In 2019, we’re exploring energy. How it affects us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We’ve hooked up with a series of experts who will set an experiment every month to help us discover a new way of managing our energy.
In June we ditched the digital screens and explored the impact a Digital Detox had on our mental and emotional Energy. To help us with this experiment we partnered with the super talented Tanya Goodin, an award-winning digital entrepreneur, digital detox evangelist, tech ethicist, and author.
For 20+ years she was founder and CEO of one of the UK’s first digital marketing agencies, now she’s a digital consultant to brands and schools and founder of digital detox movement Time To Log Off.
Research shows us that UK adults spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes a day on screens (that’s more time than they we spend asleep!). An in total we now spend an average of a day a week online. It’s no surprise then that 66% of UK smartphone owners in a study self-reported suffering from ‘nomophobia’, the fear of losing or being without their phones at any given time – obsessively checking to make sure they have their phone with them, and constantly worrying about losing it somewhere.
So, our challenge for this month had two parts to it… First up were the five core rules we followed for the whole month, where we deleted all Social Media apps from our phones, only checking these from a desktop computer. We turned all app banner style/pop-up/sound notifications off all other apps, we kept our phone out of sight during our commute, and hardest of all we had to leave your phone behind you for your bathroom and loo breaks!
When we first read these core challenges, we got excited by the simplicity of them and how they felt like easy new behaviours to introduce. And whilst they were simple and the impact of doing them was great, keeping them up took some perseverance. But it was well worth it… Regaining a bit of daydreaming time on a train or on the loo felt awkward at first, but soon become something we looked forward to. Time to let our minds wander and let the things that are important to us bubble up to the top, not what’s at the top of a stream on social media…. Time was definitely the biggest impact of the base level challenges. More of it and better quality time spent alone or with others.
Then came the bigger challenges, all of which had a huge impact on our energy, but the ones we felt the biggest impact from were:
Challenge 1. - Leaving your phone outside your bedroom overnight.
Another super simple one to put into action, but again one that created a real sense of freedom, and time for us. Avoiding the urge to check emails first thing or start scrolling through newsfeeds meant we spent the morning thinking about us, about our day and about the things we wanted to achieve that day…
“having time and space to think about the day before it really starts has been a game-changer for my mornings. The phones never coming back into the bedroom”
Challenge 2 - Put your phone in a central place when you return home.
“Creating that ‘old fashioned’ relationship with our phones and going to them instead of carrying them around has meant we’re far more present in the moments we have with family. No more dual screening in front of the TV, and as the kids don’t see us on our phones, less pressure from them to be given a screen too…. love it. The basket is staying in our hallway”
Challenge 3 - Take work email off your phone and only check email at a desktop.
This one was hard – hard to get used to but also hard when you’re running a business. We found zooming our time worked well here. And so, setting up a time each day to check email on our desktops (and putting this on an out of office) helped reassure us that we were still in contact with the world, without being beholden to a device.
Challenge 6- Your complete digital detox. Keep your phone switched off and put away one weekend in the month, from 7pm Friday to 8am Monday.
This one felt the scariest, but once it was done had the biggest impact on our energy. We found we were quick to get used to not having or checking our phones, and within less than half a day it felt natural to not have a phone with you. There were the odd occasions where we went to check our phone (navigating or weather reports etc.) but what we quickly realised was that all of those things are replaceable and can be found in other places… navigating by asking someone for directions felt great, meant we spoke to someone new and created a sense of adventure for our travels. And if we want to check the weather, we just looked up J. And best of all by the Sunday night we were completely used to not having a device to check… it felt like a boost of freedom.
“love this one… forced me to focus on the people I was with and the situations I was in much more and helped me feel more present and more connected to what was going on. I’ll be doing this again”
“I noticed a slight pang of concern when turning the phone back on (will there be 1000 emails waiting for us etc.) but the reality was fine and the benefit of doing it far outweighed anything else”.
“One to repeat and one keep feeling the effects of… like a mini weekend break, from our devices!”
Overall the biggest impact on our energy for having completed our digital detox has been that we’ve had more time to think and be present in the moment, and that in those moments we feel more connected to what’s happening. And all of this for doing such simple things to keep our time on screens down, feels like a huge win and something we’ll be keeping on doing. The one key learning has been that we are all more aware of and focused on our relationships with screens. Digital devices and screens aren’t the enemy (he says as he writes this blog post!), they just need careful management to get a healthy relationship going, and that’s exactly what this digital detox has done for us.
A huge thanks to @tanyagoodin for putting this plan together for us this month. We’ve loved it and will be taking loads of the learning with us… You can find out more about Digital Detoxing in Tanya’s awesome book ‘Off’ or on her “It’s Complicated” podcast.
Up next we’re going to be spending July & August looking at our free time and how to get the most out of it, with James Wallman. More to come on that soon, but for now keep enjoying the digital detox.
The Upping Your Elvis Team,