Overconnected? 5 ways to unplug — a little more often
How to find better balance with small changes
There’s no denying the allure of technology. Constant connection. Instant interaction. Answers with the tap of a finger.
It’s fun, amazing and useful. But if you’re desperately devoted to your smartphone, it could be too much of a good thing. And if your free time often means screen time, it may be at the expense of other parts of your life — relationships, hobbies and health.
Of course, not everyone can unplug fully — or would want to. The key is to find what works for you. If you’d like to find a better balance, here are 5 practical ways to begin:
1. Plan digital downtime
Set reasonable limits for yourself — and stick to them. For instance, you might:
- Turn off — or silence and set aside — devices during meal times.
- Aim to spend no more than two hours a day of your recreational time online or with screens, such as watching TV.
- Set a timer for activities like browsing social media or playing games. Then take a break when the time’s up.
2. Switch things up to help you switch off
Do you grab your phone or tablet at frequent intervals, just to glance at your notifications or check social media? It can become automatic, even habitual. To counter the compulsion, try leaving your device out of reach or sight.
Shaking up your daily routines can help too. For example, maybe you often cuddle up with your laptop after dinner — and hours go by. Instead, check email or social media sites standing at the kitchen counter before you settle down to relax for the evening.
3. Make yourself earn it
Instead of turning to your digital device by default, make it a reward instead. Get busy — work out or fold laundry, for instance — before you enjoy your electronic time.
One caveat: If this makes you feel even more attracted to your electronics, it’s probably not the best strategy for you.
4. Tap into screen-free fun
Shaking one habit is easier if you replace it with activities you like. Try taking up a digital-free hobby to keep your hands and mind busy. Here are just a few ideas: gardening, yoga, knitting, sketching and model-making.
5. Relish your real-life connections
Seek out friends and loved ones for quality, in-person time. So that you can give them your full attention, set aside your phone and other devices.
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