BY BRITTANY ORIE
Ever since we entered the digital age, our way of enjoying the world around us has become more and more tainted with the instant gratification of modern technology. We go out on fewer walks because we cannot get away from our phones. We may spend less time praying and more time tweeting. We can’t fully be at peace with ourselves because we’re too busy comparing our lives to those fancy Instagrammers. Family members have become disconnected at the dinner table because they’ve become more connected with hundreds of people on social media!
I know I’ve been glued to my phone lately and I can honestly say that I’m in need of a technical fast. It can be difficult to unplug from our phones because we check them every hour. Nowadays we check our phones for emails, account balances, text messages, work schedules, and social media notifications. I know it’s even more difficult to unplug from our devices because of that tempting bright red number dangling at the corner of our Facebook icon…we just have to check it! Those dinging notifications can lure us in any second in any situation, but there are steps we can take to unplug from these smartphones and enjoy life.
First, we need to know why to unplug. Smartphones and social media are dangerous tools of distraction. They can make us lazy, unproductive, and lose track of time. We also need to realize that some things we do on our phones is not that urgent. Checking your social media accounts and updating them for fun are not urgent—unless you have a business account and you’re keeping followers updated with your product. Mindlessly playing Candy Crush is definitely not urgent and neither is scrolling through Pinterest. The reality check is that we can function normally in our lives without doing any of these menial activities. Lastly, we must unplug and take advantage of the world around us! We don’t know how imprisoned our phones make us feel until we realize that they disconnect us from the external world.
Unplugging from smartphones and social media can be practiced either weekly or monthly, whether we do it only one day every week, or a week every month, or one weekend every month. So let’s unplug…!
- Silence your phone or completely turn it off and step away from it. It’s “outta sight, outta mind” for this step. When we don’t see or hear our phones, we are not terribly tempted to check them. This is a great first step to take because it’s as though we’re training ourselves to be content without the constant engagement with our phones. Yes, they are useful, but our phones aren’t everything. Before we get serious about this technological fast, we must start small and go bigger. Try silencing your phone and putting it in your nightstand drawer for at least an hour and see how you do. Once you feel comfortable enough without it, try making it a habit from time to time. Don’t forget to let your friends and family know that you’re taking a technological fast, so they won’t freak out when you don’t respond to their calls and texts.
- Delete those distracting apps! Like I said before, we use our phones to check important things such as email, bank accounts, and text messages. But let’s try to delete the less important apps such as games, Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, and any other app that threatens our productivity. I know I can do without my game apps, my social media apps, and YouTube, sooo…delete!
- Know when to make the decision to unplug whether it’s today, tomorrow, this weekend, or even next month. It’s good to know when, so we can get mentally prepared. For instance, if you decide to unplug the very next day, try silencing or powering off your phone either right when you go to bed or right before you begin the next day.
- Find more fun activities. Before the invasion of smartphones and social media, what did you do to entertain yourself? Do you have any new interests? Try taking more advantage of them during your technological fast. Perhaps this will inspire you to unplug more often!