Are you among the 69 percent of drivers who use their cell phone while driving? Do you count yourself in the 72 percent of students who text in their sleep (but don’t remember doing so)? Or are you one of the 75 percent of Americans who use their phone while on the toilet (including the 40.5 percent who use their phone to set the toilet mood)? If so, it could be time to take a little break from your devices and embark on a technology detox. Here are five tips you can follow to bring balance back to your tech usage.
1. Be smart at work
For most of us it’s simply not feasible to completely disconnect from technology. There are work emails to check, PowerPoint presentations to deliver and a constantly buzzing cell phone to address. However, you can lighten your tech burden during your workday in a few easy ways. Avoid emailing a colleague if you can walk to their desk for a quick chat. Don’t spend your lunch break glued to social media. And check your email at scheduled times so it doesn’t dominate your entire day.
2. Set rules at home
Detoxing doesn’t necessarily mean completely banning yourself from all technology. Rather, it’s more about finding a healthy balance. To achieve this, set clear rules for your home life. That could mean turning your phone off at 8pm every night, shutting off all screens an hour before bed, and keeping devices out of your bedroom. If you want some downtime before bed, try reading a book, doing a meditation session or simply talking with your loved ones.
3. Embrace a low-tech hobby
An old-school hobby can be a great way to take your focus away from technology and on to more physical tasks. Perhaps getting your hands dirty in a vegetable garden appeals, or maybe it’s time to pursue your long-held passion for furniture making. Joining a sports club is another great way to get away from screens, or take up surfing, golf, cycling or hiking to boost your time in the great outdoors. And if you have kids, find a low-tech activity you can all get involved in.
4. Be present at social occasions
Even our social occasions are interrupted by our obsession with technology. Keep your phone out of sight and out of mind while at dinner with friends or family, and ask guests to your next dinner party to hand in their devices as they arrive. Without the constant beeping, buzzing and flashing of phones, you’ll all likely find it much easier to be more present in the moment.
5. Track your tech usage
Like it or not, technology isn’t going anywhere. From your smartphone to your tablet or laptop, it’s a constant presence in our modern lives. The key to avoiding technology overload is simply to take a mindful approach to ensure you’re not falling into unwanted habits. Ironically, there are a range of apps you can use to monitor and reduce your screen time. For example, Moment tracks your phone usage against the goals you’ve set, and Forest rewards you for time spent not using your phone by planting real-world trees.