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3 Lessons From My Digital Detox

Esc_key_(14562099538)Some of you may have noticed I dropped off the face of the planet the last two weeks.

And I kind of did.

I didn’t open my laptop once.

I didn’t browse the internet. I didn’t respond to emails. I didn’t watch TV or get distracted by Facebook.

This was not self-imposed. I was on a cruise with my family, and rather than pay for internet on the ship I only used my smartphone when I hit a Wifi spot on land—and this was only to arrange a switch over at the my apartment. (Using AirBnB I made around $500 while I was holiday).

All this lack of technology was a surprisingly liberating experience.

Here are some lessons I learned and some by action you can take to benefit from them.

  1. Your Stress Levels Plummet

    I didn’t even know I was stressed. But without a phone and the internet, you quickly discover you wake up with a very different mentality. How many of you open your eyes and almost instantly check your emails and social media? Perhaps you also like to read an article or two during your morning coffee. It seems normal, but when you think about it all things do is cause stress.

    On a internet detox it’s different.

    Instead of prioritizing your message replies, your biggest worry is what to have for lunch.

    Instead of getting worked up about the news or some blog post, you look forward to relaxing with a good book.

    Take Action
    Limit  internet usage and don’t be so urgent replying to emails and messages. People can wait.

    I’ve already sent up my email with an autoresponder informing people I only reply to emails once a week. I’ve also turned off non-essential notifications on my phone, and only check all that crap once a day. These are some good steps to begin. You’ll already find yourself a less stressed. I even find turning my phone on airplane mode during the morning or during work strangely relaxing.

  2. You Have Little Tolerance For Smartphones

    “I don’t understand it,” said an American girlfriend down at my local pub, pointing at a dozen youngsters in their late teens/early twenties. We were visiting my home town in Ireland.

    “What?” I asked.

    “Nobody has taken out their phones all night. Not one selfie or text. In New York that would never happen. They’re actually…socializing.”

    And she’s right. I’ve seen it first-hand living in the States. Social interactions in America have been destroyed by smartphones, and the trend is spreading worldwide.

    Even though my own family interact more than most, internet addiction still limits our communication. Normally, if it were during the day and my siblings and I were in the same room, we’d all be on laptops, watching TV, or on our smartphones. On the cruise, however, we were interacting all the time—playing cards, sports, or having a cheeky midday pint. We laughed, chatted, and nobody missed the internet one bit.

    Take Action
    When you and your friends or family meet up for drink or dinner, make a rule: Everybody must put their phones in the middle of the table, and the first one to crack and check their phone has to buy the table a round. Make it into a game.

    You can also do this on a date, or simply insist she put her phone on airplane mode. If she’s making plans for later and insists she needs to use it, give her a three strike rule.

  3. You Become More Present

    We live in an age where most of the population have developed ADD.

    Much like a porn addict’s constant search for novelty, most people can’t even watch TV without being simultaneously thumb tickled by the internet.

    How many of you have been out chatting with friends and then—wait hang on, I got a Tinder match…let me just quickly look at her pictures…would bang…I’ll message her later—sorry, what was I saying?

    Anyway, how many of people have stood soaking in the glorious wonders of mother nature and then—hold up a sec…gotta take a quick selfie…I’ll put an Instagram filter on that later…it’s going be a boss profiler—anyway, back to being in the moment.

    You get my point.

    Take Action
    Stop taking pictures and breath it in. There is no point in taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower when it’s been done a billion times. If people can google it, there’s no point. I understand the occasional need to take a pic of you doing something cool, but don’t make a habit of it.

    Turn off your phone any chance you can.

Have any you taken a digital detox?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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7 Responses to 3 Lessons From My Digital Detox

  1. elmer t. jones June 2, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

    I have been struggling with it and my addiction is minor compared to many. I added ColdTurkey on my PC to block out distracting websites. Still reading some news/opinion blogs and that has got to stop. I can’t even remember each new day what the big outrages were from the day before.

    Have been reading more books and working my business ideas though. A useful one in particular was “Trust Me, I’m Lying” by Ryan Holiday, which details the operation and tactics of the click-bait internet. Another is “Virtually You” by Elias Aboujaoude describing the problems caused by interent habits.

    30 years ago before the internet I read a book called “Breathing Space” which made the case for ignoring all news and getting rid of your information clutter. Then the internet came along. Trying to shut it out while using it to make a living. A real challenge.

  2. cliff June 4, 2016 at 4:48 am #

    I’ve done digital detox but discovered that having too much free time to think is not necessarily a good thing, especially if it leads one to ruminate about the past. OTOH, using that free time to socialize is great.

    I concluded the problem was not the internet or smart phone, but social media. I’ve pretty much given it up, and agree it’s quite liberating. I frequently look at my smart phone, but it’s to check the time or jot down some notes.

    Here in Taiwan I’ve noticed it’s mostly under 25’s who are constantly sharing their lives through their phones, older people much less so, at least when they are spending time with others. Curious if it’s similar in Western countries.

    I don’t know if I could date another iphone girl here, they can’t go 2 minutes without tapping something on their phone, have to take pictures of everything, and panic if their battery levels are low. I like your idea about insisting on airplane mode, but I have my doubts if they could actually stand it!

  3. Vince June 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    You’ve seen most of the Planet-Isn’t the truth that America is totally messed up?

    • Mark Zolo June 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

      Yes. Completely.

  4. splooge June 6, 2016 at 6:11 am #

    500$ while on vacation? dam luck of the irish or ur site?

    • Mark Zolo June 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm #



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