How to Do a Complete Digital Detox
If you haven’t read my article on how I broke up with social media for 18 months, you can read it here. These are all mini experiments I’ve tried at one point or another, but my biggest tip is that you can stack all these tips on top of one another. I recommend starting small and if you find that you’re still tuning into social media on autopilot, stack another tip. Do it until you can get your digital detox fix.
Curious on how I build habits?
I use a method called habit stacking to create less resistance and more consistency.
There are ten tips I’ll like to share with you on how to do a complete digital detox.
#1 Log off of all your social media accounts
Sometimes it’s so easy to open up your social feed and scroll through it because you have it on auto sign in. What if you were to log off all your social media accounts every time?
When I did this, I realized that every time I opened Instagram, I just went through my Instagram feed 15 minutes ago. By logging off every time, this creates a bit more resistance when you have to re-enter your username and password. Every time you try to log in, you’ll realize you only checked it a few minutes ago.
#2 Put your social media apps inside a folder.
This doesn’t only apply to social media, but any app that you have an urge to open all too often. When you place all your apps inside a folder, the app becomes out of sight. When you have to go through an extra layer to open an app, you’re less likely to open it.
#3 Move everything to the next page on your iPhone.
I know some people only have one page of apps and then others have eleven. No matter how many you have, move your app to the second page of your phone. Again, this not only puts the app in the “out of sight, out of mind” mode, but it creates more barriers and resistance to opening your app.
If you discover that moving it to the second page doesn’t help, move it to the fifth or sixth page, depending on how many pages you have.
#4 Deactivate your social media accounts altogether.
When I wanted to do a social media detox, deactivating my accounts was the most frequent method I used. If you’ve been thinking of deactivating your accounts, chances are you should totally do it. Whether you deactivate it for 30 days or six months, it will clear your mind and allow you to move more mindfully throughout your day.
#5 Unfollow everyone on social media.
Now this one can be a scary one. Unfollow everyone? What?! Are you kidding me?
I can totally understand your reaction to this and that’s why this method is the fifth one in this article. I listed them in terms of severity. If you only need a semi detox, start with tip number uno. Move down the list as you need to.
But here’s the deal: when you unfollow everyone on social media, you are making a huge declaration to yourself. That means even if you log in, move your app to the next page on your iPhone, or re-activate your accounts, there’s no one on your feed to look at.
Sure, following people makes keeping up with each others’ lives easy, but sometimes it’s too easy, isn’t it?
When you unfollow everyone, you’re ultimately declaring that your inner voice is louder than others and you also have a life to live outside of social media.
I shared my experience about deleting and unfollowing everyone on social media over here. (insert link)
#6 Close all your tabs.
If you want to do a digital detox, see how many tabs you have open at once. I’m so guilty of this one, especially since I have multiple blogs to run these days. I have three different Chrome windows open at once and at least 5-7 tabs open for each Chrome window. That’s 21 tabs open. Crazy!
I use to have double the number of tabs open per window so 21 is actually not so bad. But the key here is to close out any tabs that you’re not going to use for the day. I personally have my gmail accounts, Pinterest accounts, and Trello boards open for good reasons.
I manually pin for both my blogs throughout the day so Pinterest is always open. Trello is like Google Calendar for me and all my blogging and life projects and tasks are listed there.
But I’ll close out any article tabs that I haven’t finished reading by the end of the day.
#7 Unsubscribe from emailing lists.
I’m part of way too many emailing lists. Lately when the European Union Data Protection Act took place, my inbox was literally flooded with new emails about new privacy protection policies everyday. I was completely overwhelmed.
And that’s when I said to myself, “enough is enough.” I went through and deleted everyone whom:
- I don’t want to receive emails from anymore
- I don’t even remember why I signed up for their list
- I know longer vibe or connect with them
We’re growing human beings so it’s totally okay if you don’t connect with certain things, people, or brands over time. When you’re in another phase in your life, you need to clean out the old energy. You need that detox to create a better you.
#8 Delete all random photos from your iPhone.
There’s a few reasons why you’ll want to do this:
- Most of the time, we take a few shots of something to get the best shot for Instagram. Delete the random photos that didn’t make it to Instagram
- Instagram makes a copy of your photo to your Camera Roll once it’s shared publicly. Do you really need that extra photo taking up space?
- There are simply memories you don’t want to be reminded of. Hit delete.
- It clears up more space on your phone for other things
#9 Set boundaries and a time for replying to messages and emails.
I turn off all notifications on my phone these days. I did get some mild complaints from friends who was wondering what happened. In all honesty, I do feel bad, but unapologetic because I really have other priorities in life than to be getting disturbed by small talk everyday.
My phone is always turned on silent -- though I did this because I started receiving too many spam calls.
You can set certain hours to reply to messages and emails. Twice a day for emails (once in the morning and once in the late afternoon) is great.
Another reason why I set boundaries and certain times to reply to messages is that I find it easier to follow my intuition when there are no interruptions.
This goes without saying, but you can focus and enter into your creative flow better as well. Try turning off all notifications on your phone for a week. This means no badges, no vibrations, no nudges, no banners, etc.
#10 Limit the time you spend on your laptop each day.
I blog, I work, and I watch TV on my laptop. I know that sounds way more unhealthy than I’d like to admit. But when this happens, it’s good to start drawing boundaries with your laptop.
How much time do you want to limit yourself to your laptop each day? I can’t tell you this because I find this difficult for myself too. I work and play on the same laptop so it’s difficult to draw the line. But if you don’t work on your laptop, drawing a time limit boundary is much easier.