Let’s be honest: We’re addicted to our devices. There’s an app for everything. In fact, there are apps that lead to apps that rule everything about our lives, from how we communicate with family to how we decide what to cook. We need to acknowledge that all things in life require moderation, so a digital detox might be necessary.
Digital detox activities are growing increasingly more essential as digital addiction has become more prevalent. And here is a jarring fact for you: Nearly half of the world’s population uses social media, with the average person spending more than two hours on those platforms alone. Needless to say, that doesn’t bode well for use as a society. High cell phone usage has been linked to sleep deprivation and adverse mental health effects in young adults (you should probably limit your toddler’s screen time while you’re at it). The Internet exposing us to all the world has to offer has introduced phenomena we have never seen before such as doom scrolling. Simply put, that is the act of falling down a rabbit hole of an ostensibly endless stream of depressing content that can be consumed as easily as scrolling on your phone.
It’s not all just doom and gloom, though. Cassius has the perfect ways to rip you from the shackles of your digital addiction, and away from the endless scrolling. These six digital detox activities will surely help you have a more productive and healthy future in which your phone doesn’t rule you.
1. Keep the phone out of sight.
Sometimes we instinctively use our digital devices because we see them or they’re nearby. Work on developing the habit of putting those gadgets in places you can get to if necessary, but which aren’t continuously in your eyesight. Put your phone under your bed, or charge it in a separate room overnight to avoid disrupting your sleep by constantly reaching over and scrolling. You don’t want to wake up the next morning cuddling a device that can’t cuddle you back.
2. Audit your life and delete apps you use more than you need.
One of the best detox activities to wean yourself off your digital addiction is by being honest with yourself and by auditing your life. Go into the settings of your phone and check your screen time activity to see which apps you frequent the most. Then, in order to consolidate, delete redundant apps whose purpose overlaps with others. If you’re spending five hours a week on Tinder and an additional six hours a week on Bumble, you should pick which one will help you find love and eliminate the other.
3. Turn off push notifications.
Nothing will drag you back to your devices more than the sound or sight of a notification. That ding somehow makes you feel like something new is entering your life. But if you have enough apps, you can spend your entire workday staying up-to-date with every alert. While you’re working, turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode, and then set a timer for how long you want to spend on a task. Watch your productivity increase, and your thoughts about what’s new in the world momentarily fade away.
4. Set up activities that take you away from screens.
To force yourself to not be a slave to your digital gadgets, set up times throughout the day to do physical digital detox activities that preclude holding or looking at a device. Work out for an hour, and if you need music, set up a playlist and connect it to Bluetooth speakers or headphones so you don’t need to be near or look at any device while you’re exercising. Make your breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead of scrolling through UberEats, which can be a gateway to perusing other apps. The more enjoyable and digital-averse the activity, the more you’ll feel being in front of a screen isn’t as much fun.
5. Let your phone die.
Many of us have brains that are wired to be elated by the sight of a fully charged battery due to how integral our devices are to our lives. Charge them for the day, put your chargers away, and let those devices die. This will force you to either structure your day around maximizing the time you have your devices operational instead of thinking they’re available 24/7, or you’ll develop new habits that don’t require a device.
6. Use apps that keep you from other apps.
If you don’t have the willpower or the incentive to abandon your digital equipment, then like most things in life, there are apps for that. Apps like Flipd will lock you out of your phone for a predetermined period of time. It has a “Full Lock” mode that will disappear apps from your phone until the timer is up so you can avoid distractions. Apps like Forest add a visual incentive to being away from your phone by allowing you to plant a virtual tree that only grows as long as you’re in the Forest app. If you leave the app to scroll through other apps, Forest will show you how you’re killing your tree because you just can’t leave your phone. And no one wants to be a tree killer, so it all but guarantees productivity.