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Digital Detox challenge
Busy week? Feeling tired? Eye’s like squares?
How many hours have you spent screen gazing this week?
Why not go on a digital detox this weekend?
The work of behaviorist BF Skinner back in the ‘50s revealed the strongest way to reinforce a learned behavior was to reward on a random schedule (a variable ratio schedule). Tech companies understand this and how to trigger the dopamine hit that keeps us hooked on apps. Dopamine is known as the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” molecule it’s the “fun transmitter”. The processes, images, little red numbers and notifications are all designed to create ‘compulsion loops’ using ‘hijacking techniques’.
I don’t mean to bad mouth technology or social media (I’d be a bit of a hypocrite now wouldn’t I) but I do think it’s important that we step back from time to time and a digital detox is a great way to do that. To choose to be more conscious of your surroundings and connect with family and friends in person.
I wonder how many random strangers could have become friends and how much awesome scenery has gone unnoticed. Who needed a helping hand from the community but could only connect with the crown of someone’s head or glazed eyes – a sea of people totally absorbed in tech intoxicated mindlessness.
How about a weekend of human connection and mindfulness?
Human beings tend to procrastinate and are susceptible to inertia. Tech companies want us to get distracted and lose track of time so they find ways to grab our attention on our devices. They do this very simply and subtly, by creating ‘nudges’. This is why it’s so hard to switch off and why a ‘digital detox’ has become a thing. It’s very similar to a nutritional detox, if you go on a juice diet but eat a doughnut halfway through, you’re unlikely to see the benefits.
It really helps to have a why, timeframe, plan and commitment.
In order to fuel your own commitment the most powerful ‘why’ for you isn’t in this blog, it’s inside of you. Take a moment to ponder your personal why….
To add to that you might be interested to know that a digital detox:
When will you start and finish?
Will you post on your wall or newsfeed to let people know exactly when you are switching off and when you’ll be back? What can you do in advance to prevent comments, distractions and the nagging urge to - just quickly check?
Perhaps you’ll choose to change all statuses to unavailable or temporarily off grid.
Setting up an ‘out of office’ on your email account with a phone number for emergencies can feel very reassuring.
With all of that in mind make a commitment to see it through.
A word of warning: it might be harder than you think! Whilst it sounds like a good idea with a host of benefits most of us have become so addicted to digital devices, stimulation, feedback, validation , dopamine etc. that you might feel lost. It’s normal, stick with it and don’t judge yourself for these things but be aware of the thoughts and feelings.
You might want to create a list of things to do instead, here are a few suggests but I recommend making a list that’s personal to you:
Find a new recipe and cook up a feast
Do something creative
Go for a bike ride / walk / run / hike / swim
Roll your sleeves up and give the place a deep clean
Organise a social event
Go on a road trip somewhere you’ve never been before
Visit a park / theatre / gallery / museum
Visit a spa
I hope you enjoy the experience and feel fully revitalized on the other side!
I’d love to hear your digital detox stories firstname.lastname@example.org
How did you find the experience?
Where there any surprising benefits?
What came out of the space?