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Need A Digital Detox? 10 Ways To Switch Off

Need A Digital Detox? 10 Ways To Switch Off

Considering most of us depend on our smart phones to wake us up in the morning, tell us the weather, and direct us to our next destination, having a digital or gadget free day (or hour) is no easy challenge. Technology has made life a lot more interconnected and convenient; however, it has also compelled its users (us) to feel a need to be switched on 24/7. Having to keep up with endless notifications coming from 10 different social media platforms can be stressful and exhausting. Let’s not even get started on emails.

If you struggle to break up with your phone for even two minutes, maybe it’s time to take action and treat yourself to a digital detox. Even if it’s just one hour a day, it can make a world of difference to your well-being and sanity.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 ways to unplug and switch off. The goal is to be more productive and do more of what you love, minus the reliance and addiction to technology.

Be Ruthless With Your Smart Phone Notifications

Guilty of checking your phone every time someone mentions you on Facebook or tags you in a photo on Instagram? If self control is an issue here, do something drastic once and for all. Dedicate time slots throughout the day (or on weekends), where you turn of all incoming data notifications. Instead of spending your days with your head down, scrolling through feeds and feeds of information, why not fit in some quality face-to-face time to catch up with friends, family, or your significant other? If something’s urgent, people can still reach you by calling you. Don’t worry, your Facebook messages and Instagram tags aren’t going anywhere.

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Do a Digital Cull

Bite the bullet and delete all of the apps that you never use on your phone (or hardly ever use), as well as any unnecessary social media platforms. Unsubscribe from newsletters you’ve subscribed to, but usually delete before opening – they’re just adding to your digital clutter and causing unneeded stress.

Unroll.Me is a fantastic website to use for digital culling. Sign up to see a list of all your subscription emails – then unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want with one simple click. Too easy.

Indulge in a ‘Wellcation’

Holidays are meant to be relaxing, but when you’re constantly on your phone Instagramming every perfect shot you can get and Snapchatting as you walk, it’s easy to get lost in the virtual world and forget to appreciate the moment by simply ‘being there’. If you’re ready for a break where you can unplug and de-stress, treat yourself to a ‘wellcation’ on your next getaway.

Book a flight to Fiji or any other island paradise where you can escape from the digital world, be out of range, and reconnect with nature. You will be so busy snorkeling, swinging on hammocks, getting massages, and drinking fresh coconuts by the pool, that your emails will be the last thing on your mind. If you need some extra help, the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa offers an Ultimate Business Break package where guests are able to surrender their devices to their personal butler.

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Get Smart with Emails

As most people would agree, emails can be the bane of one’s existence. Sure, it’s necessary, but it’s also a major time suck. Thanks to technology, we’re constantly ‘at work’, checking emails as soon as we wake up, when we’re on the go, on holidays, and even during meal times.

If all of the above sounds like you, it’s time to manage your emails, rather than letting your emails manage you. Set up an efficient email system where you only read your emails at set times during the day. You can also turn off all email notifications after hours and on weekends. Craft up response templates for generic or common emails to save time, and don’t be shy about setting out-of-office emails to set expectations.

Establish Some Social Rules

Ensure to practice digital etiquette when you are in company, including when you are on dates or simply having drinks with friends. This means turning your phone on silent or keeping your phone in your bag and focusing on the conversation. To make it fun, play ‘Phone Stack’, which is a game that takes place with a group of friends over a meal. Everyone must give up their phones and place them in the middle of the table. The goal is to see who can last the longest without their phone. Whoever caves first must suffer the consequences and pay the bill. Digital detoxes are easier when friends and money are involved!

Schedule Screen-Free Time

Everyday, allocate time slots in your calendar for non-negotiable screen-free time. When it’s written in your calendar you are more likely to commit to the time you have set aside and promised yourself. Treat it with the same importance as you would with a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment. Utilize this time to do whatever you wish that’s tech-free.

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Screen-free time can be as simple as reading a book in the garden for the afternoon or going out for a walk. Think of it as quality ‘me time’ or ‘down time’ – you just may be surprsied how much better you’ll feel aftwards.

Substitute Your Screens

In today’s digital world, we use our tablets to read a book and our laptops to watch movies on Netflix. Substitute these screens by visiting a book shop or organizing a night out during the week with your friends to see a movie at the cinema. You can essentially still have your fun but with less screens involved and more opportunities to interact with others.

Similarly, if at work, instead of hosting meetings or brainstorm sessions whereby everyone’s attached to their laptop screens, organize a stand up or outdoors meeting instead. Getting up and about with some fresh air can help introduce clarity of thought, resulting in more productive meetings and pleasant experiences.

Reorganize Your Bedroom

Creating a digital free sanctuary in your home is a great way to de-stress from your busy lifestyle. Your bedroom should be the ultimate zone to unplug and switch off after a long busy day. For this to work, set some ground rules. Remove all screens from your bedroom. The TV can stay in the living room, but your laptop or tablet should be out of sight. The same goes for your phone, where you can use an actual clock instead for your alarm. Invest in a comfortable bed, as well as some quality sheets and pillows. Introduce candles into the space and diffuse some essential oils every night. Do whatever it takes to design an environment that’s comfortable and relaxing – no gadgets involved.

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Find a New Hobby

If you normally fill your spare time with screen time, then you may need to seek out some new activities and hobbies to fill the digital void. Write a list of all the activities or side projects you’ve been meaning to do but never seem to have the time for, and start ticking them off one by one. Whether it’s trying out Pilates and Yoga, or taking up knitting or pottery class, now’s the time to do it. Opt for activities that don’t require access to technology and ask a friend to join you for added motivation.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you still need help, download the Big Red Stop on Google Play, a free digital detox app for your iPhone. If you feel like going offline for a while, all you need to do is press the big red ‘Stop’ button in the app which will let anyone who messages you know that you are taking a break and when you will be back online. Yes, it’s ironic that you’re leveraging technology to detach yourself from being switched on; but, hey, whatever works right?

Conclusion

A digital detox is all about the power of now and being present in the moment. So, next time you sit down to enjoy a sunset or get up to dance at a music gig, instead of getting your phone out to take the perfect shot, leave it in your pocket and simply enjoy the experience.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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