Do I Need A Digital Detox?
Well I’ve 2 (extremely frustrating) answers for you;
1️⃣ It depends
2️⃣ Only you know the answer to that!
Told you they’d be frustrating but I find that those are actually the answer to most questions. Why? Because we are all so different & unique, our experiences all differ and we have different personality types, traits, aims & objectives.
I think the first thing you need to examine is why you have perhaps asked the question in the first place. Are you concerned about the impact that tech is currently having in your world? If the answer to that question is YES then it’s something that absolutely needs addressing. If you feel provoked into doing it because it’s something everyone is talking about then it’s good to explore the impact of tech in your world but if that examination returns the results that you’re happy with things as they are then you don’t need to take any action.
Let’s dive in….
Why Have You Considered It?
OK, let’s start here.
Tech is an inevitable in life now. It’s accepted that it forms parts of people’s habits and behaviours. It’s wonderful that we can be connected with the world and that we have so much information at our finger tips.
It can also be overwhelming that we have so much connection and information at our finger tips.
ADD to that that as an entrepreneur your work & life merges through the medium of tech then it can be complicated. My mother in law once said to me “I don’t think anyone knows just how hard you work” to which my reply was “the consensus is that I just piss about on Facebook all day” 😂
Life & business, my hobbies, my learning & development (in all areas of my life), my connection with friends & family all collide in the digital space. I do have some sense of separation ~ I never use my personal profile on Facebook for business (only posts I’m tagged into that are business related make their way there), I have a personal Instagram account and I have a personal email address. I have ensured some degrees of separation to ensure that I have space to be the consumer rather than always be a consumer/creator.
So when we consider a digital detox it’s usually on the basis that we feel that the way we are currently navigating the digital space is having a negative impact on us in some way;
➡️ are you haemorrhaging time in the vortex that is social media
➡️ are you living vicariously through the experience of others rather than getting out and living your life
➡️ are you stuck in a negative cycle of comparing yourself to others
➡️ does the post that you consume on Social Media impact you and leave you feel shite
➡️ do you find yourself always gravitating to your phone
➡️ do you sit stuck to your phone when you could be interacting, engaging and present with the important people in your life
➡️ do you dress up pissing about on Social Media as working
➡️ could you be doing more fulfilling things with the time you waste (<< subjective to what wasting time means on social media)
OK, so I reckon we could all answer yes to a some of those sometimes. My view is that it depends on the level and consistency of that impact and I think it’s probably better to look at changing your every day Social Media habits than hit a detox and then return to using Social Media in a way that created your need for a detox in the first place!
Creating Good Habits Around Social Media
I absolutely believe that this is the key to Social Media and being online having a positive impact rather than a negative impact on your world.
Clean Up Your Sightline
This would be the very first place to start when it comes to your experience on Social Media. Social Media uses an algorithm and it serves you up things that it believes you are interested in. It’s the ultimate echo chamber. The things fed to me in my Social Media feed will be massively different to the things fed to you. I have a wildly different Social Media feed to my husband for example. His feed suggests and serves up content that never hits my sightline. It’s interesting to investigate someone’s newsfeed (with their permission of course) to see just how wildly different it is. It gives you an appreciation of just how the algorithms and echo chambers/confirmation biases work within Social Media platforms.
If you’re interested to start to clean up your feed or want to know a little more about what Facebook thinks you’re interested in then take a look at this, it will blow your mind….
Rather than being pissed about the things that are in your Social Media newsfeed, do something about it. That family member who’s always sharing shit, snooze them (you don’t have to “unfriend” anyone & cause a family rift, just mute them from your world), that advert that pisses you off – tell Facebook it’s “irrelevant” and you won’t be served them (I get ZERO stupid weight loss product ads, quick fixes or older lady problem kinda ads despite probably being firmly in that demo-graph because Facebook knows not to feed them my way).
Taking control of your newsfeed means you get to see the stuff you wanna see.
On Instagram there’s a new provision where you can only see posts from the pages you follow. Hit the word Instagram in the top left of your feed and there’s a drop down menu (for most people as it’s being rolled out) that allows you to change your feed experience to “following” or “favourite” and therefore you’ll only see what you wanna see.
My Feed, my rules! (well to some extent).
Consider The Time You Spend
Rather than letting Social Media suck time from your world, you take control. Be a conscious consumer. What is your purpose of being on Social Media right now?
Know what kinda behaviours you have when using Social Media.
➡️ Do you have a piss about/procrastination behaviour?
➡️ Where do you fall down holes not to resurface for hours?
➡️ Where do you waste time?
Be prepared to give yourself some boundaries when using Social Media. Be prepared to set time limits for any piss about behaviour. Be prepared to turn it off.
Take Time Regularly To Not Be Online
Move your phone away from you.
Leave your phone somewhere where you won’t just reach for it.
Have a tech time cut off at the end of the day so that you can wind down and go to sleep. I generally don’t spend any time online after 9pm (often earlier) so that I’m not going from being overstimulated by tech to trying to get to sleep. There are occasions where I’ll leave my phone in another room so that I’m not simply gravitating towards a quick flick when I’m watching TV or interacting with friends and family. We don’t have tech at meal times (often much to my kids disdain). I don’t go on Social Media until after the dog walk on a morning.
It would be so easy to grab my phone the minute I woke up, keep it right next to me all day long, respond immediately to everything (which we will get on to in a minute) and not come away from it’s attachment to you until sleep time. BUT it’s your responsibility! Take responsibility, you’re a grown up!
The Desperation To Respond
Social Media wants us to be “responsive.” It prods and provokes us with notifications and messages. It wants us to be on there. The more we are on Social Media the more we are meeting the business objectives of the platforms. Their business objectives include every individual spending as much time as possible on their platforms because they are selling advertising within those platforms and they want you to be attach to their medium #truthbomb. The other truth bomb is that if you’re only curating and creating content for Social Media then you’re working more to met their business objectives than your own business objectives but that’s a story for another day.
Anyway, we wanna be responsive. We’ve been trained that being responsive is good. We panic is we don’t respond. We panic if we aren’t present all the time.
This is a trained behaviour.
It’s not the truth.
Set expectations, use the auto responders on your messages.
I will always tell my 1-2-1 clients that my inbox is ALWAYS open to them and that I will always respond as soon as I am able. It may not be immediately, it may be when I’m next free. I try to get back to people in the same day but will also let them know when they can expect a response from me if that’s not the case. I’m diving into your stuff this afty” or “I’m tied up today, I’ll be back with you in the morning.”
The boundary often isn’t that of clients/customers. The boundary we need to create is often with ourselves. We have a false belief that the sky will fall in if we don’t respond immediately. I always tell people your business isn’t milk, it won’t go off if you leave it on the side.
What About Holidays?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for a decade now. I’ve used Social Media as one of my dominant connection tools within my business throughout that time. I’ve been on holiday a fair few times during that time. So I’ve tried;
➡️ working on holiday
➡️ not working at all on holiday
➡️ checking in a couple of times per day on holiday.
The whole working on holiday wasn’t what I wanted. It meant that I was connected through the working day to my work and just didn’t get the opportunity to be rested, rejuventated, recharged.
I’ve taken a total digital hiatus on holiday before and firstly I felt like I couldn’t be a normal person. I couldn’t check in with my hobbies & interests or listen to podcasts/audio books or read articles, kindle books etc. AND, jeez Louise, the notifications when I did switch my phone on where horrific! It total destroyed every bit of relaxation I had had on holiday and concluded the holiday with me feeling in a huge hole!
What do I do now ~ I blend. I take my emails and business page off my phone, I log off my business instagram account and I can be a consumer rather than a creator on holiday. Twice a day ~ morning and before my evening meal I will respond to messages, deal with emails, check in on my groups and platforms and process anything that needs dealing with. It means that I feel amazing. It doesn’t impact the family (as they are asleep on a morning) and the kids usually have tech time when we have showers and cool down time etc before our evening meal anyway.
I’ve found my perfect blend!!
What’s your perfect blend?
So, Should I Have A Digital Detox?
For me the answer is always ~ why make it all or nothing? There’s so many positives to the online world (if you use it positively). The BIGGER ISSUE to deal with will always be ~ how are you using it day to day.
I suppose as I write this it reminds me of the quote building a life that you don’t need a holiday from and instead replace that with use Social Media in a way that you don’t need a grandoise break from it, have breaks from it consistently, use it productively & with purpose and clean up what you’re actually seeing is miles more important.
Use it positively ALWAYS
Use it productively OFTEN
Piss about on it OCCASIONALLY
and differenate between being a creator and a consumer!
I’d love to know your thoughts on this one, dive into the comments box, let’s chat….
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