24 hours -8 hours sleep -8 hours work -6 hours online = are we really leaving 2 hours for real life?
According to a report by We Are Digital and Hootesuite, more than half of the world’s population are now online and we’re spending an average of 6 hours every day wandering the digital realm.
Our relationship with a screen is more intimate than any other.
It’s been over three weeks since I attended Consciously Digital’s Funzing talk on the Neuroscience of Digital Distractions, where founder Anastasia opened my thoughts to how being online has moulded our brains and how to avoid a technology takeover.
As an attempt to digitally detox a little, I made four simple changes to the tech in my life:
1. Notifications off
2. No technology in the bedroom
3. Planned digital dalliances
4. Swap screens for sunshine – get outdoors
The first one was easy.
I cleared my home screen and turned off all notifications, and I mean ALL… including my work emails, which scored me a few snotty comments and a couple of angry phonecalls. But when I explained why I’d turned them off, I got a proverbial pat on the back.
For the first few days it felt liberating on another level, there were no pop-ups on my screen, my phone didn’t buzz and I wasn’t in a swipe frenzy of dismissal trying to focus on the task at hand. I felt noticeably more calm and in control, my work was uninterrupted and friends adjusted to the new, slow-response me.
No technology in the bedroom was also an easy one once I got myself an actual old school analogue alarm clock, which rings louder than an ambulance. A diligent switch off at night is making me program my thoughts ready for sleep.
I’ve upped my meditation game, swapping idle bed texts for a dollop of pranayama and savasana (lying down in dead person pose and focusing on the breath).
I’ve noticed a huge diminution of pre-sleep head chattering and I conk out quicker than ever before. I can’t lie, waking up to that alarm clock is STARTLING and I’m pretty sure the neighbours four blocks down are being woken up too, but at least there’s no chance of pointless, disrupted snoozing.
I’m up and I’m ready for the day.
When I first got started, I was only checking social media in the morning, at lunch and after work.
About two weeks deep into my digital detox, my Whatsapp shortcut snook back onto my homescreen….then Facebook, then Insta, then eBay, then Twitter….
I managed to keep the notifications off but my frequency of checking the apps did creep back up.
I guess it was partly due to getting this blog started and trying to build up some social media presence and partly because I’ve been conditioned into developing a habitual digital twitch.
And finally, number four, getting outdoors. I get really fidgety if I don’t get my greenery fix, so this was standard practice.
I’ve been running, cycling and walking with friends under spring skies with a strictly no phone rule. It gets endolphins swimming around my body and makes me love life more than life itself.
As Anastasia said, you have to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy obsession.
So to keep me on track I’ve signed up to Consciously Digital’s Digital Detox in a Week and I’ve forced a few Tier One Colleagues to get involved as my little social experiment – I’ll scribble the results up soon.
I really do want to get a better tech/life balance.
I miss humans