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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.