Monthly Archives: July 2015

Can We Truly Be “Unplugged”?

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Street art in NYC from my vacation.

Reflecting back to last week when I was on vacation, I really thought I would keep my iPhone usage to a minimum. At least that’s what I told myself before I left. Realizing now that I failed miserably has made me question if in 2015 and beyond, can we ever be completely unplugged?

From taking pictures, to posting on Facebook and Instagram for family and friends to see, to using the GPS more than I’d like to admit and relying on alarms to signal where I needed to be next- and let’s not forget listening to Spotify- I’m pretty sure I used my iPhone more on vacation than when I’m at home.

If you are going on a late-summer vacation, or just trying to limit your daily screen time (a digital detox if you will), here are some things to consider:

  • Pick a time to check your notifications: Research shows that the majority of mobile phone users check their devices up to 150 times per day- on average every six minutes. I’ve found that it’s easier to set aside certain times throughout the day where you check your email, social, news, etc. You will know the best times to set for yourself more than I do- but for me, checking once in the morning, once after lunch and once in the evening have proven best for my sanity!
  • Manage the biggest “time wasters”: If you don’t have the willpower to *not* check your phone, there are several tools that can help! Selfcontrol will block access to specific websites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail- all set by you, for whatever period of time you think will be best for your productivity. And if that’s not enough, Freedom will disable your Internet connection completely for the specific time frame you choose.
  • Power down for one hour a day: If you read this and thought, only one hour? Then by all means, power down for more! But if you’re constantly connected- start out by taking an hour, either the first hour of your day or the last hour of the day, and enjoy some peace and quiet without the digital distractions. Use this time to do something that makes you happy- take a walk, do yoga, play with your kids, read a book, meditate, cook– whatever happiness looks like for you– just do more of that! I promise you won’t regret it.

I hope these suggestions help you to appreciate the people and places around you. And who knows- you just might start to see the world a little differently when you put your phone down and keep your head up!