By now I’m sure you’re aware that all this social media and attachment to technology isn’t good for us. You know that you don’t need your phone in bed, in the washroom, in your hand when in a 3 minute line up. You know you don’t need 3 – 10 screens of apps, and a desktop piled with files and folders.
You know that all that mindless scrolling is a waste of time, you know you will live if your heaven forbid ‘bored’ for 10 minutes. You know you don’t need the 24 – 7 connections to the digital world and everyone who demands their 30 seconds of your time.
But here’s the thing…
You’re still doing it!
Now I could go into the studies. The studies on depression. The studies on anxiety. The studies on lack of passion. The studies on wasted hours. The lost potentials. The studies on the way we compare ourselves to FB friends, strangers, and IG or YouTube “stars”. But I’m not going to. You know them. You know it’s a shit situation. You just have ignored it. You haven’t let it register yet. You’ve heard it but you don’t HEAR it. So, I cant help you much if this is where you are at…
Hopefully however I’m wrong.
Maybe you have heard it. Maybe you do grasp the issues. Maybe you do understand the ills that our digital clutter and digital addiction is causing. But maybe you just don’t know where to start to digital detox, where to begin to take your time and life back.
This is where I can help you.
Below I have listed my top 7 ways to start to digital detox and digital declutter your life starting right now. And at the end, I also have added a 1 month lifestyle challenge for you. And I will tell you this, if you can't do this challenge, you have a problem. If the idea of this challenge causes you anxiety, then you have an even bigger problem. But let’s get to that challenge in a bit.
1. Silent the distractions
About 15 years ago there was pretty much 3 ways to get a hold of us; snail mail, on the phone, and sticking your head out a window yelling at you. Now we have literally dozens of apps that people can message us on. Messenger, IG, WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, SMS, and if you travel a lot, you probably have regional popular apps like Line, WeChat, or Viber, and I’m sure many more I don’t know about.
Own a business? You probably get DM's from your business pages too.
Then you may have social dating apps; Tinder, Tantan, POF, Badoo, and whatever else the cool kids are using.
Or maybe it’s a YouTube subscription ping saying “hey check out this new Avengers spoiler video right now!!!! You may miss something that really has no real bearing on your life” (and yes, I’m a huge comic movie fan).
Well these all have one thing in common, they love to call to you. They love to get your attention, and demand you to respond right away. They distract you. They get in the way.
How many times are you speaking to a real live person, face to face, and that little ding pulls you away? Even writing this blog, I could get at least 2 – 5 dings in the hour it takes me to write this. TURN THEM OFF. It’s ok. They can wait. If it’s an emergency, they can call you. On your iPhone you can also set up a Do Not Disturb option where only important CALLS will come through. If your house is burning down, I promise you are not going to get a text saying “hey man, house is on fire”. They will call you, I swear they will. Ask yourself “why do I feel the need to get these messages so fast”. Is it cause it makes you feel important? Well you’re not that important. Sorry. Does it make you feel ‘busy’? Then get busy for real. Is it because you feel you need to respond right away to not be rude? It’s not rude, it’s life. They can wait.
2. Organize phone apps into folders
One of the easiest ways to start to open apps less is by simply placing them into a folder. Even that 1 extra step will dramatically decrease your app opening. This is particularly true if you’re actively trying to decrease it. The habit of having the app open with just one touch is hard to break, but if you place the app into a folder, and then even slide that folder onto a new screen, you will catch yourself before you open it. Trust me it helps.
3. Delete apps on your phone that you can use on your computer or you don’t use
Facebook is a great example of this. Facebook was originally a desktop program that became an app, so the interface is better on a computer, and can be done on there. Apps like IG were born on the phone. So start with the apps that are computer based, and get them off your phone. I have found this helps to cut down on at least facebook as you access your computer a lot less.
The other thing you can do is delete all apps that you really don’t need. I am not even an app person, and I deleted 3 just this week.
4. Organize the desktop clutter
Is your laptop screen an ocean of files? Screen clutter has the same anxiety promoting issues as physical clutter on your desk or home. Try to start to organize files within folders, and even batch folders into folders. Try to get that desktop screen clean and tidy, just like your phone.
5. Delete Email Clutter
For this step I have 2 suggestions. The first on is to organize and delete emails. You must know someone, maybe yourself who opens their email and it says something like 1,750 emails! Really, you need to keep over seventeen hundred emails? No you don’t. Almost every 2 weeks I go through all dead emails (conversations that are over) and delete them. I think my inbox has 24 messages right now.
Second, organize older important emails into folders. I have a folder for receipts, travel details, and other important categories, maybe Important Conversations that you may need again, or proof of conversation. Just take the time you need to organize your emails, and you may actually not mind opening your emails.
6. Create a Spam and Club List Email Folder
By now everyone has an email offer, newsletter, update email etc. well why have those arrive in your personal inbox? That should be for personal and maybe work emails. This simple solution is just making a new junk email. I have one, and I only check it if I’m in the mood, so if I see a notification of say 5 new emails, I know its just email list stuff. And there’s no pressing reason to open it. I literally named this email “junk’ even though I do often sign up for semi interesting email lists, downloading a free PDF book, or webinar, etc.
7. Finally, you can just GO WITHOUT YOUR PHONE FOR AWHILE
Like I said at the beginning, it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have smartphones, and IG and SMS and WhatsApp and Facebook. Try turning off your phone, and leaving it at home. Which now brings me to my challenge…
HBD Blog Challenge – It’s D Day
Starting this week, choose 1 day a week where you turn off the phone, iPad, laptop, and whatever other technology that demands active interaction. Just turn it off. Done and done. If you feel then need, post a status update a few days ahead telling everyone you’re beginning a regular weekly Digital Detox Day. Now here is the key – make sure you have something to do that day. Plan an outing (with an old digital camera if you want pics), have a book, or a project. Have someone to do something with. Don’t just sit there getting bored, and turning back to your phone. Try this for 1 month. That’s only 4 days from 30. You can do it.
There you go. 7 simple ways to start to digital detox and declutter your life starting today. #digitaldetox #digidetox #nophone #fengshui #digitalfengshui #disconnect #connect #disconnecttoreconnect #healthbydesign