I’m doing a digital detox starting this weekend. You know why? Well, first, because it’s the National Day of Unplugging. Also…
Email. Facebook. Social Fabric community. Twitter. Other email. Pinterest. Stumbleupon. Google Analytics. Other email. RealityTea. BuzzFeed. Instagram. Other email.
That, folks, is just a sample of some of the sites I go to every single day. Multiples times a day. Many, many multiple times a day. It’s outrageous the amount of time I spend online. Yeah, yeah, it’s true that I have to be plugged in for my job, but I work for any number of the websites that feature hilarious memes of cats making human statements. I don’t HAVE to check the reality tv gossip site every day (don’t tell anyone!). I don’t have to get sucked into Facebook feuds or conversations, but I do.
I’m not quiet about the fact that I love social media. It gives introverts like me a way to get comfortable with people in a way that is non-threatening. I’ve met the most incredible folks who wouldn’t be in my life if it wasn’t for social media. However, there does come a point where it can all become just too much, and I need to go through a digital detox and reestablish boundaries for myself as it relates to being connected all of the time. As I get ready for a digital detox this weekend, there are a few things that I’m working on now to prepare.
1. Take all social media apps off of your phone.
I actually did this awhile ago for Facebook. I still use Facebook on my phone, but having to go in through the browser and use the mobile site makes me spend less time on the site because it’s not as user friendly. For my digital detox, I’m going to take Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest off of my phone. Even when I vow not to use my phone, inevitably, I’ll get an alert that someone repinned my pin, or just followed me on Instagram, and I’m sucked back in.
2. Set up an away message on your email account.
Because of the nature of my work, most folks assume that I’m available all of the time since most social media/blogger types are notorious non-sleepers and always grinding. I realized that for the sake of my family, I had to set boundaries, and so every weekend I activate an away message letting folks I’ll reply to their email on Monday. If you’re planning a digital detox and run a business, or have a job, make sure you set up the away message so you don’t have to worry that your reputation is ruined because you didn’t answer an email.
3. Make plans for what you’re going to do while you’re detoxing.
We’ve kind of evolved into a society where we are used to being entertained all of the time. Instant access to digital content makes a lot of folks start to feel antsy when they have a tiny bit of down time. So, what should you do with all of the extra time that you’ll free up by giving up your beloved social media? I don’t know, that’s up to you. Whatever you do, though, schedule it and make plans so that you have something to look forward to. Even if your plan is to sit in a chair and daydream…write it down so you can feel like you’re doing something.
4. Double-check that you have everything that you need before you unplug.
Whenever I bake muffins, I have to go online to get the recipe from one of my Pinterest boards. Well, for my digital detox, I won’t be able to do that, so I’ll take some time before the end of the week to write the recipe down on good old fashioned paper. Think about what you’ll need before you log off, and gather it before you unplug so you won’t have a reason to plug back in.
5. Let folks know that you’re detoxing and will be away.
If I just stopped responding to email messages or Facebook posts, I’d get a million messages from folks asking if I’m okay. I’ll let the people that I’m most connected to online know that I’m logging off for the weekend, and let them know that they can call me if something comes up that’s urgent. What I’ve found most times, though, is that nothing urgent usually comes up just because I’m not online. I might miss some drama or a few viral videos, but thankfully it’s the internet. I can just catch it later!
I shared more about my relationship with technology, and how it affects my daughter on The Mother Company’s blog. Read the post and join us on Thursday, March 6th at 2 PM EST for a conversation about the National Day of Unplugging!