I absolutely LOVE this idea, Lisa! I am going to try that with my husband this weekend. Thanks so much for the great suggestion 🙂

    1. Yes, it’s amazing how much power social media can have on our emotions. It’s so helpful to step away every once in a while 🙂

  12. Ugh this is so me. I always have my phone on me and I need to do better with not needing it. I do put my phone on do not disturb at night though. Everyone close to me knows they must call twice in a row to get through (or call my husband haha).

    1. Do not disturb is a fantastic start! I think many of us battle with this same thing. Hopefully if we all take the steps to unplug regularly, it will become the norm:)

    1. I LOVE that idea, Marya! I’ll have to give that a try 🙂 Thanks for the great suggestion.

  13. This is so true. My family is so plugged in all the time. We let me daughter get addicted to her tablet and had to do a 3 day technology de-tox with her. We let her watch tv for a bit each day, but no tablet for 3 days. She was miserable, but it was worth it in the long run.

    1. I can imagine! It’s amazing how addicting technology can be. Congrats on spotting the need for a detox right away 🙂

  14. I so agree that sometimes we just need to go “offline!” With all of the technological advancements it is hard to see that technology is not always the best thing for us. We need to make sure we are taking the time to invest in ourselves and our relationships and not be so invested in the lives of distant friends or strangers. These are some awesome tips!

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