A few weeks ago, I left my computer at home to take a break in the great outdoors at a semi-technology free camp. I took my phone, but only for emergencies. Prior to the camp, my days were filled with constantly checking e-mails and messages on various social media platforms. All these in addition to my regular work on the computer. As I traveled to the campsite, I did not think I would fare well without the technology that ran my daily living. I was wrong.
After four days of my break from technology, I felt refreshed and happy. I did not feel the pressure to constantly check my messages every single hour of the day. I rethought my business with clarity and peace. It was the best thing I could have done for myself.
Since then, I’ve gone back to using technology in my daily living, but I made a few changes.
Here are a few tips for maintaining balance while you take a break from technology:
1. Schedule in the time to check and reply to messages: Prior to the technology detox, I found myself enslaved to checking my messages and status often throughout the day. Since then, I’ve designated a certain period of my day to do this. My phone is no longer set to beep at every email or social media message that comes in. I still allow my text messages to beep, in case of emergencies, but I’ve curbed my enslavement to the rest of social media to a designated time slot. It’s given me more peace in my workday. In addition to scheduling a time to check and reply to messages, we need to…
2. Take mini breaks throughout the day. Some of my friends work on the computer all day long. Then, when they take their break from work, they stay on the computer to surf the internet or to play games. I, on the other hand, need to get outdoors and walk around. I love the sunlight and the lack of technological white noise buzzing in the background. I often take my lunch outdoors, or sometimes go to a nearby park to eat. This helps me to refocus back on my work when I get back to the computer. In addition to taking mini breaks throughout the day, we need to…
3. Designate a time to turn it off at the end of the day. It’s easy to lose track of time when working on the computer. Sometimes I’d start off during sunlight, and, before I knew it, I looked out the window and the moon was up. Now, I designate a time in the day when I will turn the computer off. I’ll sometimes set my alarm to remind myself that my computer work is done for the day and that I need to save the rest for the morrow. In addition to designating a time at the end of the day to turn off the computer, we need to…
4. Schedule a 100% technology detox break once a week. I’ve got to admit that on the first day, I felt funny without my computer. I felt that I was getting off track and missing messages for tasks that I needed to take care of. However, after the first day, the awkwardness subsided and I was able to let go of the feeling of technology starvation. When I got back, I found that the world did not fall apart and that I’m now scheduling one day a week of being completely computer free. I turn off the computer and I don’t allow myself to turn it on until the next day. It’s been a refreshing decision. In addition to taking a 100% detox break once a week, we need to….
5. Be there! (Put that phone away!) The other day, my husband and I spent the day at a local resort. It was interesting to see visitors throughout the resort who spent a lot of time and money to fly there. A newly married couple walked past us, holding hands on the way to the beach. Their focus was obviously on eachother and it was evident in the way they held hands, looked at eachother and talked and laughed. On the other hand, another couple was sitting on a bench, facing an incredible scene of the coastline. They neither looked at eachother, nor at the coastline. They did not talk. Instead, both were intently focused on their phones. They may have been texting or emailing or perusing the internet. However, they neither interacted with eachother, nor did they look at the scenery. After a while, they both got up, still attentive to their phones as they walked quietly up the path without a glance of the view that so many envy. Now, maybe this was an isolated incident on their trip. Perhaps they had been cuddly and attentive to eachother and to the scenery throughout the rest of the trip. However, that one scenario made me think. How often do I let my cell phone get in the way of living in the moment? When taking a break, we need to make a concerted effort to put that phone away and live in the moment. In addition to living in the moment, we need to…
6. Schedule longer detox breaks several times during the year. Really, it does take several days to truly detox. It doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. Camping was not expensive at all. It was nice to go to a place where I wasn’t allowed to give in to the temptation to boot up my computer. If you’re not the camping type, there are other options. Friends of mine took time off to have a “Staycation.” In other words, they used their home as a “‘hotel” while scheduling activities (technology-free) as if they were playing tourist in their area. Try something new. Check your local city website for ideas of what visitors can do when they visit your area. Then, go and do it.
Taking a technology break does wonders for keeping balance in our lives. It helps us to refocus and to feel rejuvenated. It also helps us do more quality work in the future. In addition to the above suggestions, I’m curious:
How do you take a technology break?
Have a happy day!