Stop Staring at Your Phone With Advice From 3 Digital Detox Experts

Let 2016 be the year of the digital detox.

(Photo: Folk Rebellion).

Ms. Davis suggests finding ways to keep your hands busy, by taking up knitting, learning an instrument, or going back to paper and pen (Photo: Folk Rebellion).

A new year means a new chance to Instagram your best life… but that doesn’t mean that you should. After all, spending the year attached to screens doesn’t exactly scream interesting. If you’re ready for a major change, let 2016 be the year of the digital detox with help from these experts in the field. 

Jess Davis, founder of lifestyle brand Folk Rebellion, famous for their unplugged retreats, believes that the best way to start disconnecting is by unplugging for 24 hours. While this can happen at home, it’s even better with a change of scenery. Ms. Davis suggests taking a day trip to experience a new place, without constantly updating your whereabouts on Instagram.

(Photo: Folk Rebellion).

“Put a box near your door. Drop that cell phone in it. Nickname it. Ours is called the monster and my son tells me when it’s time to ‘feed it,'” said Ms. Davis. (Photo: Folk Rebellion).

When it comes to absentmindedly checking your phone throughout the day, Ms. Davis explains that it’s out of habit. “To be more productive at the office, tuck your phone away in a desk drawer and put on the do-not-disturb (vibrations stress us just as much as dings).” Instead of constantly peeking at the screen, batch communication by checking your phone during the day at specific times.

“The phone has become our world and our drug of choice, and we are tethering ourselves to it more and more.”

To begin disconnecting, stop using your phone for everything from ordering Seamless for dinner, followed by an Uber to your Tinder date. “The phone has become our world and our drug of choice, and we are tethering ourselves to it more and more,” warned Ms. Davis.

Frances Booth, the author of The Distraction Trap: How to Focus in a Digital World, suggests that people start detoxing gradually. “Try switching off for one evening a week to start with, then increase this to half a day, then a day,” she suggests. If you’re coming back from vacation and hoping to stay in a mellow mindset, balance your workday with screen-free time in the evening. Then, decide to switch off at a certain time every night.

Holland Haiis, who wrote Digital Detox Program, believes that the most important aspect of detoxing is to stop putting it off. “Leave your phone at home so you can connect to the activity you’re doing, even if it’s errands,” said Ms. Haiis. Ms. Haiis says finding a sacred inbox is the first step. “Unsubscribe to newsletters, deals of the day, podcasts and anything else that you’re not listening to or reading.” After you unsubscribe, start batching your social media check-ins by setting a timer. 

Once dinner rolls around, don’t use it to catch up on emails. “Put your devices away, not turned over on the edge of the table but actually in a drawer, handbag, the bread box, anywhere that it’s out of reach,” advises Ms. Haiis. Then, when it’s time for bed, remove your phone from your bedside table so you don’t immediately check it in the morning, which “catapults you onto the merry-go-round.” 

Ms. Haiis reminds readers that people love vacations because it’s time to truly disconnect and start being instead of doing. To stay in that meditative mindset, put your phone away before the year truly begins. After all, as Ms. Haiis says, “the world looks completely different when you’re not looking down all the time.”

Stop Staring at Your Phone With Advice From 3 Digital Detox Experts