How to Stop Internet Addiction with 83 Proven Techniques to Create the Ultimate Digital Detox

Posted By Stephen Bennett 08 Apr 2016

How to beat Internet Addiction with the most advanced digital detox plan… backed by science.  Read this and you’re life won’t be the same again. 

How to beat internet addictionYou may not believe it but you’re almost certainly suffering from some form of Internet Addiction Disorder. I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but compulsive use of the Internet is on the rise.

Okay, so you may not be one of the 480 million people globally who are suffering from the worst form of Internet Addiction. China has classified it as a clinical disorder and is searching for an Internet Addiction cure.

But you’ll almost certainly feel a pang of anxiety if your access to the Internet was taken away. We live and breathe the Internet. It’s sometimes hard to remember what the world was like without it.

Compulsive Internet use is now increasing among the general population. Which means you and me are now no longer in control of when and how we access the Internet. We are more likely to surf the web as a reflex action or for a quick fix. We can no longer defer our Internet gratification and are compelled to browse.

Research also shows that increasing numbers of people are showing signs and symptoms of more serious online addictions. Online porn addiction is now endemic, for instance, and is causing mental health problems in the many men who view it. Internet Addiction is linked to depression. Overuse of the web can also cause anxiety, stressful relationships, and loss of concentration and memory.

The effects of Internet Addiction can be debilitating too. As a result thousands are now seeking treatment. Extreme cases are going for a full digital detox rehab while others are searching online for how to do a digital detox.

No one is immune. Internet Addiction is prevalent among college students, while teenagers are some of the worst affected.

online addiction

But just because you aren’t young any more, doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. Dads and mums are now compulsively checking Facebook, What’s Apping and doing online research or shopping. And we all have stories to tell of how the Internet got between us and a relationship. I was relating some important news to my dad the other day and I expected his full concentration.

Guess what?

He was checking his Facebook feed and he’s in his 60s!

Some studies have suggested that overuse of Facebook can make us unhappy. If you’re in any doubt here’s 9 science-backed reasons to quit Facebook.

It’s no surprise that now more and more of us want to stop or, at least, reduce online distractions and the constant feeling that we never have any time to ourselves.

But how do you get your life back on track and reduce your Internet use?

By undertaking a powerful and advanced digital detox.

Doing a digital detox will change your life for the better, making you significantly happier, more successful and productive.

But where do you find and start a digital detox? How do you keep going in the face of overwhelming digital distractions? And how do you find the most powerful psychological techniques that will help you succeed and avoid a relapse?

You could waste hours and days searching the web trying to find the perfect digital detox. You could spend more time on the Internet to try to cure your bad Internet habits that you did before the problem started.

But you can stop searching. Seriously. Stop browsing now.

You don’t have to waste any more time searching the web for the perfect digital detox guide because I’ve created one for you. I’re created the best researched and most comprehensive digital detox plan on the Internet.

It’s the only plan you’ll need.

How do I know?

I’ve researched the science and tested digital detox ideas and plans to make sure they really work. And I’ve put them all into one essential and accessible guide. It’s full of internet researchtested psychological techniques that will help you reduce your reliance on digital devices. Every digital detox tip that works can be found in this ultimate guide. It’s full of real actionable strategies.

Unlike many digital plans that were written up in an afternoon, I’ve spent months testing and putting together this strategy.

With 82 ideas to beat your digital habit, it will help you take control of your digital life rather than it taking control of you. And it will give you a step-by-step blueprint of psychology tools to help you take back control.

This guide will change your life and put you back in the driving seat, guaranteed.

But how do we know that our plan will help you?

Apart from researching the latest science, we’ve also surveyed more than 600 people to find what worked for them, what techniques they found useful and those they didn’t. We’ve incorporated those findings into our ultimate guide below.

As I said, we’re not leaving anything to chance. This guide really does work.

If you want to take control of your digital life then let’s begin:

 

1. Buy a pen and notepad
digital detox plan

Reducing your reliance on your digital devices – smartphones, tablets and laptops – will require planning and organization as well as somewhere to write down ideas other than on your tablet or smartphone!

Don’t worry, though, about feeling like a Luddite, writing and paper were revolutionary new technologies back in the 320BC and 105AD respectively.

So buy yourself a new pen or pencil and a notebook or folder. You’ll be replacing one new technology with another one.

 

2. You’re not alone

internet addictionYour need and desire to take a break from the Internet isn’t the sign of an unbalanced mind. Disconnecting from the Internet isn’t the equivalent of hermit-like behavior that will put you on the edges of society. It is a normal and healthy desire that brings real benefits.

You are far from being alone. Even leading tech and Internet-based companies are advocating the need for Internet-free time.

Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, believes in a ‘digital sabbath’, while Google chairman Eric Schmidt believes in scheduled ‘on’ and ‘off’ times, and commits to gadget-free meals.

It’s important to know this as it will rocket your motivation levels and self-belief that you can achieve your digital detox.

 

 

3. Define your digital detox


digital detox
Saying that you want to undertake a digital detox is pretty vague. Without a clear idea of what you are trying to do, you’re heading for a fall.

First, what do you mean by a digital detox? Second, how long do you want to do it for? And third, how can you avoid all digital devices when you are likely to be fired if you refuse to switch on your computer at work? It’s pretty rare to have such an understanding boss who will allow you to undertake no Internet-based work at all. So you need to be realistic.

Digital detoxes like many detoxes are associated with long periods of abstinence. While that is good if you want to have a week off completely to reset your self-control, you could also try shorter period first. A digital detox could be something that you do every day, such as not checking emails or social media after 6pm or not checking your phone while you are out with friends. Short digital detoxes can be as effective as long ones depending on the nature of the problem and your goals.

You may wish to do both. A week-long walking holiday away from work and the Internet, completely disconnected, followed by a more disciplined day-to-day use of your digital devices.

So write down using a pen and paper (not a computer or tablet) what sort of digital detox you want to do.

It may help thinking about what problems or issues your overuse of Internet-based devices are causing in your life. This leads neatly into step 4.

 

4. Name the problem

Digital detox cureWhy do you want to do a digital detox? What is the nature of your Internet addiction problem? Have you noticed something about the way you use the Internet and smart devices that is affecting your life? Write down what you think the problem is.

Are you addicted to the Internet or are you just looking for a way to cut online distractions from your life?

It’s also important to understand what the problem is. Browsing the web and looking for new or novel experience or information releases dopamine into the brain’s pleasure centers, resulting in obsessive pleasure-seeking behavior.

Achieving a goal or anticipating a reward, of say, finding new content online or receiving a text, releases dopamine into the brain’s pleasure centers. People can become obsessed and even addicted to wanting to experience this pleasurable reward by constantly checking email or other online activities.

Dopamine starts you seeking, then you get rewarded for the seeking which makes you seek more. Dopamine is also stimulated by unpredictability. When something happens that is not exactly predictable, that stimulates the dopamine system. Our emails and twitters and texts show up, but you don’t know exactly when they will, or who they will be from. It’s unpredictable. This is exactly what stimulates the dopamine system.

The National Institutes of Health suggests the following behaviors are cause for concern:

• If you’re preoccupied with the Internet, even when not on the Internet.
• You feel the need to use the Internet more and more in order to achieve satisfaction.
• You have attempted unsuccessfully to control, cut back, or stop using the Internet.
• You feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when trying to practice self-control with Internet usage.
• You regularly stay online longer than you planned to.

And because the internet covers every aspect of life, you can be just about addicted or have a compulsive need for a whole host of activities such as web browsing, chat rooms, message boards, pornography, social networking sites, games, email, texting and cloud applications.

But it doesn’t mean you have to live without the Internet. That would be crazy. It means you just need to add balance back into your life.  And with our science-based strategies you’ll be able to use the Internet and live a full and rewarding life away from your computer screen or smartphone.

5. Belief is half the answer digital detox

 

When setting out on a digital detox it’s important to believe that what you are doing is the right thing to do and not some odd minority activity. Most of us love our digital devices, but many of us want to use them more selectively because it is a good and healthy way to behave.

Having self-belief is important, if not critical, in order to stick to your goals.

Belief is a powerful driver of change. Studies have shown that people who believe they can beat their addictions have more success replacing entrenched bad habits.

Self-belief gives you motivation, focus, confidence and energy to change. 

Remember that change is possible. Humans adapt to change quickly – it is one of our most effective skills. If the success of our species is dependent upon it, then you should easily be able to belief you can change your bad habits.

 

6. List the negatives

Listing the negative impacts of over using smartphone, tablets and being permanently connected to the Internet can help you focus your mind.

Focusing on the negative impacts can provide motivation because you will make change a priority.

Research has shown that excessive and obsessive usage and preoccupation about technology are associated with negative consequences, such as reduced creativity, depression and disconnection from reality. In fact Internet-use disorder has been added to the list of serious mental health disorders in DSM-IV – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

It can make you can feel more gumpy, feel that you are leading a narrower and less fulfilled life. After all, you’re spending most of it in the virtual reality of an online world.

A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that too much screen time doubles the risk of being hospitalized or dying from heart disease (the leading cause of death in the United States). Another study in the International Journal of Obesity found that digital media consumption may be linked to obesity, sleep disorders, stress, and depression.

Sure, it’s convenient to sit your kids in front of the TV or device while you make dinner.  But the American Academy of Pediatrics says more than two hours of screen time per day is bad for kids. It increases the risk of weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and even developmental delays.

Other negative effects include:

  • Poor impulse control – constantly checking emails or checking for social media updates without any ability to stop yourself from doing this.
  • Procrastination
  • Poor quality friendships
  • Reduced life with fewer interests
  • Poor memory
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of creativity
  • Moods swings
  • Lack of time
  • Narcissistic tendencies

Spend too long creating a special relationship with your Internet connection and your other real relationships will suffer too.

“You can be so preoccupied with your digital devices that it’s all too easy to inadvertently sacrifice time, relationships, sleep, focus, productivity and balance in your life. Many people are not even aware of the toll their extensive usage of digital devices costs them until they have suffered a loss or upset because of this.”

Dr. Yvonne Thomas, psychologist and therapist, Los Angeles.

 

7. List the benefits 

benefits of a digital detox

A digital detox can make you happier, healthier and more productive.

Being in control of your digital life rather than a slave to your digital urges can boost your confidence.  It can also improve your ability to prioritise and organize your life in other areas.

Knowing exactly how your digital detox will benefit you is essential to keeping you on track.

Cutting out digital addictions will stop you from inadvertently sacrificing time, relationships, sleep, focus, productivity and balance in your life.

Turning off is good for you. It recharges the batteries and allows your mind to work unconsciously, helping you to problem solve and be more creative. You’re brain is never off if you are constantly connected to your digital devices.

Expert on happiness, Professor Paul Dolan at the London School of Economics says turning off your smartphones and tablets is the route to contentment. It will help you to concentrate concentrating on your friends and family rather than text messages and emails.

The benefits of undertaking a digital detox include:

  • Feeling more balanced and calm
  • Feeling more rested
  • Sleeping better
  • Enjoy deep concentration, or flow, where you are so absorbed in a long task that occurs when you aren’t distracted
  • Reading more
  • Having more time for relationships
  • Connecting more with those around you and your environment
  • Feeling less anxious
  • Having more time for yourself
  • Being healthier, fitter and happier

8. Learn to exist in the present
online addictions beat them now

The rise of social media has caused a new and geuine psychological disorder – FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is a feeling of anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere. These feelings are often aroused by posts seen on social media. It deprives us of our ability to exist in the present and take pleasure from what is happening now.

According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, habitual Facebook users and those suffering from Facebook addiction were motivated by their need to socialize and connect with others, to escape boredom, and to monitor their friends’ activities (what the authors called surveillance gratification). The study also found a correlation between depression and anxiety and higher social media usage.

Try replacing FOMO with JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out. Blogger Anil Dash coined the term to express the satisfaction of doing things on his own terms.

And also try a very well researched and practiced psychological technique called discounting, where you put the success of others into a wider context so you don’t become envious. So you could think if someone is posting their great day out  on Facebook it suggests they aren’t really enjoying the moment.

 

9. Make a plan

Repeat studies have shown that making a plan by writing down what you want to achieve is significantly more likely to help you stick to your goals than if you don’t write down a plan of action.

Thinking that you would like to go on a digital detox or reduce your use of digital devices isn’t enough.

A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that when people wrote a plan specifying when and where they would undertake a new activity, say exercise, they found that 91% of participants in the study carried through their intention.

Cementing your intention with clear actions, times and location is crucial to success, otherwise your goal to reduce your digital detox will remain vague.

So try this little exercise.

Write down the following sentence:

During the next week, I will not use any digital devices outside of work/ or not use digital devices after 6pm during the week and while I’m at home or out with friends.

You can change the sentence to suit your goal. So if want to give up all digital devices for a week outside of work, write that. Or if you want to set some boundaries, such as not using devices after 8pm then write that down too.

The more clear and specific you can be about what to want to achieve, the more likely you are to achieve it.

As you read through this digital detox guide you will find more ideas to add to your plan of action.

 

10. Set goalsonline addiction

In order to complete your plan and fill in the sentence above in step 2, you need to think about what kind of detox you want to do.

Do you want to go full cold turkey for a week, a day, a weekend? That’s fine, but it will take a plan.

Or do you want to reduce the amount of time you spend on social media in your home so you can have a conversation without someone checking their phone.

Be clear and specific about your goal. For instance, write down that you would like to cut your Internet-time by six hours a week. State where this will be undertaken – in your home and when you’re out with friends. And critically state when it will happen.

 

11. If-then plan

Giving up your digital devices or reducing your use of them maybe easier said than done. They are designed to distract you after all.

Fortunately there is a technique that has been proven to help beat distraction.

It’s called the if-then plan.

Digital addictionMore than 150 studies have shown that deciding when and where you will do something will increase your chances of success by 200 to 300 percent.

A simple if-then plan adds a significant evidence-based weapon to your digital detox armory.

So what is the if-then plan?

Quite simply: you plan to do something when something or someone distracts you from the task in hand. For instance, if it is 3pm and I haven’t finish my work, then I will turn off my email and my smartphone for an hour.

Other if-then plans for a digital detox might include:

  • If I am getting too distracted by my smartphone or tablet at home, then I will turn them off from 7pm and concentrate on reading a book/phoning a friend/creative writing.
  • If it is 6pm, then I will spend half an hour responding to texts and messages on social media before I turn off my digital devices for the evening.
  • If I haven’t done any creative writing, then I will lock away my digital devices and block the Internet on my computer for two hours.

Does it really work?

A meta-analysis found that the if-then plan improved success rates for every goal imaginable, from reducing alcohol consumption, to walking instead of driving, to recycling and running.

And the results are long-term as well. Of those who wanted to take up regular exercise, those using the ‘if-then’ plan were still exercising six months later.

The plans work because the human mind processes binary information and contingencies effectively. You are essentially programming the brain to act in particular way at a particular moment, often unconsciously.

At the moment that the distraction occurs, you have already planned an alternative action without having to think about it or spend time coming up with an alternative.

The great thing about if-then plan is that they are quick to make. You can write a couple at the beginning of each day if you have new tasks that you want to be completed distraction-free.

 

12. Time

Digital devices steal time and time is limited. You can easily fritter away hours on aimlessly browsing the Internet looking for the next pleasure-giving article or funny meme.

You can also waste hours constantly checking for updates, posting unnecessary posts or vicariously checking in on other peoples lives.

Don’t believe me?

Adult spends about 4.5 hours a day watching TV but they use a digital device (smartphone, tablet, computer) for more than 6 hours a day.

2014 saw the biggest increase in time spent online in a decade, with Internet users spending over three and a half hours longer online each week than they did in 2013 (20 hours and 30 minutes in 2014, compared to 16 hours and 54 minutes in 2013).

Teenagers alone spent 27 hours a week online:

bartAccording to a national survey, a remarkable 67 percent of cell owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls, even when they don’t notice it ringing or vibrating.  44 percent have slept with their phone next to the bed to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, texts, or updates during the night.

For added motivation keep a diary of how much time you waste on the Internet. And write down what you could have done instead.

When you start your digital detox, keep a diary of how much time you are saving.

 

13. Understand your triggers 

If you’re spending too much time on your digital devices it can significantly help to understand the triggers that lead to the bad habit in the first place.

Making yourself aware of this behavior can help you control or reduce the desire to go online. The worst thing about compulsive behavior is that you don’t know why or even when you are doing it.

You can help locate your trigger by thinking about triggers in relation to:

Location – (home)
Time – (after work)
Emotional State – (bored)
Other People – (no one)
An immediately preceding Action (coming home from work)

Once you have identified a trigger you can intervene. Put on an Internet blocker, for instance,  at the time when you want to call a friend or you’ve planned to achieve something else.

Cut out as many triggers as possible. If you check emails when you work, then use a website blocker. If you stare at your phone during meals, then leave your phone turned off in another room.  If the first thing you do when you wake up is check your phone, then leave it in another room as well when you go to bed. Make it easier on yourself to break bad habits by avoiding the things that cause them.

Right now, your environment makes your bad habit easier and good habits harder. Change your environment and you can change the outcome.

 

14. Choose a substitute 

Choose a substitute for your bad habit. You need to have a plan ahead of time for how you will respond when you face the stress or boredom that prompts your bad habit.

What are you going to do when you get the urge to check your email? (Example: breathing exercises instead.) What are you going to do when Facebook is calling to you to procrastinate? (Example: write one sentence for work.)

Whatever it is and whatever you’re dealing with, you need to have a plan for what you will do instead of your bad habit.

 

15. Reboot your brain: the neuroscience
internet addiction

Rebooting your system is a theory based on the idea that spending too much time checking the Internet for updates and news changes the chemical structure of the brain and makes viewers addicted.

Preventing yourself from constantly checking for updates allows the mind to reset and will help free yourself from its addictive power.

Neuroscientists have now found that the brain is not hardwired from birth, but “neuroplastic”.

Not only can it change, but that it works by changing its structure in response to repeated mental experience
Norman Doidge, psychiatrist and author of The Brain That Changes Itself.

This change is most apparent in the reward center of the brain, where a ‘feel-good’ hormone called dopamine is released every time we achieve something. Constantly checking for emails, updates and new and ‘exciting’ information or news story on the Internet results in an excessive release of dopamine, which damages the neural pathways, establishing a compulsive behavior pattern.

Taking a break from the Internet can help reprogramme your brain so you have more control over how you browse.

Browsing should be guided and selective rather than compulsive.

 

16. Pre-broadcast your detox 

If you are worried about missing an important email or text from a friend, family member or colleague remember to pre-warn them that you are organizing your digital life. If you are checking updates once or twice a day, tell them not to expect an answer until 6pm or to call you instead.

digital detoxIf you are doing the full digital detox for a weekend then communicate important information before hand. Let everyone know you will be out of the loop for a while. You can arrange real-life person-to-person meetings if you need to share information.

This is will take the pressure from you to check for updates. It will also put extra pressure on you to succeed with you digital detox. After all, if you check an update or reply to an email when you are supposed to be detoxing, your friends and colleagues will know you failed!

 

17. WOOP your detox 

Visualization is a technique that can help you achieve your goals and beat bad habits. However, not all visualization techniques are the same. In fact, there is only one techniques that is proven to work.

internet addiction It’s called WOOP – short for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan, or the scientific name Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions.

It is the result of 20 years of scientific research by New York University psychologist Garbiele Oettingen and her colleague Heather Kappes.

In order to replace a bad habit with a good habit you have to methodically combine negative and positive thoughts. Don’t just think of a rosy future where you are using the Internet less as that could make you use it more. You need to deal with the barriers to success as well.

The four stages are:

• Think about what you want to achieve for five minutes. For instance, less compulsive use of the Internet

• Then vividly imagine the best thing you associate with having achieved that outcome (an emotion, more time, feeling happier, more in control).

• Ask yourself what internal obstacles are most likely to prevent you from achieving this. This is about the internal rather than external issues you have. You need to keep checking emails because you get a thrill of excitement when you receive an update, for instance.

• Then create an ‘if-then’ plan in order to take action if that obstacle arises. “If I find myself checking emails, I’ll turn off my phone, or use an internet blocker immediately”.

This technique works by showing you what you want. But it helps motivate you to achieve it by ensuring you create a plan to deal with any obstacles. You can’t achieve your aim just by dreaming about it.

 

18. Don’t be a d*** at dinner 

The psychological underpinning Nudge economics is to nudge people in another direction by creating incentives or disincentives to change their behavior.

In relation to the digital detox a good example of this is the ‘Don’t be a d*** at dinner’ game.

For the ‘Don’t be a d*** at dinner’  game you head out for dinner with friends or family. Everyone then places their phones and tablets in the middle of the table.

The first one to use their Smart device has to pay for everyone else’s meal.

Nudge works on the theory that it is easier to ‘change the environment you were in rather than the person you are’.

 

19. Fine yourself

fine yourself for bad behaviour

Make a bad habit a little more painful and you might ditch it for good.

Money is a great motivator, so you can use the “swear jar” method. Or pay your friends each time they catch you doing that thing you want to stop doing.

It works the other way too: Reward yourself for beating your habit every day.

 

 

20. Take up a hobby
digital detox

Believe it or not, but that sweater you saw your mom knitting wasn’t just to punish you with a mass amount of itchy material. This is actually a hobby that promotes healthy brain function and doesn’t require using the Internet.

Okay, so knitting may not be your thing, but think of another non-digital or non-Internet based pasttime or hobby.

Think of what you enjoy doing or have always longed to do. Kung fu, sailing, rock climbing, making a box camera out of, well, a box, writing, collecting pebbles from the most captivating beaches in the world, or maybe wild water swimming.

And when you have an idea, write it down. It will help you to achieve it.

Finding something you love doing will reawaken the notion that the Internet is not the end all be all of entertainment in your life.

And remember, you don’t have to update your Facebook page about your new hobby, especially when you are doing it. Let’s keep it in the real world. If you want to share your new found passion, call some up on the phone or meet a friend to tell them about it.

Still stuck on finding a hobby? Visit the Ultimate Dictionary for Finding and Learning a New Hobby.

 

21. Master your inbox 

Email overload

You may spend a lot of time opening or deleting emails that you don’t need. Cue to unsubscribe from all of those email lists you have collected over the years.

Do you really need that weekly email from that sock shop where you bought those funky socks from a few years ago? Are you still being pestered by the gym you haven’t visited for three years?

Think of it like a spring clean. Having hundreds of unnecessary emails in your inbox is a drain. It may also result in your missing emails that you do want to read but miss in the deluge of irrelevant spam.

An option might be to set up a spam guard or filter. Spamihalor is a free option.

 

22. Digital free afternoon 

Build up your stamina and self control by freeing yourself from digital device one afternoon or evening every week. Lock them away and read a book. Alternatively head out for a walk, go to the cinema or see friends, but leave those devices at home.

Have you ever been in a cinema where people are either checking their phone half way through the fill. I’ve seen them. Or immediately turn on their phone as soon as the credits start rolling. Imagine instead not having your phone with you and going for a drink to chat about the amazing cultural experience you’ve just had.

Sure you may feel cold turkey for a while as you want to check emails, post on social media or just hold your phone or tablet close by. But you’ll get over this pretty quickly and you’ll feel great about it.

 

23. Taking it slowly

Going full cold turkey and giving up your Internet-based devices may not be the ideal approach for everyone. Let’s be realistic, digital devices are now an essential part of our lives. From keeping in touch with work colleagues to watching videos and keeping in touch with our friends and family.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t reduce the amount we use them. The inability to control our use of them is a sign that we aren’t using them but they are using us. The urge to check emails can be reflexive and habitual and r.educing our compulsive relationship with these devices might be more powerful if we learn to detox slowly.

This can help to cement the changes in the brain, create new neural pathways and help us to learn new habits.

Girl lying in grass, reading a book.Start by reducing your time with digital device by ten minutes a day. Turn off your phones and block the Internet on your computer, set a timer and concentrate for that amount of time on only one thing. Even read a book or a newspaper that completely takes you away from your device.

Over time, increase the amount of time that you prevent yourself from checking social media and email. Once this habit of self control is formed you’ll be amazed that you can spend hours at a time in complete control and not impulsively using Internet-based devices.

 

 

24. Work life balance
Work Life Balance mind map process concept

Remember that the Internet means we can work remotely. Okay this isn’t offering you a full detox away from the Internet. But  it helps show that the Internet has many positive aspects that can help reduce your stress levels.

Many work places now offer home working days. It means you’ll be connected to the Internet all day, but it does mean that you get to do your washing, maybe spend an extra hour in bed to recharge your batteries.

 

25. Respond to emails once a day 

Do you need to check your emails every single moment of every single day? How do you get anything done? Research shows you are likely to lose the chain of thought as you get sucked into endless email chains and responses.

Creative people and writers don’t check emails first thing in the morning. Instead they work or write as their minds are at their most creative and freshest. The most successful people will check email only a few times a day. Pick a number of times to check them. 1pm and 3pm and 5pm. It saves you lots of time and will help improve your concentration. Remember to disable push notifications that tell you you’ve receive an email.

 

26. Go Full Jason Bourne

Fall of the grid like Jason Bourne.

Fall of the grid like Jason Bourne.

That’s right, you need to completely fall of the grid for at least one whole week each year. Jason Bourne may have had special training to help him disappear, but you’ve got something else that’s equally, if not more as effective.

A tent.

It’s the special weapon of digital detoxers who are serious about their unplugging or are on a budget. With a tent the world, quite literally, is your oyster.

 

27. Go to a digital detox retreat

digital detox campIf you’re not on a budget, then try the Digital Detox Company and Camp Grounded. They put adults into natural environments and allow them to escape from the hustle and bustle of the digital world.

These organisations make camping therapeutic and remind us what life was like before the Internet.

 

28. Go to South East Asia or the Outer Hebrides

outerhebrides

The Outer Hebrides

If you really want to go all out then try South East Asia.

This part of the world is renown for having some of the finest places to drop off the grid. It’s also a great place to meditate as well as relinquish the urge to want to indulge in technology.

The digital detoxing plan at Stop Procrastinating also includes a trip to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. If you can find a signal for your WIFI or 3G or 4G there, you’ll win a prize.

 

29. Stop multi-tasking

Young overworked businessman relaxing in the office. He sits on lotus pose and meditating. Around his it is bunch of work.

Neuroscientists have shown that switching between tasks makes the brain inefficient. According to Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and author of Time Management from the Inside Out, you can get more done if you streamline your life and concentrate on fewer activities.

The constant pressure to check emails, social media, browse the Internet is bad for the brain and costs us precious time. Morgenstern says that science has shown that it takes four times longer to recognize new things so multi-tasking takes up more of your time and you’re more likely to make mistakes.

30. Take a digital-free lunch break
digital free lunch break

If you work in an office, chances are you will have to plant yourself in front of a computer or device for a majority of your day. During your lunch breaks, try leaving your devices at your desk and taking a walk around the area. Or read a book or a newspaper. Go to the gym. Meditate.

 

31. Make home a sanctuary
home sanctuary

Sometimes just seeing items like TVs, phones, speakers and laptops is enough to set off the “I must go on the Internet” instinct in you.

Try designating one room that is free from any technology with the exception of lights. Keep a few books and magazines in here and take at least 20 minutes out of the day to sit in here and detox yourself.

 

32. Boost your memory
internet reduces memory function

Multi-tasking and overusing digital devices can lower your retention levels and affect your memory.

You’ve had the conversation with friends where no one can remember the name or particular fact of their conversation topic?

What happens?

Someone whips out their smartphone so Google can find the answer.

And in that  little helpful gesture your memory just got worse.

Research has found that we use our brains less to remember key facts and this is having a big impact on how effective our memory is overall.

We are becoming ever more reliant on looking up what we can’t remember rather than trying to remember, which compounds the problem.

Separate research has also found that digital distractions make it more difficult to form memories.

Take some time away from your digital devices and learn a few basic memory techniques. They’re fun to use. Mnenomics uses the creative aspects of the mind, making the thing you want to remember bigger and larger and more playful that it actually is.

If you want to have a world-beating memory to impress your friends and make you less reliant on the Internet, check out this in depth and advanced guide improving your memory.

Research has found that even just a day or so away from technology will improve your memory.

 

33. The Big Sleep
internet detox

According to studies, reading on a digital device before bedtime can reduce levels of melatonin which will affect your desire to sleep.

Don’t use your digital devices for an hour before sleeping and leave it in a completely different room to avoid the temptation to wake up and check it.

Insomina is on the increase because people are waking up during the natural sleep cycle. But instead of going back to sleep straight away are reaching for their phone.

I’ve personally suffered from insomnia and I struggled to beat it for a long time. But I finally found a plan to that now puts me to sleep fast every night. If you too need to get more sleep, check out my proven plan to beat insomnia. It will definitely help you get to sleep.

 

34. Buy an alarm clock
sleep without smart phone

Many people use an alarm app to wake up in the morning, but having your smartphone by your bed can create an urge to check your messages first thing in the morning.

You could instead wish your partner a good morning. When was the last time you did that before checking the news on your phone?

Alternatively have a clock radio and wake up to music or listening to the latest news. It will use a different part of your brain and help improve your concentration for the day ahead.

It’s important to give yourself some space in the morning. You’ve just woken up from a peaceful dreamy sleep and the first thing you want to do is check your phone. No wonder you’re feeling stressed.

Start the day with a relaxing cup or tea or coffee and stay calm. After all, the rest of the day at work will be dominated by emails, Facebook, and websites. There’s plenty of time in the day ahead to check on all matters digital.

 

35. Make the bedroom a sanctuary
bed-candles-christmas-cozy-dreamcatcher-Favim.com-401596

Another way to keep yourself from destorying your sleep is to turn off your WiFi router before bed. That way even if you do reach over to fulfill that impulse you won’t have any Internet to work with and it takes way more of an effort to walk over to your router and start it back up again. Although even without WiFi, some of your smart devices can use the 3 or 4G networks to connect. The best solution here is to charge your phone over night in a room as far away from the bedroom as possible.

Does it work? Yes. How do I know? Because I personally use this technique myself. After months of broken sleep, reaching for my smartphone as soon as I was awake, and never truely relaxing, I started leaving my phone downstairs in a different room. I didn’t miss it. I sleep deeply every night. I’ve never felt better.

 

36. Do activities where digital devices aren’t necessary
dancing

 

Have you tried texting while your jogging or dancing?

Give it ago.

Near impossible, right?

Have you tried texting while you’re out on a country walk. A bit easier to do, but not if you leave your digital devices at home.

One excellent way to prevent you using the Internet is to undertake an activity where you just can’t use them.

Dancing is a great option as there are so many different types. From ball room, Tango to Salsa and Lindy Hop. You’ll get fit, use a different part of your brain and meet some new people.

 

37. Spend more time in water
digital break

And the best activity to avoid contact with digital devices is…

Swimming.

Frolicking in lakes, oceans and pools pretty much requires you to not have any devices in your hand unless you never want them to work again.

Spending a lot of time swimming will force you to be away from your device. If you aren’t by any large bodies of water or the weather doesn’t permit you to do this then just draw a bath and relax in it with your hands in the water.

 

38. Create a detox collective
digital addiction 

Undertaking a digital detox with a group of friends or other motivated people will help keep you on track.

Accountability partners, for instance, check in on how you getting on. Knowing someone is watching over you can improve the way you behave.

Also group goals have been shown to be powerful. You are more likely to achieve something if you do it in a group. This is especially the case with a digital detox. Those friends who are joining you will be the ones who will tempt you away from your detox if they don’t join you.

They will be texting, emailing, posting on Facebook.

What if they weren’t?

What if they were doing your detox too!

 

39. Sponsored digital detox

Undertake your digital detox to raise money for a good cause and they will give you a cast iron guarantee that you won’t fail.

You’ll have other’s people money riding on your ability to succeed.

And if you don’t succeed then your good cause will lose out on your fundraising efforts.

You could combine this idea with the group digital detox tip above and raise money as a group.

Go to Just Giving and set up a fundraising page.

 

40. Get a digital detox app
Smartphone tied chain with lock on wooden table, gadget and digital devices detox concept

Sometimes the temptation to dive back into the world of technology is too great and the only way to prevent yourself from doing so is to give yourself no other choice. This is when a web-blocking program comes in.

They allow you to block distrating websites for a period of time or the whole Internet connection if you have zero self control. These types of programs are especially important if you are trying to work, study or write and digital distractions are preventing you from concentrating.

A good option is Net Nanny which is a  parental control software that can permanently filters out websites. It requires you to input a password to set up a network-wide ban. This might work well if you want an accountability partner who can monitor whether you go online.

Another option is a temporary blocker that you can turn on at the times when you are most tempted to go online.  Stop Procrastinating will lock you out so you can’t get back online until the time is up for a period of up to 24 hours. You can either block the entire internet connection or filter out the most distracting websites.

 

41. A time locked container

lock up your phone
If you aren’t keen on an website blocker you could alternatively locked up your phones, tablets, and if it’s big enough, you laptops into a time locked container for part of each day.

Sounds extreme but then wasting your life on the Internet sounds a pretty extreme way to behave when you think about it.

42. Diarise your detox
internet addiction

Organization and planning makes all of the difference.

Don’t  just decide to take a break at the spur of the moment. Write in a paper calendar the days and times when you want to remove yourself from the digital world.

Seeing it written down makes it concrete and makes it more likely that you will stick to the plan.

 

43. See a friend digital-free
Digital Detox App

Create a contract with your significant others and friends that states that you will have at least one time a month when you just focus on each other. When I say contract I don’t mean a creepy 15 page, 50 Shades of Grey type of contract. Something simple that states a day of the month that you both unplug and focus on each other with no devices in sight. Alternatively if this sounds too much like a pre-nuptial agreement, use a diary. It works.

 

44. Buy a typewriterdetox your digital live

Writing by hand can get tiring, so if you need to automate your digital detox think about investing in a typewriter.

It could help you to learn to type if you haven’t already. Imagine how much time you would save if you could increase your typing speed. You’ll spend less time on the Internet and more time in the real world.

 

45. Get yourself a dumb phone
feature phone

Dumb phones or feature phones are making a come back. In Japan there had been a drop in sales of Smartphone. But there has been an increase in sales of features phones. All you can use them for is to send texts and make calls (and maybe take a photo).

British actor Eddie Redmayne made headlines when he ditched his Smartphone for a dumb phone, saying “It was a reaction against being glued permanently to my iPhone during waking hours.”

And Minium phones with sleek designs could soon become all the rage.

Why are these making a comeback?

People are beginning to realise that while it maybe convenient to have your entire life in a phone, it isn’t exactly healthy.

The thought of disentangling your life from your phone might seem radical if not revolutionary and may make you feel anxious. But remember this: we as a species have managed to arrive at this point today listening to music, contacting friends, taking photos and reading books without the aid of a Smartphone or tablet.

You’ll be fine.

There’s at least 10,000 years of evidence that human’s have coped without the Internet successfully.

46. Get a NoPhone Zero
no phone zero

For just $5 you can buy yourself the least advanced phone ever created by humans. You can’t use it to make calls, text or even upload a message to Facebook saying you’ve just bought a NoPhone.

Crazy, right?

Yet the NoPhone gets to the very essence of our relationship with digital devices.

NoPhone was created as a satirical security planet, a comment on our relationship with technology. The inventors began to get a little fed up seeing couples on dates illuminated not by by candles, but by the light of the screens of their phones.

The response for the NoPhone was so great, they actually started selling it.

As it says on the website:

We are selling the NoPhone to give the people what they want, a life of direct eye contact and improved conversational skills. A life beyond a smartphone. A life of NoPhone.

Truly wonderful. Buy one today and head out with your NoPhone on your next date or visit to the cinema and leave your real phone at home.

The perfect tool for your digital detox.

 

47. Disentangle your life
addicted to smartphones

We are so addicted or dependent on our digital devices because they contain most of our lives. They are our maps, music player, camera, phone and contract book, our newspaper, our note pad, our brain trainer, diary, our satnav, our key means of communicating.

While it’s convenient to have all this in one place, a long term solution might be to disentangle some of your life from your smartphone and tablet.

A few ideas how to begin to disentangle your life from your smartphone take up the next 5 tips.

 

48: Relax – don’t go full Cold Turkey
take it easy

Removing your smartphones and tablets from your life completely maybe be extreme for some people. So why not delete some social media apps from your phone for a week or two so you only engage while at your desktop. Definitely delete your email accounts from your phone for one week.

Sure, it’ll hurt, but at the end of it you’ll wonder why you ever checked your mail over dinner, while watching TV, or chatting with your friends.

Also make sure your work emails aren’t on your personal phone. That’s just asking for trouble.

 

49. Buy a watch
watch-dial-design2

I know, surely everyone has a watch, right?

Well I didn’t. And neither did my girlfriend, nor her friends. My friend’s watch stopped working and he didn’t replace it or get it fixed.

Why?

Because he checked the time on his phone.

So I bought a watch and the need to keep checking my phone for the time was eliminated immediately.

Get a watch do you don’t look at your phone to tell the time.

 

50. Buy a newspaper
newspaper

Waiting to read the daily news until you’ve bought your newspaper can help give backbone to your digital detox.

Waiting rather than giving in to the first urge to check the headlines will help develop your self-control and give you more long-term satisfaction.

Studies shows that reading on paper has a number of benefits to reading on a screen.

We’re more likely to retain what we read and focus and enjoy the process more. A study of 300 university students by linguistics professor Naomi Baron found that 92% said reading from a hard copy (paper) best allowed them to concentrate compared with reading from a smartphone, laptop e-reader or desktop.

Even so, evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way.
Farcis Jaber, Scientific American

 

51. Go vinyl
vinyl

Unfortunately these days even simple things like listening to music requires us to login to our devices and go right back into the digital world. We often forget that before the days of smart devices we had things like CD players, radios and vinyl.

Consider taking it old school and creating a mixtape on a CD with your favorite tunes on it so you won’t have to go back online.

Buy yourself an old record player from Ebay and head down to the local record shop and grab yourself some vinyl.

52. Buy a diary
diarise your digital detox

One clear way to help you to disentangle yourself from your digital devices is to buy  yourself a diary.

Maybe get one the same size or even smaller than your smartphone as then it won’t feel in the way and take up so much room.

Why?

Because we use our digital devices to plan and diarise. If you still use your laptop, tablet and phone to check dates you still dependent upon it. You’ll also be at risk of being distracted by an email or text update.

 

53. Buy a contacts book

Similar theory to the reason behind buying a diary. If you are serious about trying to disentangle your life, even if just for a few weeks a year, then a contacts book might be essential.

Again this might be extreme because after all you need your phone to call your contacts, so why not just use your contacts in your phone?

Sure that could be a fine idea. Pledge that you will only use your phone for calling and texting. I mean you won’t get tempted or distracted by any of the other apps on the phone because you’re way too strong for that, right?

Let’s be realistic.

You’re not strong enough. No one is strong enough.

And combined with your diary, you’ll begin to learn again the lost art of writing.

 

54. Buy a map
map

If there’s one thing I really need on my phone, it’s the map with the GPS pointer telling where I am and which way I need to point myself to get from A to B.

The thing is.

It’s rather embarrassing to admit.

The last time someone has to turn me around and point me in the direction I had to walk for fear of getting lost, was when I was five.

Before my smartphone I was quite proud of the fact I could find where I was going either by remembering a route or taking a map with me.

I once had a competition before I got my smartphone with a friend who had one. I had a map, he had a Google map.

I beat him. Hands down.

Why?

I was using my brain and thinking, he was head down following a map.

Another reason for buying a map is that then you’ll know where you are. Many people who use satnavs often can get from A to B efficiently, but they’re not sure exactly in which part of the city or country they are.

Why not as part of you digital detox, go for a country walk and use a map. Or even print off  a route from the computer.

 

55. New perspectives – make a big decision in your life
new you

Research has found that people were more likely to make significant changes to their lives when they were offline for a while.

Some made big changes in their career or relationships, while others decided to recommit to health and fitness.

Why was this?

The reduction in or removal of the constant distraction freed people’s minds to contemplate more important issues in their lives,. It it also made them believe they had the willpower to sustain a transformation.

 

56. Make something with your hands
make something with your hands

Your hands aren’t just used for browsing the Internet. Using digital devices means we can lose our tactile relationship with creativity.

There has been a lot of research into the loss of tactile creativity and how this affects the brain and concentration.

Use the time away from your digital devices to use your hands again.

Try making something in clay, write but with a pen and paper, draw, make something using wood.

 

57. Take up exercise
take up exercise

Just as dopamine may be responsible for Internet addiction, you can use exercise to create new pathways that oppose negative addictive behaviour.

Addictions are thought to be due, in part, to the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens — the “reward” center of the brain. Exercise can boost the levels of dopamine in the brain to reduce this addiction.

We all know people who are “addicted” to exercise. In this way, exercise can create new, positive, addiction pathways that could counter negative addictive behaviors.

Research suggests that the release of dopamine in exercise can counter amphetamine addiction. Imagine then what it can do for Internet addiction.

 

58. Join a meet up
meetup2

 

Use Meet Ups to embrace an old or new found passion or pastime. You can join one of the many thousands of Meet Ups around the world on just about any subject or interest.

You could go to see old movies with like-minded people, talk about science, life and the universe. You could join a debating society, a computer programming club or learn how to start your own business. You could even hang out with people who want to sing, walk, run, paint, write. Meet Up is the world in one place.

You’ll get to meet lots of interesting people and spend less time on digital devices.

 

59. Don’t add new friends to Facebook
facebook ban

Now there’s a problem with all these new people you are meeting, right?

How to keep in touch.

Add them to Facebook as new friends. What a great idea!

You’ll get even more friends on Facebook helping you to look even more popular then you were before.
Stop.

Don’t do it.

Keep these new friends as real friends, not virtual, online, friends.

 

60. Buy a book you have always wanted to read
reading

If you haven’t got a book that you’ve been dying to read, take a recommendation from a friend or work colleague or browse a book shop (not an online book shop). And don’t scan the bar code and buy it online. Buy it there and then with real money and hand it over to a real person at the counter.

You could always borrow a book from a friend or borrow one from a lending library.

Becoming engrossed in a book can distract you from the Internet. If you haven’t done it for a while, you have forgotten the intense concentration that will come naturally to you when you become absorbed by the characters and storyline.

Also not being distracted by the Internet means you’ll have more concentration and enjoy the process of intense reading all the more.

 

61. Join a book club
book club

This is the perfect way to read without the Internet, meet new people, debate with them in the real world and avoid distractions.

You’ll learn something new as well.

You’re local book store and library should have details of a book club, as well as Meet Ups too.

 

62. Learn how to code an algorithm
algorithm

No this does not involve a computer. A code is writing  and an algorithm is a formula.

So write a forumla for your life without the need for a computer. Take that pen and pad that you were encouraged to invest in at the beginning of this guide and write a formula for your life.

What do you want to achieve?

How will you go about doing it?

What steps do you need to take?

This is different to the plan you made about giving up digital devices. Now that you have the time you can start revisiting other areas of your life that you want to improve.

 

63. Take up philosophy
philosophy

Become a philosopher or love wisdom, which is the definition of philosophy.

A philosopher engages in critical thought about big questions that have no easy answers. Thinking deeply about concepts of life and how we think and live requires deep thought and time. Distraction is a no, no.

You’ll think about things in a new way and maybe get a new perspective on your life.

For some more ideas of becoming a philosopher check out this page about philosophy.

 

64.  Learn the art of conversation
conversation

Neuroscientists who sent people into the desert minus the Internet noticed some quite profound results.

After three days without technology, people’s started looking at people instead of at their phones.

The people made eye contract more and felt more confident to engage in conversation.

 

65. Go for therapy or counseling
group therapy

If you’re still struggling to give up digital devices at this stage, then you may need to seek some professional help as you may be addicted.

If you’re concerned that you own efforts aren’t enough and you need some support, try speaking to an expert or attending a group therapy session.

Reality therapy has been used effectively to treat Internet addiction as well as other addictive behaviors.

Motivational interviewing has worked to treat other addictions, but there is no proof that it works specifically with Internet addiction.
|
Acceptance and commitment therapy was used in a 3 month study and reduced Internet addiction.

 

66. Disable all push notifications
ban push notifications

Alerts from Facebook, Twitter and email interrupt your day and your thought process.

You don’t need to know everything the exact second someone sends it unless you work in the emergency services and are responsible for saving people’s lives.

 

67. Get a pet
get a pet

The influence of pets or companion animals on our health and wellbeing is immeasurable. Research after research study shows how our animals keep us healthy in mind as well as body

Pets can offer distraction from digital devices. It can get you exercising and prevent you from watching endless funny pet videos online as you’ll have your very own to make you laugh in the comfort of your own home.

The health benefits of owning a pet are enormous: from improving the health of your heart, to reducing anxiety and depression.

Remember to speak to your vet first before getting a pet to ensure it the right one for you.

 

68. Meditate
meditate

Mindfulness meditation is another technique with a strong body of evidence and research to back up its effectiveness.

Meditation increases dopamine levels by 65%, which helps combat the chronically low dopamine levels from which Internet addicts suffer.

Mindfulness is also effective at preventing relapses with 47% of people using this technique not replasing back into negative behaviour pattens.

Mindfulness focuses on being in the now, an awareness of your thoughts, feelings and sensations.

Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, part of Oxford University’s department of psychiatry, calls it a “direct knowing of what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment”.

How to do it:

Set aside at least 15 minutes to sit quietly, breathe deeply, paying attention to your body, observing how you feel. It is non-judgemental, but allows you to observe yourself.

The discipline is to empty your mind and be aware, almost to foreground what you are doing. It separates your mind from your body and allows you to have insight into the way you are behaving and your porn use.

You can get more information about Mindfulness at Be Mindful.

 

69. Buy a candle or become Danish
be danish

Denmark has provided the world with gripping Nordic Noir, but what many don’t realize is that they are geniuses at socialable cosiness or hygge – and they are exporting it to the world.

The best explanation of hygge is “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things”. Candlelight is hygge (Danes burn more candles per head than anywhere in Europe, according to the European Candle Association). Bakeries are hygge. Dinner with friends is hygge.

The country where the population is happiest: Denmark.

Put on a candle, invite round some old friends, or snuggle up with a book –  hugge is a place of comfort, no distraction and peace.

For more details about hygge.

70. Volunteer
volunteer

Volunteering is an activity proven to help create a more balanced life.

You can volunteer anywhere – with troubled people, with children or at a culture centre that you enjoy, such as the theater.

Seeing new places and helping people less fortunate than yourself can give you a different perspective on life.

You can also volunteer aboard in parts of the world with limited Internet connection or at least on a project which is so hands on you won’t have time to keep checking messages.

 

71. Have a board games night
board games

Board games are not just for childhood – some of the most fun nights to be had are having a group of friends around or family to have a fun evening playing games.

Competitive, fun and so engrossing you literally forget you were ever addicted to the Internet.

Playing board games make you enter the zone where nothing else matters other than getting your counter to the winning line first.

For ideas of which board games to try, here’s the top 75 board games ever.

And if you’re looking for new friends to play with try one of the many Board Game Meet Up groups.

72. Invite your friends round for dinner
dinner with friends

When was the last time you saw some of your Facebook friends? In fact when was the last time you cooked a new recipe from a cookbook (not on online recipe) for your friends?

Replacing online chat with a social activity that also requires effort – the cooking of a sumptuous meal – with real time praise for your efforts (when your friends compliment you on your meal) – can help you discover the value of friendship.

And remember no one is allowed to post online what a great meal they had and everyone has to leave their phones off. In fact get everyone to leave them at home just in case – everyone can come up with an excuse why they have to check their phone!

 

73. Take up baking
baking

Now that you’ve got into holding dinner parties, the next step is to enter the addictive world of baking.

I know it’s a bad idea to replace one addiction with another, but in the UK baking has gone crazy due to the successful program Great British Bake Off, where people compete on TV to produce the best baking

These aren’t just ordinary baked goods and cakes.

These are amazing, out of this world.

And if you think the judges on X Factor or Pop Idol are tough, well, they’re like melted butter compared to these judges.

And the lesson from this is to take up baking and learn how to do it properly. There is a science and an art to baking properly and it will bring out your very best competitive streak.

74. Listen to an audio play
IMGP13182

Use your imagination and listen to an audio version of a novel or a dramatic play for radio. A good way to spent your time if you are tired and want to avoid watching TV or watching something on your tablet.

Listening a dramatic play or even a documentary on the radio encourages you actively engage with what you are listening to. You imagine what the characters look like and distinguish their characters through what they and how they say it.

It is engaging and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll enjoy it.

 

75. Behave like your living in the 70s or 80s
1970

Why do you need to take your smart phone with you on a local walk, to the cinema or when you’re meeting friends?

Because you’ve made plans and you’re worried that if something goes wrong, like being 5 minutes late, the world will end. Thus you need your phone in order to give the person you’re meeting an regular update on your movements.

They could, of course, being trying to do their own digital detox, but are failing because you keep telling them that you’ll be there in a minute.

Imagine what it was like in the 70s and 80s and years and decades before then when people used to make plans.

They’d leave their phone and leave the house with nothing other than their clothes on and a bit of money in their back pocket. What happened?

They survived. They meet up. Had a great time. And got home in one piece.

Go retro. Imagine you live in the 1970s and make plans before you leave your house or apartment.

It’s okay. You don’t need to go on a survival course to survive. You’ll be okay. Do it.

 

76. Take up gardening
gardening

Take up gardening, rent an allotment or community garden.

It gets you out meeting people, gets you in touch with the nature and keeps you away from the Internet.

What’s more gardening and especially community gardening is good for you health. Just 30 minutes a week can improve mood, self-esteem and fitness.

 

77. Use the phone
phone call

Had an amazing experience that you just can’t wait to post on Facebook about.

Stop.

Choose a friend and call them up and chat about it on the phone.

Talking to people is good for you. Research shows it lifts your mood and makes you more intelligent.

 

78. Write a letter to a pen friend
write a letter

Watch a movie set in an era before the Internet and you’ll get a thrill of excitement when you see characters writing a letter – the thought and feeling that went into it rather a rushed email or tweet.

So buy yourself a pen and paper and write a letter to someone. You could get yourself a pen friend who you write to about a particular topic each week. Try International Snail Mail pen friends or Global Pen Friends.

 

 

79. Create, don’t consumer
creativity

Mindlessly browsing the Internet is passive. You’re a voyeur or a consumer of information and the less control you have to prevent this the less time you have to be creative.

Consuming is a great way of gaining information, or listening to music, but we need to switch it off if we want to create or problem solve.

Turning off the Internet will give you the space to find your inner muse.

 

80. Failure is power
failure success

 

Maybe you think you’re a failure for  browsing the Internet compulsively or perhaps you’ve started on a plan to beat your Internet addiction and relapse. You’re a failure and its hurts, right? Wrong. Failure is key to success. Everyone fails and it’s learning from those mistakes that makes you succeed. If you haven’t failed at anything you’re either telling big porkies or you’re an alien.

Of course, while we need to learn quickly from our mistakes, there are wrong ways to respond to failure. Denial and ego can preventing learning. Either you deny that anything is going wrong – I’m not addicted to my smart phone, it’s just fine. Or I failed at cutting down on my use of digital devices, I’m useless or they are too powerful and I need then in my life.

Try to be dispassionate and gather feedback on why you have failed. With a digital detox maybe you haven’t tried to put into place other activities. If you keep checking your phone, maybe an Internet blocker is needed.

 

81. Do a review
review

Chances are you’re going to have bad days.

Setbacks are normal and we should expect them.

Have a plan to get back on track and use the relapse as a way to understand what happened and how you can avoid it next time.

 

82. Focus on the positive
be positive

 

Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, author of Smart Change: Five Tools to Create Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others argues that too many people trying to give up bad habits focus on the negative. For instance, “I’m going to stop checking my emails in the evening.”

He says the brain’s habit-learning system doesn’t learn anything by ‘not-doing’.

In order to give up a bad habit, you need to create a good habit to replace it with. So you need to frame your goals in terms of what you are going to do.

So focus on what you want to do instead of checking emails. For instance, I’m going to read a novel for an hour every night without interruption. Or I’m we’re going to have family meals without smart phones at the dinner table.

83.  Don’t give yourself permission
permisson denied

James Claiborn, a psychologist and co-author of The Habit Change Workbook: How To Break Bad Habits and Form Good Ones, suggests that we need to be aware of the thoughts we are having before we engage in a bad habit.

These thoughts give us permission to act out the bad habit, but saying them out loud can highlight just how ridiculous they are. “I know it’s bad, but I deserve this.” “I’m feeling tired and so I doing this will make me feel good. I’m stop it when I feel better.”

When you highlight these ‘permission-giving’ thoughts you are more able to challenge them and stop them taking control. You are the one giving yourself permission, no one else.