I see lots of people walking around with their smartphone in their hands. Ready to take that call, or to answer that whatsapp message. I know people who would drive 20 minutes back home if they would forget that little machine. I’m glad I’m not one of those people, but I do react on every message I get within 10 minutes and spend more time on Facebook then I would actually like to. Sounds familiar?
After waking up, the first thing I do is turn on my laptop, check my mail and Facebook. While doing this I turn on my phone and see if there are any messages. If so I react on them and the first 15 minutes of the morning I do some Facebook stuff. Whatever that may be. Actually I don’t really like this. I think it’s way nicer to start the day with an article, or reading a good story.
During the day I check my Facebook multiple times as well as my whatsapp. And when I really need to message somebody on Facebook for something important I forget to do that because I’m constantly scrolling my timeline; my concentration span starts to break. I notice it when I watch a film. During the film I check my Facebook or phone. It’s not that the movie is boring, I just feel the urge to check this all of a sudden. I see it with my roommates and other friends as well. Many people obsessively check their phones, this is not the way how a human should act, almost like slaves to our electronics. This might sound quite harsh, but I’ve heard phones whistling to their owners to pick them up. So lets break away from this nasty habit and take our concentration back!
While writing this I’m on my way to Gran Canaria to spend the winter working in a hostel and organizing workshops there. The first day on the island I will get a bicycle and cycle the island for a whole week, in search of the most beautiful places there. I will bring my phone in case of emergency, but I will not use it. I will not check my Facebook, whatsapp or even the time. I’ll have it turned off for the whole week. It’s just for a week, but during this week I will try to get my concentration span back. Next to this, I wonder how more calm I would get. No emails that needs to answered, no phone calls, no group whatsapps with funny pictures. Will I get more creative or will I search more contact with the locals? Normally I share my experiences with my Facebook, blog and whatsapp friends.
I create a place and time for myself to have a digital detox. It might be harder when you’re working or so let me give you some tips ’n tricks for your own digital detox, no matter how long it might be.
– Time: take some time off. It might be a weekend, or just a day. It could also be a week. Write down in your agenda you’re going to have a digital detox. This week(end) or day you’re not digitally available. So plan Skype conversations a couple of days earlier or later. People can come round, in stead of calling you.
– Space: You need a place to go. Find a campsite, bothy, wooden shack or cabin in the woods. even just camping for a night will do the trick. The sounds of birds and the nature will help you to be more calm and relaxed
– Surrounding: Tell your surrounding you’re going to leave and will not be available trough electronic contacts. It’s easy to make an automated email reply. This way the people who contact you, know you’re not there.
– Move: Get on the move! Hike, bike or catch a pike! Go somewhere challenging; climb a small mountain, walk a trail, go fishing or get a canoe and paddle a river. Being in motion is the best way to cure everything. As well as to digital-declutter.
– Go! This is the best part; you’ve set the date, told everybody, got something to do. Take your pack and leave for some time, but don’t forget to turn your phone off!
Cycling trough the mountains of Gran Canaria might just be a bit of fun, but maybe it changes something in me. Maybe I will find back a way I used to live, before I got Facebook and a smartphone. Maybe not. At least it’s a start of a positive road to go.
You can follow me during my digital detox journey on my Facebook page, here.
Just kidding, you can’t 😛