You know how it goes: you’re in the middle of doing something semi important on your laptop, like ordering a new part for your broken hoover. You get an email notification or an Instagram tag, and two hours later you finally remember the errand you were in the middle of. If you regularly find yourself getting lost in TikTok rabbit holes or replying to emails at 2am, it might be time for a digital detox.
If you always said you’d do a digital detox one day, but haven’t quite got around to it, you’re by no means the only one. Tech companies program our apps and devices to be as enticing as possible – new message notifications are red because our brains respond the most to that colour, and relentless ‘pings’ and vibrations mean we’ve practically got to sit on our hands to stop ourselves from reaching for our phones. With the New Year approaching, it’s the perfect time for a reset in the form of some time away from our phones and laptops. Not convinced? Here’s why you should digitally detox over Christmas.
It boosts creativity
There’s no doubt that our smartphones allow us to do great things, like communicate with clients across the world, work collaboratively using programs like Miro or Mural, and access information with a tap of the screen. The downside, however, is that we rarely have down-time in which we’re not being bombarded with messages, videos and content. Or, as this article so neatly puts it, “digital distractions rob us of the opportunity to think.” This has negative implications for our ability to generate new and exciting ideas, which, when we take time to be still, are plentiful.
Time away from screens allows our brains to make links they otherwise wouldn’t make, because we have the time and energy to process the information we absorb during the day. Our braids then get to work coming up with solutions to our creative problems. “When we actually allow rest and space, the creativity begins to flow again,” explains audacity coach Keri Jarvis. “Have a dedicated notebook ready to capture your reflections as they come, so you know they won’t be lost. There can be a sense that we are getting behind if we let ideas pile up without action, but instead, we can relish the fact that we’re resourcing our future selves.”
It helps you avoid burnout
Burnout is sadly a common occurrence, and small business owners are particularly at risk. We tend to be glued to our phones, and our clients contact us at all hours of the day, via email, Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Instagram. Exhausted yet?! So are we. Taking time away from your phone – and most importantly, your messaging apps! – helps you properly relax without worrying that there’s a work crisis on the horizon. Now is a good time to remember that as important as our work might be, it’s never a matter of life or death. We tend to be plugged in from the moment we open our eyes, to the minute we go to sleep: our phones entertain us at the gym, while cooking, on public transport, and lying in bed. Do your mind a favour and swap out your phone for a book, or even just a moment of stillness.
“Rest is a part of work – not what you do when you’ve ‘finished’ work, or feel like you’ve earned it” says Hannah Thompson, founder of Breathe like a Badass. She’s also the author of a book about busting burnout, one breath at a time, so she knows what she’s talking about. “Rest should be scheduled and enjoyed without guilt of fear, because without rest, you can’t show up to do any good work, and will burn out quicker than a brandy-soaked Christmas pudding,” advises Hannah. “If you can see your rest time as something you need as a human being, to recharge, refresh, and reset, you’ll enjoy it more. Remember that nothing in nature blooms all year round – not even you, and that’s okay!”.
It allows you to focus on your IRL relationships
If the past 20 months have taught us anything, it’s that our personal relationships matter far more than work ever should. Even so, when life gets busy, it’s easy for our relationships with partners, friends and family members to take a backseat. A digital detox frees up your time, so you can focus on what really matters. After a couple of days of phone-free time, you’ll see just how much of your attention your device was eating up – and you might even be inspired to make some long-term changes. If you’re worried you won’t make it through a tech detox, consider enlisting a friend or family member to join in the challenge. We all thrive when we’ve got a bit of accountability (which is why Found & Flourish has an accountability buddy programme!), so remember that you don’t have to do this alone.
Schedule a walk with a friend, and leave your phone at home. If you’re watching a Christmas movie with the family, make sure your phone is in another room, and focus on being 100% present. More broadly in the festive period, it’s important to manage your own and your family’s expectations. “Focus on what truly matters to you and your loved ones over the holidays, and let the rest go,” says Karen Boyd, founder of Miabo Coaching. “Perfectionist, trying to be in control, and pleasing people can otherwise make for a miserable time! Keep it simple, and enjoy it”.
Found & Flourish’s top tips for a successful digital detox
- Before you begin your digital detox, keep track of how much time you’re spending online with an app like Screen Time. It can be nauseating… but it will inspire you to keep going
- If you don’t feel like you can fully switch off, consider putting your phone away at 9pm every evening
- Let your family/ friends/ housemates know that you’re on a digital detox, and make sure they help you stick to your rules
- Plan in some fun tech-free activities to look forward to
- Keep a notebook handy for the duration of your digital detox, so you can keep a note of any genius ideas
- Turn off your notifications and set an OOO for your detox so that clients aren’t left hanging
- Enjoy your new-found endless free time!
Looking for an accountability buddy to get you through your digital detox? Found & Flourish is here for you. In the members hub you’ll be able to sign up for our buddy program, and when you need advice or support, drop a message in our Facebook group (just not during your digital detox!). Not yet a member? Doors open at the end of January! Make sure to add yourself to the waitlist here.
About your author
Phoebe is Found & Flourish’s resident Business blogger, she is London-born and Frankfurt-, Paris- and Amsterdam-raised. Combining her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship with 10 years writing for international publications, she’s the founder of BURO155 and Wellby, helping female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals through strategic online content. Phoebe is also a writer, and has written for outlets including the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Next Web, For Working Ladies and Restless Magazine.
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