If you feel that you use technology way too frequently, or that technology has impacted your health, then it’s time find the best ways to unplug. Read on to learn more about ten ways to unplug from this world and how easy it can be to take back control over your daily life and your personal time.
1. Go “Old School”
To go old school means to go back to a previous time. In doing so, you’ll escape the problems associated with technology in the modern world while not necessarily experiencing a quality of life decline. If you were born in the 80s, then you remember a time when it was possible to live a great life without constantly being glued to your smartphone and/or MacBook.
To go old school, here’s what you’ll need to accomplish (though not necessarily in this exact order depending on your lifestyle):
- Replace or retire your cell phone. If you’re using a mobile smart device, then you’ll want to consider using an older model that lacks app capabilities. We’ll talk more about this potential solution in the second section of this guide.
- Bring your technology use down to a minimum outside of the office. If you have a computer at home, maybe it’s time to set some hard limits on how much time you can spend checking email or going on social media sites.
- Carry a pager with you. Just kidding! There’s no need to consider this route unless you really want to go old school.
2. Consider Older Phone Use
As indicated in the first section of this guide, you may want to consider using an older phone model as opposed to your current smartphone. The main reason for considering this approach is that you’ll avoid the addictive apps and games that go along with modern smartphone use.
There are a few different models out there on the market today that lack the sophistication of modern phones. You may want to consider a flip phone like the ones you may have seen back in the late 90s and early 2000s. It all depends on how old school you really want to go to achieve this goal.
Here are two phone models that meet the criteria indicated previously:
- Total Wireless – ZTE Z233VL 4G LTE with 4GB Memory Cell Phone: While this phone model does have the ability to go online and includes a built-in web browser, we doubt that you’ll ever want to spend more than a handful of minutes looking at this tiny, low-resolution screen.
- LG Exalt® LTE: Another flip phone option. While this device includes Internet access, it’s tough to spend a significant amount of time using it without an actual keyboard.
3. Read Books Instead of Browsing the Web
Now, you may do most of your reading online. As such, you’re constantly plugged into the 24-7 news cycle and all the emotions and stress it can bring with it. Instead of delivering anxiety to your brain on a silver platter, why not consider disconnecting from the web and e-books for a while?
Physical books – you know, the kind that you can hold in your hand and don’t rely on lithium-ion batteries – can provide a great release from the issues of reading text on a computer or mobile device screen.
Another great benefit of purchasing physical books or renting them from your local library is price. E-books are often more expensive than used books – and of course they’re more expensive than anything you would rent form your local library.
In choosing books to read instead of using your devices and computers, you’ll want to pick titles that you’re truly interested in. This will keep your mind occupied on reading the book instead of on the other activities you may have done in the past.
4. Use Meditation to Reprogram Your Mind
Meditation offers its practitioners tremendous benefits. There are many types of meditation, including walking meditation, Zen meditation, and mindfulness meditation – those this list is by no means exhaustive.
One of the key benefits of meditation is its ability to calm your mind and disconnect you from your daily life and worries. By meditating, you can take an activity that provides a sense of calm and apply it to your own challenges, including disconnecting from technology.
A significant benefit that meditation offers over technology-related activities is that it allows you to be alone with your own thoughts. While mass media and social media strive to garner as much of your attention and brain power as they possibly can, meditation takes nothing but gives everything.
You can practice meditation anywhere at any time – even while you do another activity. For example, many Buddhists may use walking meditation to focus and achieve great meditation sessions. Regardless of the route you take, meditation can offer many benefits.
5. Pick Up New Hobbies Outside of Technology
If you’ve ever wanted to take up a new hobby in life, then this is the right opportunity. Of course, you’re going to have to pick a hobby that doesn’t involve the use of technology or mobile devices. If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a new athletic hobby, this a great chance to meet new people and build up your physical strength.
Other hobbies can include physical tasks like learning how to knit or going rock climbing. Practically anything that relies on your body, form, and brain to be successful will give you an alternative to the technology-infused life you were leading previously.
Other activities can include volunteering at a local soup kitchen or at a homeless shelter. If you like to work with animals, you could volunteer your time at an animal sanctuary or shelter for cats, dogs, and other pets.
Finally, if you’re feeling up to it, you could even consider going back to school. The amount of time you invest in your own education will more than fulfill you with the gap of technology-related activities.
6. Detach from Technology Apps – Dumb Down Your Phone
We’ve already discussed the possibility of dumbing down your phone in the previous sections. Instead of buying an entirely separate phone and using that for all your communication needs, you could consider keeping your existing device.
Some phones have a setting that allows you to disconnect from the Internet while still maintaining communication with text messages and actual phone calls. This option can come in handy if you like all the other features of your smartphone but just don’t want to deal with the problems and addiction potential that comes with the Internet.
In addition to these phone setting changes, you could also consider purchasing a phone plan that sets a hard limit on your data connectivity. For example, services like Google Fi allow you to select a phone call and text message plan only. Other providers may even allow you to limit the number of text messages you can send, thereby keeping you even more disconnected from the addiction potential of these smart devices.
7. Track Your Technology Hours
Another way to keep tabs on how much time you’re investing in non-productive technological activities is to track your technology hours with an automated tool or with a spreadsheet. For instance, you could make it a habit to check how much time you’ve spent on technology and related applications every hour. You would keep a log for each hour and specify the percentage of that time that you spent plugged in.
If you don’t feel like manually keeping track of your technology hours, there are some tools and applications out there on the web that can help you to identify the amount of time you’re spending on a given activity. However, this requires you to technology itself, which may not be ideal. It’s ultimately up to you in this case.
Lastly, there is an interesting tool out there that allows you to govern your time in smaller chunks so that you can more efficiently complete tasks. It’s known as XYZ and keeps you focused during each “sprint” so that you can be more productive. However, this again requires you to use technology, so your mileage may vary.
8. Take Accountability for Your Own Decisions and Actions
It’s a tough pill to swallow when it comes to taking accountability for our own decisions and actions in life. This type of personal responsibility requires a serious investment and a sense of humbleness that can be sometimes difficult to muster.
You’re going to have to mentally pivot yourself to understanding that the things that happen in your life are a result of your own choices. If you feel like you’re not productive or you’re not investing enough time in your personal relationships, then the reason for that deficit is a result of decisions you have personally made in your life that led to this point.
The good news is that when you take accountability for your own life you put yourself in a position to be able to change it. By taking responsibility, you’re now in the driver’s seat and can make different choices that reposition you in life and give you a new outlook.
If you’re having difficulty taking accountability, considering reaching out to a family member or close friend who can help you to take responsibility for your actions by holding you accountable. This can be a great team effort.
9. Lock Up Your Phone
If you’re using your phone way too much, then it’s time to take drastic measures that force you to avoid using it during important times in your life. There are cages you can buy on the market today that will allow you to physically lock your phone up during family meal times, meditation, and more. These cages will keep your phone locked up and secure so that you have no ability to use it during important times.
Of course, you don’t have to go this far with it. You could also just place your phone in a place that’s out of reach when you’re working on important tasks or spending quality time with family and friends. For example, if you’re going out to dinner with some close friends, then you may want to keep your phone at home. That way, you’re physically unable to reach it during the meal and it will force you to spend more time focusing on the conversation and the present moment.
Other tactics including turning your phone off at key moments. This will prevent you from using it – or, at the very least, it will stall you since it takes a certain amount of time to turn the device on and off.
10. Schedule “Check Out” Times
The last tip on this list is to schedule “checkout” times in your daily life. You may have no choice in using technology at the office, and that’s understandable. Most jobs today require that employees stay plugged in for significant amounts of time while on the job. They may even require you to stay plugged in after you leave the office.
You can stop this encroachment on your personal time by scheduling times when you will finally check out from all technologies and devices. No more apps, no more web browsing, and no video games. You should consider setting this checkout time at least 5 hours in advance of your bed time as this will allow your brain to adjust to a more normal state of drowsiness and non-arousal.
What’s Next? Have Any Ideas?
This list is by no means exhaustive. Although it will get you well on your way to unplugging from the world of technology and all the problems that come with it, there are many other ways to unplug. If you can think of any additional ideas, be sure to write them down and go through your list whenever you need to come up with a new plan.
Good luck on your quest to unplugging!