7 Tips To Help You Disconnect – And Reconnect With What Matters
Contributed by Nathalie Ricaud March 22, 2017
Admittedly, I have always been among the first to adapt to new technology tools that could make me more efficient in the way I manage my work and personal life. Think schedule, tasks, lists, contacts, files, music, photos etc., all aggregated in one place yet accessible from multiple synchronised devices. But I had for a long time resisted embracing social media, until I could no longer postpone setting a business page on Facebook. And despite being quite atuned to the risks associated with spending too much time online, I realised how hard it was to resist temptation.
Fortunately, I quickly reacted – and took some measures that prevented me from developing a technology addiction. I hope these measures can help you too.
Seven Tips To Help You Disconnect:
Wake up, and figure out what your technology addiction is costing you
Maybe it’s taking you forever to complete a task and your workdays stretch indefinitely in the office, taking time away from your family. Or you forget to cook dinner and have to rely on food take-aways again that you know are not good for your health. Or you can’t find the time to read or play with your kids while they are begging for your attention. Or you can’t sleep well at night. In my case, the wake-up call came when I realised I was feeling easily mentally drained. Whatever it is, envisioning how your life will be transformed once you’ll have quit your technology addiction should get you into action mode – and keep you motivated.
Turn off notifications
Do you feel compelled to check your phone or your emails as soon as you see or hear a notification? The solution is simple: Turn off the notifications from your emails, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the likes so that you can stay focused on the task at hand. Don’t create a false sense of urgency; a lot of things can wait. People know that they’ll have to call me if they need to reach me urgently.
Have a long-distance relationship with your phone
If turning notifications off is not enough, consider putting your phone away so that you will have to get up to access it if you need to use it. The more difficult the task is, the less likely you are to do it.
Set time limits and physical boundaries
Don’t reach out for your phone first thing in the morning, otherwise you may get carried away – and that’s how your day will get derailed even before getting up. It may be a good idea to have a proper alarm clock to wake you up instead of your phone, to prevent you from doing this.
Similarly, stop using any electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. Otherwise you are likely to be over-stimulated, and will have trouble finding sleep.
Allocate time to check your emails, maybe three to four times daily, and close the application down the rest of the time. Your productivity at work will skyrocket.
Agree with the rest of your family on places where the phone can’t be used. In our family, electronic devices are not accepted at the dining table – whether at home or restaurants, and in the bedroom.
Keep your hands busy
Engage in an activity that will make use of both your hands. A lady picked going back to knitting to overcome her technology obsession1. Salvation for me came in the form of Sudoku. What could it be for you?
Go through an entire day without your computer, phone, tablet, gaming devices – Play Station, Wii, X Box, etc. Ah, and make it without TV either.
Sounds challenging? It certainly is! We do practise this in our family the first Sunday of every month. I must confess that the idea of being deprived of our electronic devices and gadgets for a day used to make us a bit cranky at first. And it does require a bit of planning ahead. But we’ve learned to appreciate the freedom and the time it gives us to enjoy each other’s company, without any distractions, talking and doing more as a family. It leaves us much more relaxed and fulfilled at the end of the day! Try it, and find out for yourself!
The less you own, the less you will be tempted to wander off aimlessly. So go ahead and:
- Clear your emails regularly, especially your inbox and spam folders
- Unsubscribe from newsletters you were added onto without your permission and have no interest, or you no longer read
- Remove unused phone applications, and applications that you feel compelled to check often. My husband who is an avid reader of news was finding himself too often refreshing his news apps. He decided to check the news twice a day and removed the news apps from his phone. After the first day, he commented how much more he had been able to achieve at work that day in less time!
- Unfriend and unfollow people who don’t bring any joy in your life, who spread out negativity and post offensive comments that go against your values
You’ll stop wasting your time on the unimportant, so that you can focus instead on the meaningful.
Because that’s all what it’s about in the end, right? Living a more meaningful life. We all need once in a while to disconnect, so that we can reconnect and refocus. Check my time management coaching programme2 if you need help to get back in control of your time and learn how to deal with those time wasters.