Do you need a digital detox when you are working from places all over the world? Travelling all the time is the dream, right? Well, not so much. As soon as it becomes your job, it also becomes work, it is repetitive, you have to organise and plan it, work with clients, juggle full schedules, do things that you might not feel like doing at a particular moment. It’s work. Especially since I am on my phone basically every waking moment (social media can be quite demanding), my phone is both a blessing and a nuisance. Do you get ringxiety – you know when you hear your phone ringing but it’s not actually ringing? I do. So here’s my proposition: why not have a digital detox?
What Is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox is when you abstain from all things digital (or at least the ones that you use for work, you can still use your coffee machine, don’t worry). You can do that for an hour every day, for a full day each week or for a full week during your well-deserved holiday. It’s totally up to you but you can’t break the rule of no phones or laptops! Do you remember the US company that even pays their workers to go on vacation as long as they didn’t use their phones? They do it for a very good reason.
Why a Digital Detox?
Did you know that social media could potentially mess up your character? Studies out there link it to increased narcissism and a lack of empathy. It can also cause insomnia (and don’t I know it). To me, it’s also a source of stress, when I see notifications every minute. Do I need to interrupt my work? Is this email important? Have I answered all your comments already? Mostly, I put my phone on silent now and work on one platform at a time during a scheduled time. But that still means that my phone is there to tell me what I’ve been missing out.
Wifi is Your Frenemy
When I travelled the world, I had long stretches without wifi. I would fall into instant fight mode whenever I had the faintest glimpse of a signal and push out social notifications like a maniac just to be all worked up when the signal kept on disappearing. So stressful. And so scary for others. In the end, I shouldn’t have wasted my time, it just cost me nerves and wasted my time. I could have gone for a stroll in the outback instead or grabbed a chocolate ice cream. Everything is better with chocolate ice cream.
The Downside of a Digital Detox?
First, you will feel guilty and anxious. Without your phone, you feel like you are disconnected from the world. What if you miss important news? What if someone wants to urgently reach you? What if your epic tweet about yesterday’s morning sandwich goes viral and you wouldn’t know? And how will you be able to watch cute cat videos for entertainment? All very tough questions. But here’s the thing, you’ll be fine.
The Positives of a Digital Detox
According to a study run by the amazing Kate Unsworth from the connected jewellery brand Vinaya, going on a digital detox has the following effects that should speak for themselves. First, you will have a much better posture (no more turtle-like necks and downward facing), which is an added health benefit to improved sleep. This makes you look more approachable and you will get to talk to people more easily. When you do, you are much more engaged if there is no phone distracting you (no brainer, but it makes all the difference). You can more freely discuss things without googling answers first, you will remember the conversations you’ve had and places you’ve been to better.
However, to me the most important thing about a digital detox is the bigger picture. When you take yourself out of the daily grind and you force yourself to live in the here and now, confront yourself with how you feel (body, mind, soul) and have only the voices you hear outside and inside your head (no, not only when you’re crazy), you start to think about your life more. In the study, this lead to some life-changing decisions. You will tap back into the things that you are passionate about and that you miss doing. So reconnect, make actionable plans to do them and get them done! And you can do them without a smartphone. What do you say, challenge accepted?
I for one am abstaining from social media for a week starting now. I’ve already deleted the apps on my phone and will go on a blogger break until March. But stay tuned and subscribe to the newsletter to be notified when I return with a bang!
If you still need some convincing, check out this video. It’s an oldie but a goodie.