Breaking Away From Your Toxic Relationship With Your Phone. How do You Take a Digital Detox?

Unhealthy relationships? We’ve all been there – ones that include obsession, clinginess and dependency. But did you notice that this kind of obsession sounds just a bit too much like how you feel about your mobile phone?

According to statistics, we spend, on average 2 hours and 41 minutes on our smartphones. The average user will tap, swipe or click their phone 2,617 times a day. Does this sound like you? Are you looking at your phone right now?

A digital detox?

Google defines a digital detox as “a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.” A whopping 58% of smartphone users have attempted to limit their usage, but only 41% feel successful. Can you take on the challenge?

But what about work?

Work can play a huge part in people’s inability to unplug, particularly in today’s ever-growing international environment. If you work for a large global company, it’s likely your phone will be receiving emails 24/7, and there’s a level of expectation that you should respond.  This pressure can really build up and make it incredibly hard to switch off, but we all need downtime. So what can you do?

  1. Establish boundaries – before a holiday tell your manager that your holiday is going to be pretty busy and you won’t be contactable while you’re away.  Make sure you put an out of office on your emails referring people to a colleague who can help in your absence.
  2. Get a separate work phone – if social media is what you want to detach yourself from but you need your phone for work, get a separate work phone. That means you can still be in touch with colleagues whilst detaching yourself from apps and personal messages.

Now you’ve set healthy work boundaries with your phone, it’s time to focus on cutting down your personal usage. Follow these simple steps to a more healthy relationship with your phone!

  1. Find alternatives: Worried that you’ll be bored on the commute if you don’t have your phone in your hand?  Try a good old-fashioned book or paper!
  2. Uninstall useless apps: Remove any apps that you haven’t used in the past month. This will help you avoid browsing through these apps, purely because you are bored.
  3. Turn off push notifications: Did you know that 22% of people check their phone every few minutes? And that 51% check it a few times an hour? If you switch off your push notifications, that enticing glow from your screen won’t be able to lure you away from what you’re supposed to be doing.
  4. Turn off all sounds: And yes, this includes vibrations. If that little glow isn’t enough to turn your head, a ding or harsh vibration from the desk sure is.
  5. Set your phone to airplane mode: 35% of smartphone users check their phone within 5 minutes of waking or going to sleep. Want to overcome this? Switch on airplane mode at least an hour before bed and don’t switch it off until you have completed your morning routine the following day.
  6. Set tech-free time: The vast majority of smartphone users have their phone with them for 22 hours a day. We tend to feel like something is missing when our phone isn’t in view. You can break this obsession by designating time away from your phone – such as whilst you’re eating lunch or once you get home from work.
  7. Don’t look at your phone when you’re interacting with others: Are you part of the 86% of smartphone users that check their phone whilst speaking with friends and family? Stopping yourself from doing this will help you be more engaged in your interaction with others.
  8. Limit yourself to one screen: Hands up if you’re guilty of watching Netflix whilst simultaneously scrolling through your Instagram. Cut this out. You only need one piece of technology at a time. Either switch to watching something that grabs your attention more or put your phone in another room.

And just like those unfortunate toxic relationships – at first it will be really difficult, but after you overcome your fear of being alone, you will feel a million times better!