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7-Day Digital Detox Challenge That Will Transform Your Life

7-Day Digital Detox Challenge That Will Transform Your Life

You’re stressed. You’re constantly feeling the pull of your phone — to check notifications, email friends, even tweet about the latest world event. You feel the need to stay on top of everything. And you’re still trying to live your life.

But are you happy?

If not, you might need to look into a digital detox. A digital detox, in the words of the people over at Forbes, is simply removing all digital and smartphone devices for your life for a while. It enables you to spend time focusing on what might actually make you happy and will help you get some rest.

It’s about getting you to learn you can live without your phone. So let’s get started.

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Day 1 – Download a Phone Usage App and Limit Yourself to Two Hours a Day

If you’ve never heard of a phone usage app, don’t worry, it’s not tricky. It’s just an app that tracks how much you use your phone and shows you how much you actually use it. It can also help you try to lower the time you spend on the phone.

For today, just try to limit your phone usage to two hours a day total. That means emails, Twitter, Facebook and everything else. It’s not as hard as you think, so go for it.

Day 2 – Don’t Take Your Phone Out While Walking

You do it, I do it, we all do it. We take our phones out while we’re walking. For this day, try to keep your phone in your pocket or bag. Not only will you find yourself actually paying attention to where you are, you’ll probably notice a few cool things about your surroundings.

Day 3 – Don’t Take Your Phone Out at Social Gatherings

Do you know what the Google Effect is? It’s the term used for our society’s growing answer to any question, which is Googling the question, and we often do it in social gatherings. Not only is the Google Effect making our own memories worse, it’s also detracting from face-to-face conversations.

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So today, just for today, don’t take your phone out when you’re with friends. Pretend like it’s 1998 and there’s no such thing as Google. Enjoy being with your friends. After a while, you won’t miss it.

Day 4 – Don’t Use Your Phone After 9 pm

Take today and pamper yourself after 9 pm. Run a hot bath, watch a movie or read a book. Take that time you’d normally spend catching up on the day’s news and spend it on taking care of yourself. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

Day 5 – Turn Off Notifications

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of notifications. It instills this idea of urgency within me that I can’t shake. So I’ll join you in turning off notifications today.

This might be hard for you but trust in the process. Your notifications are going to make you feel like the digital world is more important than the real world, and it’s not. Hang in there, your week is nearly over.

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Day 6 – Don’t Use Your Phone While You’re Alone

Do you remember when you were a kid and you were bored so you made up your own fun? Let’s go back to that feeling, just for today. Don’t use your phone at all today when you’re alone.

You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ve actually got when you’re not on your phone. You can cook or write that short story or even actually go on a nice, relaxing walk.

Day 7 – Don’t Charge Your Phone for a Few Days

Today will be the hardest day, but I’m right here with you. I’ve done this and I can tell you it’s not as painful as it sounds. Are you ready?

A few days of not charging your phone is going to feel like a breath of fresh air. I recommend doing this but completely recharging with a short staycation or a holiday. Once you come back to your phone, you’ll be refreshed and relaxed, so enjoy the time you have without it.

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If you need help finding a phone usage tracker, this is a good place to start. I’d recommend keeping the app after you’re done with your digital detox. It’ll be a helpful tool to keep you on track to using your phone less and living life more.

Did you like this 7-day detox challenge? We developed it on the same basis of this article, which showed us how a little effort each day can lead to amazing results. Share it with your friends and let us know how your detox went!

Featured photo credit: Coastal landscape with a boat ramp, rocks and a moody sky via stokpic.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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