Being without technology can seem quite daunting but there are surmountable benefits to taking back control of the habit. With 41 million people now owning or having access to a smartphone and UK adults spending an average of 8 hours and 41 minutes a day on screens (check this BBC article for more), it’s inescapable. But there are ways to reduce your phone use by following the digital detox trend.
Simon Cowell recently told the Mail on Sunday that he hadn’t used his phone for over 10 months, benefitting his overall mental health. And he’s not alone.
digital detox (n): a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.
Digital detox specialists, Time to Log Off, investigate what a healthy use of screens looks like and how important digital wellness is to our overall health. Their quizzes, articles, retreats and camps help people successfully put down their phones, with those after the retreats significantly improving their sleep, concentration, happiness and stress. A survey of over 4,000 16-75 year olds (by Deloitte, you’ll be amazed by the statistics!) unearthed that 38% of respondents thought they were using their phone too much, with many hating the amount of time they spend on their phones, so the benefits of a detox are apparent.
With social media equating to 2.15 hours phone use alone, it’s no surprise that a digital detox benefit is reduction in anxiety. Every notification for a follower or like is distracting, so by taking a detox, productivity is also very likely to increase, especially in the workplace if notifications are reduced.
We’re all guilty of a little too much – since sitting to write this post, we’ve probably looked at our phone twice (thank you social media and email notifications) but in our digital world, though no digital contact is unavoidable, we can benefit from taking more breaks here and there.
The completion of tasks can be done in a shorter amount of time by placing our phones away, or muting notifications whilst in the middle of something, so we’re able to focus on the task at hand. This in turn can reduce stress levels as concentration is more focussed.
Commuting? We all love to scroll through social or listen to a bit of music or a podcast to while away the time, but how about reaching for a book a couple of days a week? By making a more conscious effort to take time out from our screens, we can reconnect with people, maybe learn something new and take a moment to appreciate our surroundings.
Ironically, there are apps to help you control your phone use. Mute, Space and Moment can track how often you unlock your phone and how much time you spend on it. Not only can you track your timings, but the push notifications remind you to take a break or congratulate you on hitting your goals. By raising awareness of the time spent on your phone, you can visualise how often you’re using it and take steps towards controlling any habits.
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