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5 Effective tips for a digital detox

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Moderation in all things ... including technology.

Maybe you were outraged by the recent Facebook data-mining revelations, or maybe you’re noticing ill-effects on your posture, mental health and relationships, or maybe you just want to use your time more productively – there are a whole host of reasons for taking a break from digital life. However, when screens become part of our daily routines, it can be difficult to break the cycle. Try these strategies to interrupt the dopamine loop and be more intentional in your tech use:

Start by picking just one day of the week to go screen-free

If that’s too much, try to reduce the number of times you look at your phone throughout the day by disabling notifications, unsubscribing from email lists, deleting unnecessary apps, or setting a “curfew” for your phone.

Relocate your devices

This could mean putting your phone, tablet, or laptop charger in the remotest corner of the house and storing the screen there most of the time.  This will help you avoid looking at a screen right before bed and first thing in the morning. You can also relocate your apps by reserving your home screen only for essential tools.

Make it as difficult as possible to use your devices

For your phone, try wrapping a hair band around the screen. You’ll still be able to answer an incoming call, but it will force you to be deliberate about accessing your apps. For TV, consider plugging the power cord into an outlet controlled by a wall switch, or draping the screen with a blanket. Adding a couple extra steps to turning on the TV will force you to ask yourself if you really want to binge-watch.

Fill the void

Have some activities ready for screen-free time: order a new book from the library; buy supplies for a craft project; join a club; pick out a new recipe to try; find a local park to explore; have coffee with a friend … the possibilities are endless.

Install an app to track (and/or block) your phone usage

RealizD, Moment, Freedom, and Thrive are just some examples. When I did this, I found I was wasting — truly wasting — hours of my life on social media. It was eating up my time but giving me no positive benefits in return. It took me a couple of months to work up the courage, but I finally quit Facebook and Instagram cold-turkey. I thought I would miss it, but I don’t! I’m getting so much more done with my days, and now I have time to do things that really feed my soul.

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