1. Be Present
Begin with the most obvious things, turn off the phone, close the laptop, turn off the TV, walk away from the video games. And of course, that means taking a sabbatical from social media, mindless internet use, TV and radio as background noise and instant messaging.
The idea is to jumpstart your digital detox.
There are two ways to do this: All at once (the rip the Band-Aid method), or a little at a time (the stepping down method).
If you decide to go the all at once method, you are going to take a nice, deep breath, count to three, and cut yourself off from the majority of technology at the same time, for a set period of time.
Or if you choose the stepping down method, you will limit the amount of time with technology per day, or to simply stop using one particular technology for a while.
Do what works with your lifestyle and personality.
2. Make Plans & Set Goals
Luck favors the prepared, as the old saying goes. Decide what you will detox from and how, and you’ll avoid most issues. Are you able turn off your phone in the evening? Will your lifestyle allow you to stop checking email at, say 5? If you turn off the television at 6 p.m., what will you do, instead? Read? Write? Exercise? Unless you’re extremely focused and aware, you’ll find technology creeping into your life.
The Plan. Figure out when and where you find your pitfalls. I know my weak spot is Facebook first thing in the morning. I check in while sipping my coffee. I’m a member of about a dozen Facebook groups; and if I’m not vigilant, my morning is lost. My new rule is when the coffee's done, I’m done. Where are your weak spots? What is a time suck for you? What are the activities, that when you do them, have you blinking at the clock in disbelief?
The Goals. What next? What will you do without technology? What will be your new focus? Work? Family? Hobbies? Exercise? My morning productivity soared once I set hard limits on social media. What have you been wanting to do that you just don’t seem to have the time or energy to accomplish? Can you start working on them in your free time? Be as protective of this new free time as a grizzly bear; the more you use your free time to make your life wisely, the less you’ll want to use technology.
3. Be Happy
Social media brings people together, but can also cause real isolation. How many times have you thought: social media makes me feel jealous? social media makes me feel lonely? social media makes me feel ugly? social media makes me feel inadequate? social media makes me feel bad?
Repeat after me: the grass is always greener in someone else’s Instagram feed.
Delete every single feed which makes you feel like something is missing in your life. Life's too short to feel awful and jealous. But know this: hardly anyone posts updates about feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Or, if they do, it’s wrapped up as a humble-brag. If you look away from your screen, look at your life and feel “less-than”...it’s time to detox.
Makeover Your Real Life
There’s a galaxy of difference between feeling inspired and feeling “less-than”. The feeds which inspire you to live bigger, better or smarter, are the feeds you keep. But guess what?
You'll now have the time to make your life better. The best way to do that is to eliminate the feeds which make you feel awful and keep the ones which make you inspired to do more in real life. And then do it. Real life always, always, always trumps digital life. It’s better to fumble your way through real life than to live vicariously digitally.