Going into the new year, we all tend to make lots of goals and resolutions for ourselves. Some of you may be making the resolution to take a break from technology, so I thought I would share my own experience of doing just that.
While I was away for my wedding I was surrounded by all of my friends and loved ones, and I realized how nice it was to have a week away from the real world to enjoy my time with all the people I love. Realistically, I won’t be able to get a week away with friends and family again for a while. But I thought there may be ways I could enjoy the fun moments I get each week a little bit more.
I love my work, but it does require me to be on my computer, my phone, and social media constantly. Working from my phone also makes it very easy to work all the time or have work become an easy distraction when I’m out with friends. This can cause a lot of stress, and I realized I was missing out on fun, memorable times because I was so distracted. After my wedding weekend, I decided I wanted to take a break from social media and technology. I knew I couldn’t quit completely, I still have to work, but I found ways that helped me cut back enough that I could enjoy the moments I used to miss out on.
Keeping these 5 things in mind helped me cut out technology in a realistic way that I could maintain:
- Set a schedule. Look at your work schedule each week and set a cutoff time. After the cutoff time put away your computer and your phone. Be strict with yourself. It will be tempting to go back at first, but if you stick to it this schedule will soon become second nature.
- Think ahead. Before your cutoff time, wrap up all loose ends. You don’t want to have an excuse to go back to your phone or computer because you forgot to do something. Set any alarms you may need for the morning, go over your emails one last time and make sure you sent everything you needed for the day. This will prevent you from interrupting your tech break, and will also keep you from being worried or distracted when hanging out with friends and family.
- Turn on Screen Time. If you have an iPhone you can go to your settings and turn on Screen Time. This setting will help you in multiple ways. This will track how long you’re on your phone each day. If a cutoff time doesn’t work for you, you can use this setting to create a limit for yourself. Set an amount of time you’ll allow yourself to be on the phone each day, once you reach that time you cut it off. This setting also allows you to schedule downtime and limit what apps can be used after a certain time. This is great if you want to have your phone available for calls but not be tempted by other apps during your tech break time. I believe Android also has this setting, and there are also screen time apps you can download which have similar features.
- Tell your friends and family. Tell the people around you about your tech break. This will be another way to be held accountable and prevent them from pushing you to use more technology. My friends are there to call me out, and they know if they text after 8 PM during the week I may not answer right away, and they understand why.
- Make the most of your tech-free time. If you cut yourself off from technology and don’t plan to fill that time with something enriching, you’re more likely to go back to your phone or computer as a crutch. You have planned to have this free time, so fill it with new experiences. Get a couple of great books to read, write, paint, cook, take a fun class, or schedule a date with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
These are the few things that have helped me take a break from technology and approach it realistically. It’s not always easy, and forgive yourself if you slip up, but remember these tips and you’ll get some hours of tech-free, distraction-free enjoyment!