This Sunday (the 2nd of October) you can join in on a city-wide digital detox. That’s right, from 10am – 2pm Christchurch is running a digital detox! If you’ve never heard of a ‘digital detox’ before is it just a fancy buzzword? And more importantly why should you consider doing one? Read on to find out what the buzz is about!
Why the need?
3.1 million New Zealanders spend 16 hours online every week, and 70 percent of us now own a mobile device, according to research company Nielsen.
New Zealanders can’t get enough of being online, but have we got the balance right? All Right? is encouraging people to think about how we’re using technology.
We get it. Life gets intense. We face near constant demands for our attention, both on and offline. And if we don’t let ourselves recharge and reboot, this can mean we quickly burn out or become inefficient.
The best and most immediate effect felt from doing a digital detox, is that it gives you the chance to step back temporarily. When you return, recharged, you’re more productive and have a different perspective.
A digital detox is also good for your health and our relationships. When was the last time you had breakfast at a cafe with your S.O. without taking a cheeky snap of your eggs benny first?
A digital detox lets you dictate how you spend our own time, rather than spending all our time answering other people’s demands at the drop of a Facebook message.
So, what is a digital detox, exactly?
A digital detox is switching off all mobiles, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers for a certain length of time.
This enables you to spend screen-free time doing whatever you enjoy. A digital detox is also a chance to recharge and rest.
A digital detox should ideally be around 24 hours long as a minimum. It can be 72 hours or more if you want to build up to that. But for this weekend it’s officially running for 4 hours to give beginners a go!
How do you do a digital detox?
Anyone can do a digital detox simply by pressing the off button on digital devices. In a world where we’re so used to being constantly connected, this can be surprisingly difficult to do.
To make things easier, All Right? Canterbury have a phone drop-off point if you don’t trust yourself to last the distance! For more info, check out their website.
To make it easier to complete a digital detox, here are our tips for your preparation:
Remind yourself why you want to do a digital detox. Is it as an experiment to see what it feels like to go the opposite way in an increasingly connected world? Is it because you need to recharge your batteries? Do you want valuable thinking time? Or to spend quality time with people who matter to you? Set your goals beforehand, what are you getting out of this experience?
Time for a detox
Plan your digital detox. Choose a time that’s realistic for you to switch off. This Sunday is a great time, as Weekends tend to be less structured. Put ‘digital detox’ in your diary if it helps. Tell anyone you need to that you’ll be away from your email and smartphone. It’s common for people to announce on social media that they’re about to do a #digitaldetox and you can do that too if you want.
Make some plans
Plan enjoyable, fun activities for your time switched off. These can be things like cooking, walking, or spending time with friends and family. You could pick up a neglected hobby or spend time reading. You might choose to explore the city you live in or somewhere new.
Straight after switching off, you might feel a sense of unease, and will perhaps have a strong urge to check your phone or computer. Just wait, and these feelings should pass. Get on with the non-screen activities you had planned, and start to notice the time and space you’ve given yourself.
During a digital detox, there tends to be a feeling of having plenty of time (rather than rushing against time). You may well sleep better, think more clearly and more deeply, and feel re-energised. Enjoy the change and notice your reaction to not being ‘on call’.
The return to the digital world can be overwhelming at first. A barrage of information and multiple demands can seem too much. But use the perspective you have gained. Redefine what is urgent, what is important, and what doesn’t even need to be done. Unsubscribe to any email lists you no longer need. Try new behaviours, such as checking email or social media less frequently.
Ideally, this shouldn’t be your last digital detox. Even if you have a mini-detox each day, like not checking your phone an hour before bed – give yourself a break from the online world to take in the moment you’re in.
We’d love to hear, are you completing the digital detox this week?