If you’re reading this post, I’m already about 98% sure that you probably need to go on a digital detox! No shade. Just keeping it real sista!
The truth is that we live in a tech-obsessed world that has absolutely, positively no chill. According to research from USC Annenberg, the average American spends nearly 24 hours per week online. That’s a whole damn day and a heck of a lot of screentime.
A few more mind-numbing stats about our digital lives include:
- Since 2000, time spent online every week by an average American has risen from 9.4 hours to 23.6.
- Of that, time spent ogling the internet at home has risen from 3.3 to 17.6 hours a week over the same period.
- The proportion of people accessing the internet from mobile devices has risen from 23 percent in 2010 to 84 percent now.
- Smartphone e-mail use jumped from 21 to 79 percent.
- Music streaming on phones soared from 13 to 67 percent.
From your work life to your home life, it has become nearly impossible to escape technology.
From streaming music and movies to phone apps to social media platforms, daily life can quickly become so inundated with technology that you sort of start to lose your grip on real life priorities.
I’m not just jabbing my jaws, I’m speaking from first-hand experience. As a digital marketing professional, my days are spent optimizing website content, building digital products, creating social media posts, strategizing about how to drive more website traffic, and more.
And my nights? You guessed it! More tech–Netflix binge-watching, browsing multiple social media accounts, and obsessively checking my email accounts.
For me, my tech-obsession results in far less human to human interaction. The older I get, the more bothered I become by this undeniable fact.
The more tech we have access to, the more disconnected we seem to get on some basic human to human interaction level.
And no, I’m not anti-tech or anti-social media–if that was the case I wouldn’t even be writing this blog post, right? But I do now recognize the importance of taking a digital timeout every now and then.
That’s why I’m a big believer in taking an occasional digital detox! One of the biggest benefits of taking a digital detox is that it allows you time to create some healthy boundaries around your digital consumption. You can actually take a big step back and get a better understanding
Here are 8 revealing signs that you might need a digital detox:
1. You panic when you can’t find your phone
We’ve all been there. Digging through your purse like a mad woman praying that your phone is there and sitting on the counter at the shop you just left. Your phone has become an extension of yourself. You physically experience discomfort and anxiety when you are separated from your phone. This is also known as nomophobia–Yes, it happens so often that scientists gave it a name!
2. You obsessively check your email accounts
Like the statistic says above, checking email from our smartphones has increased by a drastic 60% in recent years. At one point, I found myself checking 5 different email accounts (personal and business) at least 2-3 times per hour. It was insane, but I couldn’t help myself.
3. You obsessively check your social media accounts for followers, likes, and comments
4. You bring your phone to the dinner table and spend more time looking at it than talking to your dinner mates
This used to be a big one for me. I didn’t really recognize it until I moved to Montreal and noticed while out at restaurants that people were not sitting there checking their phones. Instead, they were engaged in meaningful conversations with the people that they were eating with.
5. You feel jealousy or envy when looking at photos of friends (or strangers)
It’s called social media envy. It’s real and it feels terrible. I am always surprised when I find myself feeling jealous while browsing other people’s social media pages. It baffles me that despite the fact that I consider myself a cheerleader for other people and their successes, I can still feel the pang of comparison. This comparison is toxic to my creativity and well-being.
6. You much prefer to text, rather than talk by phone or in person
7. You stare at your phone while in bed
Again, this goes back to your phone becoming an extension or yourself. If the first thing you do when you wake up is to immediately reach for your phone, this is a red flag. Also, if you’re laying in bed staring at your phone instead of paying attention to your partner or spouse (I’m totally guilty of this), your phone could be ruining your relationship.
8. You’re so busy taking photos or videos that you fail to experience life in real time
I recently went to a concert and was taken aback by the sea of bright phone screens recording the moment. Instead of actually taking in the visualization with their eyes and ears and being in the moment, so many people were far more concerned with capturing a video to post online or even live streaming it. They were missing the best part of just being there.
So, what can you do if you have any of the above digital detox signs?
My suggestion is to start a lite version of a digital detox. You don’t have to go completely cold turkey on all your tech and devices in order to make an impact.
Try picking one social media account and refraining from logging in for 2-3 days.
Or set a rule of no social media before 10 am or after 9 pm.
Or if you can, try checking your email once in the morning and once in the late afternoon (as opposed to every hour–preaching to myself here).
The point is that the journey of 1000 miles always begins with a single step. Reclaim your time by recognizing the signs that you need a digital timeout and giving yourself a chance to unplug and be more intentional with your time.
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