Phones, tablets, kindles, computers, smartwatch – the list of daily devices keeps growing. We use our phones at dinner and musical concerts, and risk our safety by texting while driving. People are becoming increasingly dependent on their phones, reaching to check their Facebook feed or email in every spare moment.

It’s hard to connect when you’re siphoned off into your own little world. Here is a guide to having a technology-free day and enjoying its many benefits, like rediscovering the joy of board games.

Set Yourself Free

The first thing you’ll notice about taking a digital day off is that no one cares. Unless your work depends on daily calls or emails, you’ll be set. Just let relevant people know in advance. Now you will finally have time to improve your handwriting, making it nice for the next birthday or function card you must write.

Do you know what you’re missing? When was the last time you discovered a cool new board or card game? Made a homemade cocktail? Discovered something cool in your area? Lacking technology gives you the chance to explore areas of your life you “never got around to”.

Get Healthy

Sit up from that slouch and reset your sleep cycle! There are so many ways to get active without technology and far fewer ways to lounge around. The big psychological benefit of unplugging is reducing your stress levels. Like lifting a weight, all the stresses of the virtual world can be removed. Apart from that, you can lose the narcissism and social anxiety from ‘social’ media, the boredom of late nights fixed on screens and the laziness of outsourcing knowledge to google. Go from short term memory to long term, from surface knowledge to deep and increase your attention span. If you crave gaming, try tabletop games as a substitute for video games. When you’re not fiddling with your phone you can actually interact with people. You can discuss science, politics or another interest, play sports or cards or properly enjoy an old-fashioned, uninterrupted meal.

With so much information and addictive content available, it’s hard to draw yourself away from technology. But there are many joys of life that can’t be virtualised: hikes in the park or drives through the desert blasting your favorite tunes. You’d be shocked by how many idle moments you’re wasting scrolling down your phone.

Ok, But How?

Next time you feel the impulse to do it think of what you could be doing instead which would be so much more enjoyable. Start with small hiatuses and build up over time, e.g. try turning off your phone during meals and turning off devices before bedtime. Plan technology breaks and turn off unimportant notifications. You can even try using apps to tell you how often you’ve checked your phone, automatically lock your phone or limit internet usage – but this may not work if it leads you to spend more time on your phone.

Write up a small list of such technology breaks. What small benefits can you achieve straight away? You’ll never know unless you try. Good luck!

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