The ease with which we can use technology both delights and exasperates us. We can now quickly shoot off an email at the dinner table or while we’re lying in bed, but these obsessive behaviors tend to also overwhelm us after a while.
That coupled with the notion that technology often plays into individuals' desires for tiny rewards (how often do you feel satisfied when someone likes a post or follows you), can create anxiety, sleepless nights and stress for some people.
For those feeling like technology is taking over your life, it may be time to practice being human again without the status updates.
Here are five ways to unplug.
1. Practice mindfulness. It’s not necessarily technology that we need a break from. Rather, it’s the constant distractions. One of the best ways to do this is to set aside a distraction-free block of time each day. Within that time, practice mindfulness.
Focus on one activity without switching to something else. Take a long walk or try writing. This will allow you to become more in touch with who you are.
2. Reset your internal cycle. Biologically, life operates on a circadian rhythm. We have cycles of waking and sleeping to stay alive. Unlike our bodies, technology is always on; it’s non-cyclical. A detox allows you to impose a cycle upon your technology use — while it’s constantly available, you can isolate your interaction by cutting it off completely and setting a new schedule once you resume using it. This is much more difficult than it sounds; it’s hard to turn off your phone or step away from your laptop to initiate that rhythm. But once you’ve done without, limits seem much more manageable.
3. Reflect on your goals. Take time to reflect on your ambitions. What successes have you had that are moving you toward your goals? You may have already achieved what you set out to do, but you can’t tell until you actually stop to take a look at how many mountains you’ve climbed just to get where you are now.
4. Change your schedule to change your lifestyle. A technology detox isn’t a one-off program: It’s a piece of an overall lifestyle improvement. You need to take care of your whole life, including your friendships and health.
People need to have periods of activity followed by a break when they unplug and reflect. Embrace your design: Stay in rhythm.
5. Remember your priorities first. Technology helps us respond to other people’s priorities --our inboxes are full of them. But it’s easy to forget your own priorities when you spend your day responding to others’ needs.
To combat this, I begin my day in teamwork-application Asana rather than in my email. With this program, I create my own priorities and tasks can be shared with co-workers. I can then successfully work on my own responsibilities.