lifestyle

6 Ways to Untether from Devices

Ugh! This is at the very top of my mind lately. Having a smartphone can be a blessing and a curse. I recently went through an iPhone-related-crisis right around the same time that Maxie was too. We both were talking to each other about it and trying to find a good solution. Her tips today are definitely something we should all take note of.

iPhone Detox

6 Ways to Untether from Devices

Guest Post by Maxie McCoy

Have you ever been so sick of your phone or your computer or the internet that you considered going off the grid completely? I have.

Last month, I even went so far as calling my phone provider in total frustration to see if there were any options that would allow me to keep my plan while also having a less high-tech phone… preferably one that only sent calls and texts. Craig, my lovely customer service representative, listened intently as I rambled through questions:

“Is there any way to have an iPhone when I want it, but maybe to switch my SIM card to a dumb phone when I want that instead? Or is there any way to have both a smartphone and a dumb phone with the same number and plan?” I pleaded.

Not understanding my problem, Craig responded back, “Ma’am, I’m not sure I understand the point of these questions? Is your goal here to save money?”

To which I responded, “No Craig, my goal here is to save my soul.”

Which was true. I’d had too many consecutive hours on my phone and with my computer and on my tablet that I literally wanted to throw them all out the freaking window. I dreamt of going off the grid into no-woman’s land where no one could like my photos, no one could email me, and I didn’t have to respond to a single text message or email ever again. I texted Carly in total despair because I actually considered that all of these devices might be sucking both my soul and my mind. I knew she understood, and that she’d been there, and that’d she’d talk me off my “I hate all digital devices” ledge. What sticks with me from her response even today, weeks later, is that those devices I was loathing are what afford me the work lifestyle I have (i.e. a remote office).

So typing away from a house in the mountains where I haven’t been on social in four days, here are the boundaries I’ve created that have both helped me get control back over my digital devices and given me space to reconnect with myself instead of the internet:

Turn off notifications
My phone is pretty much always on do not disturb mode. Which means I only hear texts when the phone is open or when I look for them. Years ago I took all the notifications off my phone and got into the habit of keeping it on do not disturb. It was the first step I ever took to untether myself from all the incoming interruptions and goodness did it make a difference. However, I then had to learn how to keep myself from obsessively checking everything else…

Keep it in the other room
When a phone or computer is around, we typically check it. Refresh, reload, a little scroll here a little scroll there. What I’ve learned from having to focus intently, especially when writing my book, is that I must keep my phone away from me when I’m trying to get important things done. So if there’s a post I’m writing, a proposal I’m creating, or just a good book I’m immersed in, I keep my phone a room away.

Favorite humans take precedent
Our relationships are some of the best gifts in our lives. But how annoying is it when those people you’re with are always checking their phones or smart watches? The worst. Whenever I’m with the people I love, I keep my devices in my bag and off the table. Do you have to check it sometimes? Sure. But I learned the best way to do this from Carly (because she is always the best about not having her phone on the table when we’re catching up) is to say “Sorry I just need to check this because X, Y or Z” that way the person understands why you’re averting your attention and that you’re respectful of their time and presence.

Don’t make it the first or last thing you look at
When you look at a screen right when you wake up or right when you go to sleep, you train your mind that it’s normal, expected, and important to do so. None of which is true. So I’ve started making sure I put away my phone before I read at night or before I do my gratitude journaling, and that I don’t check my computer or emails until I’ve had time to step into my day.

Set “office hours” phone time
When I was freaking out about hating the phone and the internet and social media, Carly talked me off my ledge by saying I just needed to create boundaries. While I haven’t done this 100% successfully, I have become much more aware of how I can create intentional blocks of time that either involve my devices or don’t.

Create longer social breaks:
Digital detoxes aren’t a one-stop shop for breaking our digital addictions. However, what I can say from some days without unconsciously scrolling through who viewed my Instagrams stories and who liked my tweets, is that it’s so nice to take a break. It helps reconnect with the one voice and feeling and message that really matters: our own.

If you’re feeling overloaded by the bombardment of messages and information and pulls on your time because of your devices, you’re not alone. Pay attention to that feeling and before you’re so desperate that you call your data provider looking for a way out, try one of these easy ways to get control back over your time and energy.

For more actionable advice and inspiration from Maxie, sign up here.

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18 Comments

Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

Turning off notifications is the most effective method for me. I like turning notifications off for apps that aren’t that important, or at least don’t require constant checking, such as most social media, but I’ll leave notifications on for things like iMessage/WeChat/Whatsapp. Another thing that has worked well for me is setting my phone to Do Not Disturb for certain hours, like from early evening to morning. -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

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Michael @ Mile in My Glasses

This was such an interesting read! I’ve had many qualms with my phone in the past, and I eventually narrowed it down to the notifications. Once I turned them off for the apps I couldn’t care less about, but still wanted, and kept them on only for the essential things and people I was interested in – I felt so much better. That way I’m not bombarded or harassed by notifications day in, day out, and I can check those apps as and when I want to!

Also, I have a huge love for the Do Not Disturb feature – I have it automatically turn on each night, and turn off each morning – so I know when it’s time to switch off from the phone, and not worry about any ‘ding!’s until the next day. It’s improved my relationship with technology by leaps and bounds!

I hope you have a great start to your week,
Michael
https://www.mileinmyglasses.co.uk

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Ashley

Wonderufl tips… I never have my phone out at the dinner table with famly and friends! What I’m really loving is that photo!!! Your makeup and lipstick looks so lovely, but that lighting is what makes the shot! All of the sunlight on your brown hair, pretty!!

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Bridget | Amber Colored Roses

I love love love love love this post!

I try to take time and “detox” myself from my phone whenever I have a moment to go to the beach. I am lucky enough to live just down the road from several beaches and I try to get myself out to one at LEAST once a week! Just for my mental sanity!

I have found it really important to set boundaries with my phone before I go to bed and I make sure my alarm is set for the morning, put it on “do not disturb”, flip it upside down on my nightstand and read for at least 30 minutes before I go to bed and it changes my entire mood before I go to bed!

Bridget

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Emma McCarthy

A little unrelated to the post, but what is that clutch!? Looks so cute!

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carly

Just wait until you see the whole thing. 😍 On my blog at midnight! Def check back in.

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Mia

I’ve totally felt the same way about technology…sometimes I just want to rid myself of it altogether! Keeping devices off the table when spending time with loved ones is definitely something I need to start doing. I find that it’s so natural now to grab your phone and start scrolling and forget the people around you. Great post!

Mia | http://www.verymuchmia.com

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Rachel

This post is coming at the perfect time! It is a great reminder to put out phones down more. (the do not disturb trick is a great trip and I am 100% going to try it!) I recently started my blog and I find that in my free time (after work when I am finally home with my husband and our pup) is when I am on my devices a ton and I need to remember to be in the moment with the ones I love! It is definitely a challenge trying to balance it all, but worth it to take those breaks and remember to live in the moment 🙂

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Amanda

I downloaded an app called Moment on my phone and it tracks your screen time along with percentage of “waking life” spent on the phone. Seeing the numbers has been a huge wakeup for me! I’m loving the app.

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Noelle

These tips are great and ones that I use all the time. It is hard at times when everyone else is so attached and has the expectation that you should be available at all times but little moments of connecting and being present are so worth it. Great post!
-Noelle
Elle-no.com

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