For many of us, we are always 100% connected, plugged in, or focused on some sort of technology based input. This is not healthy. Tech detoxes are becoming the thing to do, so I recently tried one myself.
Here are my tips on how to have a successful tech detox:
1) Admit there isn’t a perfect time to be unplugged.
“One last email.”, “After this iteration.”, “After this meeting.”, “Next week.”, “When we ship.” … the list of excuses go on and on. Acknowledge that the “perfect” time to unplug will never exist, embrace this fact, and just do it.
2) Go to a place that is still connected.
Sure going out to the remote forest makes it easy to disconnect, when you don’t have any cell service or electricity. Having the discipline to not use the WiFi in your hotel room, not turn on the television, not go into a restaurant that has TVs, or sit in a coffee shop with others using their laptops and phones, is proof you’ll be able to “unplug” when you return to the real world.
3) Wear a watch.
Since your phone isn’t on, you won’t know the time or where you need to be and when. Good luck finding a wall clock. (I suppose that you could just ask strangers for the time.)
4) Carry a camera.
Because you are disconnected and noticing so much more in the world around you, you’ll definitely want to snap a photo or two of the things you discover. (There is a reason this blog post doesn’t contain any photos.)
5) Determine where a phone is located and how to be reached in an emergency.
My hotel room didn’t have a phone. See the problem?
6) Carry a paper map.
Yes, it is possible to navigate without the use of Google Maps. An even better idea, is to go to a place that is so small that you don’t need a map.
7) Only detox yourself from one thing at a time.
Don’t cut out tech, coffee, sugar, meat or any other vices all at once. This is about you getting comfortable with being disconnected, not ensuring that you go crazy.
8) Replace your urge to be connected with something else.
I had a 90 minute massage and instinctively reached for my phone right afterwards. Thank goodness, I left it in the hotel room. Since I was in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, every time I had the urge to “be connected”,I took a nice soak in a mineral bath instead.
In conclusion my 34 hour experiment was a success. I was able to prove that I could be disconnected from the world and things didn’t fall apart. I feel confident that I can now disconnect for a few hours each week to let my mind rest from the constant inputs of the world.