How To Do A Digital Detox When You Work Online

Trying to achieve healthy screen time, with work thrown in the mix?

It’s more apparent than ever that the majority of us just can’t be without our phones, they’re like an additional limb. It can be addictive enough as it is when you only use social media for your own personal use, but when you also use it for your career, it’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Maybe you’re a social media manager who’s tracking analytics, or a freelancer seeking new leads, even an MUA showcasing your work or a small business owner promoting your goods or services; whatever the case, there are more jobs than ever that require a social media presence.

Although being at the constant beck and call of the online world can sometimes have negative effects in the real world. While a complete digital detox may not be possible, a loose, laidback form of detox could be the way to go. It may be easier said than done, especially when your career literally requires you to have an online presence, keep up with the latest digital trends or publish the latest news-worthy story as quickly as you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – assuming you can say it, that is.

If you’ve ever felt stressed, overwhelmed or fatigued by the prolonged use of social media, you’ve already been bitten by the burnout bug.

Unfortunately for us, the only way to deal with that burnout is cutting back on our time spent in the digital world. Going offline for even a short period of time can help you clear your head, recharge your batteries and as cliché as it sounds, let you live in the moment a little bit more.

A way to reconnect by disconnecting, if you will. You may even feel more productive and motivated when you do get back to work within the digital world. Here are just a few small steps you can take to be on your way to a laidback digital detox.

Bit by bit

When your phone is within arms reach 24/7, it may seem almost impossible to cut back, never mind a detox. So start off easily, think of it as going to the gym. If you’ve never been to the gym before, you’re not going to walk away from a 45 minute spin class with a pep in your step. Trust me on that, I couldn’t walk for five days. You’re best off taking it slowly and building up your strength. So, start with fifteen minutes. Try for just fifteen minutes to peel yourself away from your phone. During that time, make a conscious effort not to pick it up, even pretend you’re back in the height of the nineties, so it doesn’t exist. If that works, try an additional five minutes next time, and so on. Before you know it, you won’t feel the need to refresh Instagram every 30 seconds.

Don’t let the ‘little internet’ pull you in

When you’re at work, you probably take advantage of both the big internet and the little internet. The big internet being your actual computer screen, whether you’re compiling reports or scheduling social media posts. While the little internet is on your phone, scrolling through Instagram. Working between the two can sometimes become a bit of a habit, but this can easily be cut down. Try keeping your phone in your bag for even the first hour of the day. Then, once it makes its way to your desk, leave it facing downwards so your eyes aren’t constantly drawn to it. That way, rather than trying to do two things at once on two different screens, focus on one before moving to another. Twitter will still be there the next time you pick up your phone, promise.

Actually be out of the office

When you work in a digital field, there’s that constant thought that you should always be on. Always ready when the next online trend appears, the first to respond to emails, or the first to know how your company’s analytics are performing. But being always on can really take its toll on you, whether you feel it or not. Take one step away by simply being out of office, when you’re out of office. Turn off your email push notifications, it may seem as if the world could end, but that’s only a clearer sign that you need to do exactly this. Especially when you’re on your holliers, relax and enjoy those mimosas! Don’t forget, if it really is urgent, they can call. Now, chill.

Make a bet with yourself

If you have an iPhone, chances are you’ve received that pesky little notification to let you know, down to the minute, how much time you’ve spent on each and every app. Each week, make a bet with yourself that the time spent on your phone will be less than the previous week. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, it’s still an improvement. That’s just five minutes less time spent replying to emails of a Sunday morning, and five minutes less of checking impression rates when you’re tucked up in bed on Thursday night. Now, let’s be honest, over a whole week that sounds more than doable. After all, who better to be in competition with than yourself? So check out your weekly screen time, and get betting. If you’re on Android, you can download a screen time app that’ll do the exact same job.

End the day offline

Let’s get real: how many times have you promised yourself an early night, only to find you’re still glued to your phone over an hour later? I bet it’s more times than you can count. Make a real effort to get off the internet for half an hour before bed. Even just chill and watch TV, but don’t give into Insta-temptation. Let your mind be cleared of all things digital, whether that be ideas for your next online campaign, or the stats of your latest piece. Give it time, and you’ll see how much more relaxed you are by the time you go to bed, and how much quicker you actually drift off to sleep. There’ll be no more counting sheep, that’s for sure.

Just like with anything else you feel the urge to cut back on, it’s not exactly going to be easy, but clearly it’s not all good for you – otherwise, there’d be no need for less of it in your life, right? But while it’s not easy, it is simple.

Of course, sometimes work will be more hectic than usual and there’ll be more of a reason for you to take a fast-track ticket to the digital world. But no matter what, there’s no real reason it should be taking over every minute of your day and jolting you awake during the night. Thanks, but no thanks.

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