It’s time to start your detox!
The past few weeks we’ve done prep work so you can take a 30 day break from problematic technology in your life. To recap, this included…
- Talking about why digital detoxes/decluttering are helpful and identifying the tech from which you may want to take break.
- Making some ground rules for your detox and choosing tools to support you during the 30 day period.
- Coming up with alternate activities to do when you have the urge to use tech or when you don’t know how to fill your newly-acquired free time.
Starting TODAY it’s time to put these plans in action and kick off your 30 day detox/declutter.
The first two weeks of this detox will be the most challenging. Hang in there! Answers and insights will likely come to you in the moments of silence that occur in the next 30 days. Make sure you listen to them.
Exploring the wide open spaces
While your detox is underway, we’ll be shifting focus to talk about how to recalibrate your life. This will include clarifying what it is you value, examining the content you consume online and off, and, (our focus for this week) exploring ways to build better balance between your online and offline lives.
As we discussed last week, over the next 30 days more time and space will open up in your life. At first, you should concentrate on filling these openings with the things from your list of alternate activities. However, once you become more comfortable with the process of switching out one habit for another, you can start to become more strategic in your approach.
Just as with a physical detox, as you remove things from your “diet” that may have previously contributed to you feeling bad, you’ll want to also start adding things specifically because they’ll make you feel better.
A new paradigm
From a wellness perspective, there are five activities that tend to get neglected when we’re overly reliant, dependent, or distracted by technology. (Coincidentally, they’re the same five activities most often shown to lead to increased health, happiness, and satisfaction with our lives.)
- Deep thought: Time spent reflecting, planning, meditating, praying, assessing, or just daydreaming.
- Deep work: Time spent on work in a “state of distraction-free concentration, pushing your cognitive capabilities to their limit.” Deep Work may including writing, planning, innovating, creating, or problem-solving. (Basically the opposite of busy work during which you can multitask.)
- Hobbies/Art/Crafts: Time spent on things you enjoy, that challenge your intellect and delight your brain.
- Face-to-Face Encounters: Time spent in the company of, (or in community with) other people in non virtual environments.
- Exercise/Time in Nature: Time spent using your body and/or interacting with the natural environment that surrounds you.
Obviously there is overlap in these categories. For example, spending time in nature often leads to moments of deep thought and creating art often becomes an exercise in deep work. The point isn’t to parse out the details between these five categories, but to consider them as a collection — the “ingredients” from which you can start cooking up a more healthy, balanced, and sustainable life for yourself.
As you progress during your 30 day detox, it will be important to augment your list of alternate activities with projects or activities related to any of these five categories.
It’s okay if you use technology as part of this work, (for example, using Google Maps to chart a new hiking course, or Meetup to find and join a new club.) Just make sure the technology in service to the activity, not the activity itself.
This week’s exercises
- First, start your detox, (right this very moment, if possible.) It will probably feel awkward or uncomfortable at first. That’s OK and to be expected! Trust in your rules, tools, and list of alternate activities to guide you through the rough patches. If they don’t, and you get off track, simply tweak your plans and try again.
- Secondly, assess if your life feels deficient or unbalanced in any of the five areas listed above. If so, start adding ideas to your list of alternate activities that may help you address them. For example, if you feel you’re not logging much face-to-face time with people lately, maybe add “schedule lunches with Lori, Jon, and Tom” to your list for the next 30 days and take the time you’d normal spend on your favorite tech to email those friends instead.
- Lastly, if you’ve not traditionally allotted any time for deep thought, try to add some this week, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day. Some ideas include daily prayer, daily meditation, daily journaling, or perusing a daily reader. If you’re not sure what to think about, begin by reflecting on how this detox feels for you.
Congratulations on reaching the half-way mark on this eCourse! I appreciate you going on this journey with me.
Next week we’ll continue talking about how to use the free time that opens up during your detox, making sure you start filling it with activities that align with your core values. I look forward to seeing you then.
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