What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Kiss your spouse good morning? Have a good stretch? Marvel at the coming of a new day?
I check my phone.
In fact, I’m checking my phone even before I’ve fully opened my eyes, squinting at it and trying to focus. Oh, and I’m not just checking the time. I’m checking emails, and social media, the news and my workout for the morning. And this is before going to the bathroom. Hell, I know what’s been going on in the world while I slept before I even notice if my husband is out of bed.
My morning walk used to be my ‘disconnect’ time, the time I did my thinking for the day and enjoyed being in nature before resigning myself to a day of screen time. But lately I’m staring at my phone instead of the scenery. Big foot could stroll on past me in a Hawaiian shirt and pink Doc Marten’s and I wouldn’t see him for the work emails.
Worst of all, I’m starting to catch myself trying to maintain a conversation with my kids or husband while using my phone, staring intently at the screen rather than looking at them.
If any of this sounds like you, you might want to keep reading…
I’ve been reading about these digital detoxes where happy volunteers lock up all their tech gadgets for weeks and relish in getting back to basics. The experience, I’ve read, is ‘transformative’. Benefits include connecting with the people around you, making you more present, giving your brain a break from processing all that digital info, breaking that instant reward cycle from social media, increased attention span, better sleep, and just remember how to be human. Unfortunately, if I did an extended digital detox I would be transformed into someone without a business.
I just need to restore some digital/mechanical balance! So, I’ve set myself some rules to follow from now on… Wanna give it a go with me?
I will say good morning to all the people awake in the house before I check my phone. If I’m the only person awake, I will say good morning to the coffee machine. This means, I have to get out of bed before hitting the digital.
Toilet Not Tweeting
I will not take my phone into the bathroom. After all, the very best thinking is done on the toilet! Maybe I’ll come up with the idea that’ll make me a millionaire while on the toilet – what an inspirational thing to tell the grandkids.
No Browsing In Nature
This could apply to commutes or lunchtime strolls too. My morning walks will return to phone free so I can take in my surroundings and be inspired by nature’s own news feed.
Tech Free Interactions
This is a major one. Phone goes away during all offline social interactions, not on the table or in my hand, but completely out of sight. I will no longer try to continue a conversation while looking at my computer screen! (which, I know, is incredibly rude). Human connection is so much more important than Wi-Fi connection.
Eat, Don’t Instagram
My mobile shall not reach the table at meal times! Even if I am eating alone. I will focus on the food I am eating, rather than friend’s Instagram food snaps, and eat more mindfully as a result!
Kids Come First
The phone will stay on the kitchen counter when the kids are around. Any urgent work matters can be dealt with at the counter and left there. I don’t want to hear ‘Mum, what’s that game you’re always playing on your phone?’ ever again! (it’s not a game, they just think it must be for me to spend so much time with it!)
Single Channel Entertainment
Ok, this is a bit embarrassing but… I will no longer browse the internet while simultaneously watching a movie. Please tell me you do this too?! This just epitomising our modern culture of digital mass consumption and short attention span. It must stop!
My phone shall not be in the bedroom when I sleep. This way, I won’t be tempted to check it when I wake up, nor will I forget and check it anyway in the early morning haze.
So, who’s with me on this? Do you need a digital detox too? What are your digi-detox tips? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.