Did you know the average person spends nearly 11 hours a day connected to technology? Don’t think you’re one of those people? Think again! How did you find this post? Considering the fact that 80% of my traffic comes from social media, I can confidently say it’s likely you are one of those people.
Hey, so am I! I love Pinterest, and without Facebook I wouldn’t know what half of my friends and family even look like these days. And my Netflix list? Well, let’s just say I’ll never run out of programs to watch.
But as great as those things are, there’s a side of technology that’s destroying us. Our growing addiction is separating us from our loved ones, even when we’re sitting right next to them. We sleep less, we get less done, and we’re becoming an increasingly perfectionist society.Unplug from technology -- Reconnect with yourself as a person and with the world around you. #simpleliving #buildyourbestlife Click To Tweet
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Benefits of Unplugging from Technology
So many great things can happen when you turn off the tech… whether it’s for an hour, a day, or a weekend. Here are some of the biggest benefits I’ve seen:
Increase your productivity — Distractions are your biggest enemy when it comes to getting your work done. Every ding, beep, popup, and message notification sucks precious moments from your day.
Improve your personal connections — Turning off the tech helps you become a better communicator. I’m not saying you have to sit down and hand-write a 10-page letter to your distant cousin every week. I’m talking about spending REAL time with the people near you.
Jump-start your creativity — While stream-of-consciousness typing can unlock thoughts and get crap out of your head, you should also try mind-mapping on paper. Take it a step further and write some things by hand.
Get more sleep — If you’re like most people, you regularly stay up late watching “just one more” episode on Netflix, or doing “one last check” on social media. My completely unscientific observation is that when I set a time to turn off my phone and laptop (and yes, the television) and leave quiet space afterward, I go to bed about 60-90 minutes earlier and sleep better because my mind isn’t still processing everything I just looked at.
Finish what you start — With so much tech, we think we can do everything at once. But we can’t, and we shouldn’t.
Stop the comparison-itis — Nobody needs to constantly look at impossibly perfect photos of other people’s lives. Just like “reality” television, there’s likely very little of it that’s “real.” Save yourself the emotional stress and take a step back.
Expand your life satisfaction — It’s much easier to take time to start a happiness journal or list the things you’re thankful for at the end of the day.
Decrease the overwhelm — Turning off the tech takes so many things off your “I feel like I should be doing” list. It gives you mental space to center your thoughts and become mindful of what’s really important.
How to Begin Unplugging
1 Decide your goal. Total detox? Social media only? Television only? No-tech weekends? Family game night once or twice a week? It’s okay to start small, like turning off tech an hour before bedtime.
2 Once you know your goal, make the commitment. Consider getting the entire family on board. This may be easier said than done, but it IS possible since you are the adult with control of the modem/router and cell phones. However, it’s not absolutely necessary to have everyone involved. Taking care of yourself first — doing a personal detox — is absolutely fine.
3 Set the rules. Put them in writing!
4 Let people know your boundaries. Are you unavailable by email and messaging every night? Tell people. Do you go offline one day a week, or every weekend? Make your schedule known, so people don’t worry or get upset. The clearer you are with your message, and the stronger you hold to your decision, the sooner others will learn to cope.
5 Take social media and email apps off your phone. Sound drastic? Just give it a try. You can always install them again if your life seems that much worse without them. (But I’m betting it won’t!)
6 Make plans for your no-tech time. Know what you will do with your time and hands. Idle hands itch to grab a phone.
What Can You Do While You’re Unplugged?
2 Meet a friend for dinner (no phones, no selfies, and no restaurants with televisions)
3 Read a book
4 Take a walk or sit outside and actually LOOK at things
6 Talk to your family
7 Sit with your thoughts (it’s more difficult than you think, but very rewarding)
Part of the problem with our growing tech addiction is the inability to cope with ANY downtime. Instead of pulling out your phone the next time you’re waiting in line or for an appointment — or heading to the bathroom (come on, admit it) — leave the phone alone. Turn it off if you need to.
Reconnect with yourself as a person and with the world around you. Realize it’s okay to do “nothing” at times. Constantly waiting for that next notification on your phone or trying to keep up with what’s happening on a dozen open internet tabs is no way to spend your life.
When you realize that unplugging from technology actually allows you to do MORE with your life, it gets easier to turn everything off just a little earlier every day. Give it a try, and enjoy the results as you work to Build Your Best Life!
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