As much as it’s probably hard to admit, most of us are hooked on our digital devices. Whether it’s relentlessly checking our Smart Phone, playing online games, being social on social media or texting, there’s no doubt about it that we’re part of a ‘plugged in’ society.
Words like apps, poke and tweet may not have existed a decade ago – today, they are common terms used in everyday conversation.
While it’s great to be connected and have a access to an unlimited wealth of information at our finger tips, it can also keep us tuned out from experiencing real life. By tuning into technology 24/7, we’re inadvertently tuning out our ability to live in the present. In fact, a recent study by the Public Library of Science found that the more time an individual spends on Facebook, the more dissatisfied they are with their own life. Also, Harvard Medical School scientists have discovered that using a cell phone or laptop before bed can negative affect our ability to have a good night’s sleep.
Do you find yourself conversing with others more through social media or texting than in real life? Do you rely solely on bank and credit cards rather than paying with cash? Is your Smart Phone constantly buzzing from notification updates and messages? Do you have a tough time staying away from your screen while out at dinner with a friend or your significant other?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it may be high-time to go on a ‘digital detox.’ Relax – we aren’t talking about ditching with your devices for good. It’s just a little detox – even just a weekend will do you some good.
By taking a little break from your screen and technology, you may find yourself reconnecting with those around you and yourself.
Here are 4 easy ways to go on a digital detox.
Limit Screen Time
Growing up, your screen time was probably limited to television and maybe – depends on when you were born – computer use. Nowadays, screen time is a whole different ballgame. This umbrella term consists of the usage of the following devices: Smart Phones, TV’s, laptops, computers, Ipads, IPods, LeapPads, E Readers etc. While many parents limit their children’s screen time, most don’t realize they are being hypocritical by not setting a great example themselves. Let’s face it – children learn by example. If you’re constantly checking your phone during dinner or answering emails during a family outing, how can you expect your youngster to take your limits on screen time seriously? Instead, try limiting your own screen time as well as theirs. Show them and yourself that yes, it is possible to get through a meal, movie or trip to the park without taking a call or answering a text. Also, show them that no, the television doesn’t need to always be on in the background. Instead, show them how to live in the moment and enjoy each other’s company without the disruption of technology – it’s one of the best gifts you can give your children – even better than the latest Smart Phone or other high-tech gadget on their wish list.
Pay With Cash
Can you remember exactly the last time you paid for a purchase with cash? How about a check? Since the proliferation of plastic alternatives (credit cards, bank cards), many consider carrying cash or writing a check to be a throwback.
While plastic certainly is convenient, there’s a heavy price to pay for it –interest. A huge drawback of credit and bank cards is that it’s all-too-easy to overspend and blow one’s budget. With cash or a check, you can’t spend more than you actually have. Another perk to using traditional payment methods (ie. checks and cash) is you don’t have to worry about bank/credit card machines being down or demagnetized cards. When you think about it, technology isn’t always the most convenient option.
Speaking of conveniences … It’s certainly convenient to connect with friends, family and acquaintances online, but it’s not the same as talking over the telephone or meeting for a cup of coffee. In fact, one might even say it’s a shallow sip of communication. Rather than texting, tweeting, emailing or sending a message via. Facebook, perhaps it’s time to stop hiding from behind a screen and meet face-to-face – or, at least have a good ol’ fashioned phone conversation. Yes, it’s a lot easier to connect from the comfort of your couch, behind a screen, however, nuances can be lost. Without facial expressions to see or body language, it’s easy to misinterpret what is communicated on your screen.
Get Out of Town
If the temptation of technology is just too hard to resist, perhaps it’s time to take a vacay – not just from your devices – we’re talking about an actual holiday. If you go somewhere remote without , Internet access or cellular reception, you’ll have no choice but to divert your eyes from the screen. Instead, spend your time enjoying your surroundings authentically. This means no ‘instagramming ‘ that gorgeous flower you see while on a hike, no ‘tweeting’ that delicious 5-star meal or updating your Facebook to let all your friends know what an amazing time you’re having. It may be tough to get used to, but in no time you’ll forget you’re even on a digital detox.
And there you have it – 4 ways to take a temporary hiatus from technology and live in the now. While technology is revolutionizing both our professional and social life, sometimes we do need to disconnect to connect.
Jon Gilchrist is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Cheques Now Inc. Along with his two brother business partners, he is dedicated to providing business owners, payroll managers and accountants with secure, low-cost cheques. Follow him on Google+.