Hit ‘Pause’: A Digital Detox Can Help Clear Your Mind and Reset Your Priorities.
May 27, 2020
May 27, 2020
By Tom Allen
We’re on our gadgets and screens a lot. A lot. And our students are on them probably even more than we are. Maybe it’s time for a conversation, both among educators and among educators and their students, about all the time we’re spending online and what effect it might be having on us.
Research points to increased anxiety, distraction, and loneliness among heavy social media users.
A break, some kind of a digital detox, may be in order to clear your mind and reset your priorities. Here are some tips, adapted from NEA, if you’d like to consider some form of a detox:
Spring for an alarm clock. Many of us have become used to sleeping with our phones nearby, sometimes literally in our hands, and we use its built-in alarm. If you want the phone nearby for safety purposes, try keeping it in “do not disturb” mode. Give yourself time in the morning to get organized and start the day at your own pace. You don’t have to see the latest text, tweet, or post right away.
Launch an “app attack.” If you haven’t used an app lately, delete it. Not only will it simplify your life, it will also make your device work faster and better. If you discover later that you really need it, you can always re-install it.
Notifications? Nope. Noisy notifications can become a constant, badgering, beeping, buzzing bit of nonsense. Do you need the latest news at 2 a.m., or the celebrity gossip mid-afternoon? Stop the noise. Get your news on your own terms, not when an app decides you need it.
Be less of a “follower.” Brent Warner, professor and proprietor of @EdTechTV, advises that you only follow people who offer “high-quality insights and ideas.” It never hurts to follow a few folks who consistently amuse you, too.
Do digital-free dining. Why not try ‘phone stacking’ in a restaurant or at a family meal? Everyone puts their device in the middle of the table and the first person who reaches for their device picks up the check, clears the table, or just gets teased. Whatever combination works for you. When you’re all together, be together.
Tech time-outs. Consider sticking with some tech free time. This doesn’t mean you sitting in a dark room in absolute silence, but that is an option! Why not choose to spend time out in nature, reading a book, going to a museum, farmer’s market, or doing an activity that’s not connected to technology?
Challenge yourself by choosing a length of time and sticking with it. Enjoy a bit less screen time. But be reasonable, and forgive yourself if you backslide.
Pay attention. When you’re at the beach, be at the beach. Or the mountains. Or the desert. Or wherever your happy place might be. Don’t always worry about recording the moment, experience it. Mindfulness is a big new thing, or maybe the terminology is new, but the action is age-old. Savor what’s right in front of you. The truth is that we sometimes need to disconnect to reconnect with what is important in life.