That time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is, for most of us at least, totally sacred. Work stops, school seems like a distant memory and we’ve got nothing to do but hang out with our nearest and dearest and gorge ourselves on leftover Christmas ham and potato bake.
If there’s any time to take a digital detox, it’s those last few days of the year. When we look up from our smartphone screens and shut down the laptop, we’re much more likely to notice those little things that make us all warm and fuzzy. A rare moment where your kids are getting along like besties. An anecdote from an elderly family member that gives you a peak into their wilder younger years. Friends and family going out of their way to help one another, “just because”.
When we stop tapping and scrolling long enough to notice these moments, we’re able to reflect on where we’re at, and where we want to be. Not necessarily in a business sense, or a “personal growth” kind of way. We notice what matters most to us, and how we want to frame our goals for the year ahead.
So, in the interest of noticing more and scrolling less, here are five ways to set and stick to your week-long digital detox.
- You don’t have to quit cold turkey. Instead, give yourself a minimised yet manageable quota of screen time per day, and set a timer. If you’re one of those people who ritualistically check their emails or social media first thing in the morning or last thing at night, give yourself that small window but then, that’s it. Be reasonable with your targets and ease into it, cutting down by a few minutes every day.
- Delete your apps, particularly the ones that take up the most of your time. Don’t worry, you can get them back! Ask yourself: will the sky fall if I can’t access my work emails? Will my Instagram followers desert me in droves if I don’t post for a week? Will my business fail if a Facebook message goes unanswered for a few more days? It’s all about perspective.
- Get everyone else on board! Explain to your friends and family why you’re detoxing, and ask them if they’d be happy to take part, too. They don’t have to cut down quite as much as you are, but tactics like a ‘phone stack’ at mealtime and keeping gadgets out of bedrooms at night will help you, help your family, help you stick to your digital detox.
- Similarly, try leaving your phone at home if you’re going to a family function or social event. If you’re not going to be using it anyway – because, you know, you’re detoxing – then it’s going to be of no use to you wherever you’re going.
- Enlist some help. Whether it’s a friend or your iPhone or laptop itself, you’ll need a buddy to help keep yourself accountable. Suss out your friendship group or see if your partner is keen to join you on your quest to becoming digitally detoxed. Or – and this might seem counterproductive, but go with us for a second – use the features on your phone (if it has them) to schedule downtime away from your device. A quick scroll through your settings should reveal loads of different ways to do this. And, if your laptop is your kryptonite, download one of the many programs that restrict access to specified apps and websites during set times.