Many of us are far too addicted to our phones and social media, and we know it. We say we don’t want to be the types of people who are on their phones constantly, yet here we are. But as this article points out, a lot of us also value having a work-life balance and being able to spend time away from our phones. Since unfortunately our phone and social media addictions usually win over our desire to spend some time away from electronics, it can require some active effort to take a proper “digital cleanse.” Here are ten ways you can effectively take a digital cleanse and enjoy some quality time “unplugged” from electronics and social media—try one or several at once, depending on how much of a digital cleanse you need.
Clean out your social media accounts.
This won’t exactly keep you away from social media, but it can definitely help you spend less time on social media in the future. Set aside some time when you can really go through your social media accounts—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.—and unfollow anyone who really isn’t contributing to your social media experience. Maybe you’ve been spending too much time following the lives of people you no longer talk to, or maybe there are bloggers who simply post too often. Whatever it is, cutting down on who you follow can help you create better digital balance in your life.
Delete your social media apps.
If you do most of your social media surfing on your phone or tablet, try deleting those apps from your mobile device. Your profile will remain intact; you’ll just have to log in through the web, which for many is too much trouble to put up with.
Deactivate your social media accounts.
Alternatively, you might try deactivating your social media accounts temporarily. That way, when you tap a social media icon or type in the social media URL out of habit, you’ll be confronted with the barrier of having to reactivate your account first. For most social media platforms, the deactivation process is rather simple. On Facebook, for example, you simply go to Settings and then Security. For Pinterest, you go to your profile settings and then hit “Deactivate Account” at the bottom. The plus side to deactivating is that your profile will remain intact, but no one will be able to reach you on social media while your account is deactivated.
Have someone change your social media passwords.
If you don’t trust yourself not to reactivate your social media accounts within days of deactivating them, consider having a friend change your social media passwords for you. Sometimes it helps to keep some things out of your control and to enlist someone else to hold you accountable.
Set designated “log off” times.
Sometimes it helps to designate specific times of the day when you will actively turn off your phone or laptop, or refrain from visiting social networking sites (blocking these sites if you need to). A good “log off” time might be during the work day, during dinner, or at bedtime.
Email only from a laptop or desktop computer.
It can definitely be impractical to say that no one will be able to contact you by email during your digital cleanse, so a good way to compromise is to receive and send email only on a laptop or desktop computer. This way, you are less likely to be bombarded with emails during your “time off” from electronics.
Answer texts with calls.
You probably can’t tell everyone to stop texting you, but you can warn your friends ahead of time that during your digital cleanse you’re going to answer any important texts with phone calls. Yes, making a phone call doesn’t exactly scream “unplugged,” but it’s a good way to compromise while avoiding long text conversations.
Turn off the TV—and open a book.
TV shows can keep us engaged in electronics far longer than we’d like. Choose a book you’ve been wanting to read, and decide to read this instead whenever you’re tempted to turn on the TV. Turning off the TV can keep you from wasting hours of time each day.
Go on a trip.
Another great way to really enjoy some “unplugged” time is to go on a trip—particularly to a place that you know will not have reliable service. Take your phone with you in case of emergencies, but other than that, plan on enjoying some quality time with friends or family during your trip.
Take one day off each week.
Some people like to approach a digital cleanse by taking a week or more away from electronics and social media, but another way to approach it is to designate a particular day of the week—Sunday, for example—as your “digital day off.” Make it a goal not to follow or engage in social media on this day, or not to watch any TV. Make it your day to read books and newspapers and spend time with family and friends instead.
You could also try this awesome timed kitchen safe for your phone. 😉
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