If you’ve eaten through more bandwidth than Christmas pudding this holiday, you may want to start the year with a low-tech diet. But switching off your tech dependency may be the hardest thing you’ll ever try to do – tougher even than quitting smoking or losing weight. In our “always-on” culture, checking office emails on Christmas Eve is a stubborn habit.
Here are six quick tips for a revitalized start to the year – without unplugging your beloved devices!
- Stop checking your phone
No one is ready to give up their smartphone entirely, not even at dinner. But 67% of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls – even when their isn’t phone ringing or vibrating, according to a 2014 study. If that’s not addiction, then what is?
- Temporarily close your social media accounts (at least some of them).
A real smile is better than an emoticon and a like gives more pleasure than a “like.” Spending every spare minute on social media sites doesn’t help make us happy. The more time a person spends on Facebook, the more dissatisfied they ultimately feel with their own life, studies have found. But if you’re thinking of asking a friend to change your passwords to lock you out, donâ€™t. Someone might break into his computer, steal the credentials from him and ultimately, your online identity.
- Turn off notifications on your phone
Push notifications imply that something is happening online and it needs your attention immediately. Turn off your alerts if you want some tranquility, Facebook “Likes” and posts can wait.
- Don’t take your phone to bed
Is your mobile phone good in bed? Not likely. In 2014, 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed so they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night. But is that really necessary? Think about the privacy implications, what if some intrusive app takes control of your mic or camera to record you? Also, fight the urge to look at your phone first thing in the morning.
- Go offline on weekends
Some people go offline for a whole year, but usually only to write a book about it. But you can start off your own saga of unplugging with a couple of days. Instead of Twitter feeds, funny cat GIFs or Instagram, dive into some real book reading.
- Encourage tech-free spaces at the office
More and more companies are taking digital detox seriously by organizing office space with no Internet connectivity, where employees can relax, become more focused and productive. You can even try working offline for short periods to avoid bombardment by disruptive messages, email spam or annoying pop-ups.
And, if nothing seems to work, at least try to detox two days a year. The National Day of Unplugging, on March 7-8, encourages tech users to shut down their digital devices for 24 hours as a way to slow down, recharge and reconnect with themselves and others.
Have you tried altering your tech-dependent lifestyle? How has that worked out for you?