Smartphones, the widespread availability of internet access and the rise of social media platforms have revolutionised life over the past decade. It’s never been easier to stay in touch with friends, to organise and manage your social life, and to keep up with news and events.

But have you stopped to consider the impact this may be having on your daily life? If you’ve become a slave to your smartphone, it may be time to consider a digital detox.

Studies suggest that it’s not unusual for someone to spend three to four hours a day online. Being connected has many advantages of course, but it also means you’re available to the world on demand twenty four hours a day. With constant distractions from technology, it’s hard to focus on one thing at a time and be present in the moment. Losing the ability to concentrate and having anxiety over FOMO (fear of missing out) are becoming problems in the developed world.

The following tips will help you break free from the thrall to smartphones, tablets and laptops and experience the benefits of a digital detox.

1) Analyse your use of technology

Start by listing the devices you use to get online, and the apps and websites you access daily. This may help you identify the first steps you need to take to reduce your reliance on technology. Consider the times of day that you access social media and check your emails, and ask yourself whether its necessary. Spending time on smartphones or tablet devices as soon as you wake up and just before you go to sleep are signs you need to make some changes.

2) Change one habit at a time

For most people, it’s unrealistic to remove yourself from the digital world too quickly. You’ll probably still need to access emails, get online and interact with friends on social media. By starting with small, achievable steps you can gradually reduce your reliance on technology and the time you spend online. For example, switch off your devices two hours before you go to bed and leave them outside your bedroom overnight. Checking smartphones during mealtimes can have a negative impact on rare time to catch up with loved ones. Banning tech from the table is a good way to start a digital detox.

3) Tell everyone what you’re doing

Sharing your plans to move away from spending some so much time in the digital world means you’ll be more committed to succeed. It also helps friends and family to understand why you don’t interact with them so often on social media, and why it may take you days rather than hours to reply to emails. Another valuable benefit is that you actually meet up with your friends in person to catch up, rather than using Facebook.

4) Leave your tech at home

Constantly watching the world through a screen means you miss what’s going on around you. Leave your smartphone at home if you go out for the day with your family or meet up with friends for an evening. Consider buying a basic cell phone to make and receive calls if you’re worried about people being able to get hold of you in an emergency. Experience the world and live in the moment rather than sharing status updates about your day.

And another thing…

The growing appeal of a digital detox means that developers have created apps to help. These work in different ways, but the objective is to track how much time you spend on social media and email and give you options to lock access during certain hours of the day. Some of the apps designed to restrict use of your smartphone charge a penalty to your credit card if you break the rules you set yourself. They are very useful if you’re concerned that your children are spending too much time gaming or chatting with friends on their smartphones and tablets.

Technology and the internet have become integral to modern life, but they can also be a source of stress. A digital detox can help clear your mind, reduce information overload and restore a sense of balance.

At Four Business Solutions, we take our own advice! Our success is built on values like trust, teamwork and vision, and we believe that people are at the heart of any business.

To find out more about our services, simply give us a call on 0800 6250 025.