Who knew that surrounding yourself in technology can sometimes be so toxic?
This is an updated article that was featured in 2016.
The past months I’ve realized I’ve been spending less sleep than usual but it’s not because I am out all night – I was just at home. Then I realized it’s the devices I play with that are somehow making my life unhealthy.
To give you an overview of how my day goes – I work in front of the computer for the better part of the entire week and then using my smartphone with most of my everyday tasks. When I get home, I end up playing a game on my console. Even reading a book has become digital for me, where I’d normally load up books on my tablet instead of reading a physical book.
It made me think that I use these devices too much that’s why I decided that it’s time for a detox. Just like how it applies to your health, detoxing would help eliminate and reconfigure myself to be not dependent on technology.
It can be a difficult process I tell you, but once you’ve done it that uplifting feeling actually made me more productive with my work and social life. Here’s some of the stuff that I did:
I grabbed a real book and started reading. It somehow brought back the feeling of where I can simply concentrate on reading a story without any interruptions. The problem is, when I was reading from a tablet, I always get easily distracted with notifications and other apps since the tablet houses of them. I finished reading five books in that same month. Since tablets have become a distraction, I got myself a Kindle so I can still read a book without being distracted by other apps.
Since I place my smartphone next to me before I go to sleep, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night seeing notifications and then I end up using the other apps without realizing that I am already awake. I use an iPhone, and iOS’s current Do Not Disturb setting is a blessing and I wondered why I never used it before. Once turned on it will just restrict notifications to call and messages depending on your setting. Even at night when you open the smartphone to check the time, you’ll still see a dim display with just the time – no other notifications in bright light that might distract your sleep.
iOS and Android devices now include a wellbeing app that lets you see how much you’re using each app. A quick overview of this gives you an idea how much time you’re spending on it – from there you should know if you actually need to cut back on your smartphone usage.
There is now a habit in the office where everyone uses instant messaging to relay some small talk – but this has somehow confined us in our cubicles. We still talk, but that only happens now in the virtual world. So instead of sending messages, I stood up and walked to my co-worker’s desk to talk. She was surprised at first, but somehow she understood that talking in person is still the best practice.
I went on holiday a few months back and while exploring the place I realized that half of the time all I did was take images and selfies (sorry) without even experiencing the place. So I slowly placed my devices back in my bag and took some time to appreciate the place where I was in. I tell you, it can be very relaxing.
This one might be a little hard to do, especially if you’re used to it. I’ve tried quitting social media, but since my work still deals with it and I realized I can’t really quit it, I tried using it less and less. It’s a simple move, but it can be very therapeutic.
Those simple steps somehow made me sleep better at night and wake up refreshed in the morning. Even my productivity while working has somehow improved.
So I suggest you give it a try. It doesn’t require you pay or commit anything – it’s a simple decluttering of the digital lifestyle. Believe me, you’ll feel better after.