These days, most of us are tethered to our devices. Whether for work or play, we’re constantly checking our email and social media accounts. We use them as a way to connect on a multitude of levels.
But despite being more “connected” than ever, our devices also make us disconnected—from the task at hand, from being in the present moment, from those physically around us.
From my own experience, there have been times when I’ve gotten distracted from my work by a Facebook notification. I’d allow myself a quick minute to check out what was shared, and before I realized, 30 minutes had disappeared with nothing really being accomplished. It can be even worse if I have:
- Facebook open;
- Skype running;
- multiple email programs signed into and sending notifications; and
- text messages pinging.
All of these pings and dings get pushed to my desktop computer, laptop, tablet, phone, and even my watch.
It’s not easy to escape!
Whether I’m forced to unplug when it’s time to sleep, or I intentionally want to be “left alone” virtually, I’m still connected. My phone still vibrates away on my nightstand when my buddies start a late-night Facebook group chat. And if I were to risk turning my phone off completely, I’d feel paranoid that I might miss something important.
What if there was an emergency? How would anyone get in touch with me to let me know if I turn everything off?
Smartphones have intrinsically meshed our “phones” with our computers, and it’s hard to separate the two.
We have become slaves to our devices, so much so that some people are bravely saying “enough is enough.” They are pulling the plug—for the short or long term—and voluntarily going through a digital detox! More and more, I’m starting to think there is a lot of merit in this idea.
I want to be able to focus. I want to have a conversation with a person who is sitting across from me, and I want to have that conversation without digital interruptions. Maybe it’s time to silence the cacophony of pings and dings. And while I know I probably can’t do it for good, I bet I could do it for a little while, and I bet I’d love it, too.
What about you? Do you believe there is value in digitally detoxing? Do you sometimes find all the pings and dings to be a nuisance? What ideas do you have for giving a digital detox a try?
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Amen!! Thanks Amanda. I really needed to hear that. I’m actually going to give it a go.
Hi, Billy! Exciting! I found a site I think will be a rich source for detoxing ideas: http://digitaldetox.org/. They even have getaways! Doesn’t that sound fun?!
Great reminder, Amanda! I’ve taken to turning off all notification programs on my phone and computer. And when I am truly working on a project, I close all tabs not related to the project. It truly does help you to focus and get so much more done in a shorter period of time. At night, the only people I need to hear from once in bed are family members – and only for emergencies! They all know to call. I don’t turn off the ringer – but all else gets turned off. Trust that world will go on if you don’t know what is going on each and every minute. Just schedule time into your day for email and social media. It really works!
Those are some great tips, Diane! I was thinking of doing something like that as well—turning off my wi-fi connection at night and only leaving the cell connection. But then my notifications would still come through; they would just use the cell connection to do so. I’m sure there is a Do Not Disturb feature on my phone where I can set the hours in which I don’t want to receive notifications. That feature could be just what I need for nighttime, as well as during the daytime when I want to be able to focus.