I’ve never been good at following instructions. I often don’t think the rules apply to me. Sometimes, I make the rules up (just ask my sister about playing Monopoly with me as a child!).
So I confess that while completing a 30-day digital detox under the guidance of Michael Smart, I may not have followed all of the rules exactly. However, in some instances, I was actually ahead in terms of my detox.
One rule I broke was not deleting my social media apps from my phone. I had a perfect excuse (as I’m sure many others did). Mine was that I use them for work. I’m often at events where I post using my phone and not a laptop. I didn’t want the extra step of logging in via a browser. I expect my devices to work for me.
The point of deleting the app was to keep me from looking at the sites throughout the day. Fortunately, I don’t do that. And through the detox I’ve been even more focused on not checking. My personal phone now stays in my handbag, and I check it at lunch only.
My work phone is off to the side and I only check it when I receive a text message or phone call as only a few people have the number. The rest of my day is focused on my priorities, which ultimately is the point Michael was making.
One tip that greatly benefited me was “ruthlessly unsubscribe from every mass email that doesn’t bring you massive value.” This has been a game changer for me. I subscribed to some emails thinking I would glean nuggets of information. Instead all I did was hit delete. Before long, I had about 20 such emails, and while a nano second to delete doesn’t seem like much. It was adding up. I unsubscribed and my mailbox is not nearly so cumbersome.
Despite working in a profession in which I have to be 24/7 accessible to handle a crisis, I am not tethered to my mobile. Yes, it’s with me. But I don’t check it constantly. I’ve told everyone that if I am needed to respond, I should be called. That prevents me from looking at my phone and checking emails all weekend. The problem with checking is that it becomes too easy to respond to emails.
So when Michael proposed that we create a digital “sabbath” one day of the weekend, I realized that for the most part I was doing it. What would help, though, is his suggestion of setting an auto responder. By setting an auto responder asking people to phone me if they need me during the weekend, I reinforce my message about calling me if I am needed.
He had many other great tips, and I’m working to incorporate them into my habits. It’s not easy to do but I’m making a good start. Would you share in the comments field one of your tips for managing your digital presence?