Why I need a digital detox bracelet
In the last few years, without realising it, I was deeply addicted to my phone to a point where it affected my personal life and my ability to live in the moment. It wasn’t dramatic but I felt more and more that I was missing something. I needed a digital detox.
You need to realise that digital addiction is so sneaky that you might not even realise it until it’s too late and is too ingrained in your lifestyle to bother you.
How my digital addiction manifested
As soon as I was waiting for something for a few seconds I quickly grabbed my phone out of my pocket and turned the screen on. It seems like I was no longer able to enjoy and embrace the tiny pauses sprinkled throughout my day. I had to flip through my newsfeed, check if any new articles were listed in my RSS reader or do any other things that could fill these gaps. I forgot how to slowly enjoy the feeling of waiting and let my mind wander.
At home, I was even looking at my latests app updates while my kids were taking their baths. I was looking at my phone first thing in the morning and last thing before I went to sleep. I was even browsing the web while a TV show had some downtime in the storyline.
Are you addicted?
While reading this you might recognise some of your behaviours and might still think that it’s not that bad. Like any addiction our mind is reassuring us and telling us that we’re in control. But when your phone vibrates and you stop everything to quickly look at it, I wonder who’s really in control.
A great way to measure how addicted you are, is to try to do a digital detox and see how hard it is for you to disconnect. When you’re addicted as I was to my phone, it’s really hard to voluntarily stop looking at it without adding barriers.
Here’s a half-day digital detox challenge you can try tomorrow:
- Turn off your phone as soon as you get home
- Place it in a box, a drawer or give it to someone you trust
- Let it there for the whole evening and all night
- No cheat! You can’t use a tablet, a laptop or another phone during that time.
- The next morning when you leave for work, don’t turn it on and place it in your pocket
- Turn it on only as you arrive at work
After this challenge you’ll be able to experience your level of addiction to your mobile phone. If this short detox that only lasted around 12h was hard for you, you need a break from technology quickly! Remember this 12h of detox included your sleep, so the amount of waking hours was rather small.
Related article : Are your a digital addict? 4 warning signs
My evening mobile detox
Since last week, I decided to do a digital detox every night so I can spend more quality time with my family. For this daily evening detox, I decided first to put my phone on airplane mode and place it on the on a counter as soon as I get home. I had the right to work on my laptop but only for fixed amount of time when the kids were asleep. I couldn’t peek at my phone for any reason, if I wanted to check something online I had to wait for my planned laptop time.
But my old habits sometime kicked back and sometime I took my phone to look at something. Every reasons were good, the addiction was fooling me. I needed something to help me stick to my commitment. A box to place my phone with a lock on it could have worked but I wanted something simpler and more symbolic.
My digital detox bracelet
I decided to wear a mala wooden bracelet as my digital detox reminder. As crazy as it sounds, this physical object helps me follow through on my commitment. It’s a constant reminder that I need to live the moment and that I should never succumb to any ‘good reasons’ to look at my phone.
After a few weeks I can say that I truly enjoy my evening digital detox and my digital detox bracelet. It really helps me live by one of the four Offline Manifesto values : Real life interactions over online distractions.
In the near future I’ll probably get rid of the wooden bracelet trick as my digital detox will most likely turn into a habit.