A couple of weeks ago I blogged about embarking on a digital detox, and as in previous years, I put a new (to me) process to the test. Here is what happened this year, what worked for me and what didn’t:
Screen free day… kind of
The plan I followed culminated in having a screen/device free day at the end of the week, and I did more or less do that. For me, that’s not as big a change as it may be for some, and I was on holiday, which helped. Still, I use my phone to listen to audio books and take pictures, and I missed those things.
So instead of having a completely screen/device free day, I have set my phone to only enable access to specific apps on Sundays, excluding all social media apps. I have chosen photos, camera, maps, a meditation app, maps, books and audio books as well as music to remain. All else is off limits on Sundays.
It’s proven a great way to really get away from screens during the weekend and having the phone limitations switched on has given me a much greater awareness of how much I do check in with various channels. I feel I have more choice as a result and choose not to engage most of the time.
Evenings and meal times
I have used a similar approach for evenings from 20.30 and at mealtimes. This had an unintended consequence, as a lovely chat with a friend was suddenly cut off as it was 20.31… I called right back and explained. Following the steps of the detox programme made me reflect on how much I actually did use my phone in the evenings or during dinner.
There was a real difference between what I *think* I do and what I actually do. That alone has made the process worthwhile for me.
What I learnt
I think of myself as digitally literate and informed when it comes to using my devices and social media. Previously, a lot of my efforts have gone into using tools and platforms safely, being aware of what data I generate and how this may be used (against me, for profit etc). With a distributed network of family and friends keeping in touch online has been a lifeline long before the pandemic introduced me to a whole new level of communicating using online tools.
That said, I have spent less time observing how being online for work and personal activities impacts on my wellbeing, both physical and mental. This year’s detox process has helped me focus on those aspects of working and living using digital technologies.
That’s something that I will write more about in the next post, inspired in part by this visual: