How To Reset Your Technology Addiction
I recently had the opportunity to take a vacation to a island full of beaches, amazing food, and most of all, desperately needed rest. As an entrepreneur, vacations can be tricky - at least, true ones. Our last two attempts have been met with overflowing drains at our coffeehouse and unexpected staff troubles, making our “rest” a tad bit punctuated. Most thankfully, this trip’s return was met with the beautiful sound of silence.
The biggest facilitator of this rest was actually quite surprising to me. It was not the lack of emergencies that enabled my transition into waves of rest, but rather what was missing from my daily routine. What is so surprising is that this thing actually promises us a better life, a more full life, an easier life; but with those progressions are also regressions and there are sacrifices to be made for them.
I am talking about technology.
Most specifically, that piece of the future that occupies the empty spaces of your pocket, your purse, maybe even part of your soul?
For five days, I did not make calls, I did not send texts, I did not check my calendar or email, I did not even check the weather. My smartphone became merely a camera - to document real-life adventures.
And you know what? It was incredibly freeing. I read books, looked at the water, swam in the ocean, talked to my husband and friends, explored, tried new foods, wrote in a journal, examined the stars. My eyes were drawn upwards instead of downwards toward a beaming electronic device.
Now, I realize that total disconnection is not an option for real life, and that is not what I am advocating. Smartphones are important and helpful in our world. But there are some steps to be taken. Answer this question: does your day start and end with a smartphone? If it does, start here:
Ever find yourself on your phone, aimlessly opening apps with no real agenda? How about just turning it off an moving on to something that matters, or at least something that is life-giving?
Ever go to bed, phone in hand, and immediately open Facebook or Instagram? Just quit. When was the last time you got on Facebook and felt better when you shut it down than when you opened it up? Set up alerts for birthdays and events and then just get rid of the rest. Aimless scrolling does not lead to a life well-lived, or a night well-rested.
When was the last time you sat in a restaurant or coffeeshop, waiting for a friend, without getting your phone out? I dare you to try it. Look up, start a conversation, take in your surroundings. Appreciate moments more without the constant distraction of beaming electronic devices.
When that friend arrives, do you leave your phone on the table right-side-up, begging for a hit of dopamine from an alert to interrupt your conversation with the real-life person in front of you? Try something else: face your phone down, or heck, put it in your bag. This not only enables an uninterrupted conversation, but tells your friend that they are more important than whatever pops up on your device.
These are just a few things to try, to jumpstart a technology reset. I encourage you to try one or two and see some improvements to your productivity, your relationships, maybe even your health. Reset your addiction.
As I come home from five technology-free days, I have a new resolve to look down less and look up more. I am promising myself less scrolling and more living, I am going to take a dance class, read more books, and call my friends instead of commenting on their newsfeeds. How will you start?