8 Tips to Help You Disconnect to Be Better at Life

It's good for you, trust us

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@RLTheis via Twenty20

Ah, the elusive concept of balance. Attempting to achieve it is as daunting as the fear of never having it. The truth of the matter is that there is no such thing. The scales are never even, always tipping in favor of a specific side, depending on how things are going at any given time. All facets of our lives cannot always (if ever) be in equilibrium, and we have to learn to be OK with that. 

But all humans are united in their desire to keep striving for it, no matter how strongly the gravitational pull of technology weighs us down. Ironically, uninterrupted connectivity and the technology that is meant to render us more efficient has become a crutch that often hinders our productivity, fails to help us achieve balance and, ultimately, makes us feel bad about it. 

We have apps for all of our needs, we have Siri and Alexa to instantly answer every single question we pose and we don’t use the phone to actually talk. You can probably remember your childhood street address and landline phone number, but chances are you now have a hard time retaining simple information like what time you made dinner reservations. Well, you’re not alone, and you can blame technology (really!). Our reliance on it is literally sending our brains into a tailspin

As we learned last week, disconnecting is necessary for our well-being and that tricky concept of balance. We should put our devices down for the sake of our productivity, our relationships and our mental health. Temporarily breaking up with the internet and social media is a form of self-care and will subsequently make you better at life instead of sinking deeper into the digital quicksand.  

We realize that it’s so much easier said than done, so if you’re having a tough go at dodging the lure of your electronics, follow the eight helpful tips below.

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1. Set Boundaries

A huge issue with smartphones is pervasiveness: They’re on our person at all times, so resisting their use is tough. Establishing rules like not reaching for your phone past a certain time at night and not before your coffee in the morning can make a big difference, helping you to sleep better and feel more primed to take on the day.

2. Buy an Actual Alarm Clock

Phones in the bedroom are a major problem. Take the boundaries one step further and ban phones from your boudoir. Remember alarm clocks? Buy one and leave your mobile out of the room altogether—it’ll be that much easier to avoid the temptation of a quick Insta scroll or email check.

3. Block Time Off on Your Calendar

We know, you’re a busy guy and constant accessibility is a necessary evil daily. If that’s the case, make your pauses literal and block some device-free time in your calendar so you can actually commit to it. You’ll feel refreshed, promise.

4. Pick up a book

How often do you check your phone during the day? Challenge yourself to reach for a book every time you catch yourself mindlessly unlocking your screen to catch up on social media—lucky for you, we’ve got loads of suggestions to choose from.

5. Savor Small Moments

Go device-free during whatever would be considered snippets of downtime, like while on your commute to work using public transportation. Consider leaving your phone indoors while walking your dog or taking your kid to the park. The less temptation you have, the likelier you are to change your habits.

6. Call People

Once upon a time, phones were used to make voice calls to friends and family. Now it seems like those irksome robocalls present the only occasions for an audible “Hello?” We’re forgetting how to relate with our friends, family and colleagues because all we do is type our thoughts to them and double-tap our feelings on their photos. Try dialing up a loved one with that green icon with a receiver on it—the voice interaction will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

7. Don’t Take Your Phone Out at Dinner or Coffee Dates

This is a great rule of thumb because it kills two birds with one stone: It allows you to give your undivided attention to your companion and to be fully present for the conversation, plus it makes you look super polite. It’s truly a no-brainer.

8. Delete The Apps (Temporarily)

If all else fails, just go ahead and delete the apps that are claiming most of your attention, like Instagram and Facebook. Removing them from your screens for a period of time will act as a reset button, and once you’re ready to reenter the fray, just log back in without having lost any information. You’ll be that much better upon your return.

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