A while back, a friend of mine deactivated her Facebook account for a weekend. Like me, she is a very busy mum trying to run a business, home educate, volunteer and do all of the things. I was a little in awe of her – it takes guts to shut off when you have so much to do.
She came back refreshed and ready to go. While there’s no way I could shut off for a whole weekend (I literally have too much to do online) there are lots of ways you can cut out some of the noise to make your time online more manageable.
Think about it – opening your inbox and being able to see what needs your attention straight away. Only being interrupted by notifications when you’re able to respond. Flicking through social media and not feeling overwhelmed, inadequate or distracted (unless distraction is what you’re going for).
Cutting yourself off from the online world has its place, but unless you actually work to detoxify your online spaces, you’re going to need to cut yourself off again.
Signs you might need a digital detox
You feel stressed most of the time
You’ve started avoiding your inbox
You spend so much time on social media your real life is missing out
You’re getting headaches and eye strain
If these sound like you, then you probably need to detoxify your online spaces. Read on for tips on how to do it.
Check your browser settings
Make sure you don’t allow notifications, clear out unused extensions, set a useful homepage, make sure your search bar is set up correctly, give your bookmarks a once over.
The social media overhaul
Facebook: sort through your friends, groups and pages, deleting anything that no longer serves you. Set a time limit reminder on the app. If you manage Facebook pages, use the Creator Studio to do page admin to filter out all the personal notifications.
Twitter: unfollow people who crowd your timeline or that you’re never going to connect with. Set up private lists for the most important people and save any hashtags you check regularly in the search. Mute anyone you need space from but don’t want to unfollow.
Instagram: unfollow anyone who gives a toxic energy or leaves you feeling inadequate. You don’t need that in your life.
Ask yourself if you really need the applications on your phone. If so, adjust your notification settings so that they can’t interrupt your day when you need quiet time.
Inbox zero (gasp)
Every time you go into your inbox, unsubscribe from three lists that no longer serve you and go through the first page of emails, deleting those you don’t need to keep, archiving the ones you do and dealing with the ones that need your attention.
Glare from your screens can cause eye strain and is just as in need of attention as any other area of your digital life. Keep the brightness as low as you can and use a blue light filter if your device has one.