This morning when reading a number of LinkedIn posts I was reminded about the importance of fostering resilience in our lives as human beings, parents and leaders. Not the type of resilience that is about preserving at all costs, (better described as stoicism) but resilience that is built on renewal. No matter how great we believe we are or want to be in our roles, our relationships or in “powering through” – we need a break and, more often than not, in todays data driven and digitally connected world - a break from our digital technology.
Equally, the more conversations I have about the use of technology, I am reminded of the “tell him he’s dreaming” quote from The Castle. Having a break from technology is great in theory but HOW do I make it happen??? To start the conversation, I have four ways to help you make this gift of renewal a reality!
1. Be Honest – What is important to you?
Like our love of chocolate, a quiet drink after work or the soft cushions on our couch, sometimes digital technology can get in the way of other activities or relationships, which we or others believe would be better for us. These social expectations often contribute to the “should’a/could’a/would’a” list! Dump the list and be honest with yourself - what really matters to you and is your use of technology impacting on it? If it impacts on “real time” relationships that are important and you are ready to take time to work though the obstacles to renew these relationships (with self or others!) – move to step two.
2. Take baby steps…
Research shows that it is unplanned separation from our devices, which causes us the most anxiety. However, most of us – we are talking 60% - just don’t like giving up our phone. While a digital detox can create much needed space in our lives, some of us will need to learn to start digitally detoxing with small increments. If you need “baby steps” then start with proving you can do 15 minutes without technology then move to 30, 60 minutes, up to a couple of hours. Just taking these steps will help you become aware of your digital device autopilot and how much you do check your phone or use digital technology. To master these incremental changes you may need to be kind to yourself to “try, try again”.
3. Put it on the calendar
Whether you are going for increments of digital silence, meditation practice, sunset blackouts, a rest day, or your unplugged weekend off, put them in the diary like any other appointment. You will begin to learn the ins and outs of what you need, and it will become easier to tell when you need more or less unplugged time. It will also help you understand your current boundaries and manage the expectations of others. While many of us say it is our jobs, our work-obsessed boss or family commitments that we cannot safely disconnect – putting unplugged time on the calendar can help us notice where the real obstacles & expectations exist and manage them more effectively. You may even wish to make it fun and bring a friend, family member or your team along for the ride.
4. Get your affairs in order!
Before you plunge into any planned off-line time (usually 24 hours or more but that will depend on your current habits), getting your immediate affairs in order can make an enormous difference to your stress and anxiety levels. The five simple steps below puts you on track to making your unplugged weekend a reality.
Do a brain dump the day before to alleviate any stress and tension in your mind.
Get in touch with your family, friends or work colleagues who usually expect an immediate reply and let them know how long you will be “unplugged”.
Set an email auto reply
Send a temporary social media farewell (if this is your thing!)
The Gift of Renewal
The gift of renewal can come in many different ways, one of which is an unplugged weekend away. The Digital Detox Project’s first residential event - Camp Unplugged will be held at Garapine situated in the Mary Valley, 2 hours north of Brisbane over the weekend 17-19 March 2017. This weekend has been designed for family members who would love a weekend away from the everyday, with nature, adventure activities, craft and workshops and time out with the people who are important to them but without the distraction of digital devices or the chores of cooking or setting up tents.
Now you know how - Who would you unplug for?
Come and join us with your family in swapping virtual tweets with real ones and we'll send you back renewed and ready to return to your daily life with new strategies and habits to reclaim your life in the digital world. For more details on Camp Unplugged at Garapine visit Camp-Unplugged or contact us today on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0439 461567.
Elizabeth Hughes and Sharon Harvey
Co-Creators, The Digital Detox Project
About the Digital Detox Project
The Digital Detox Project aspires to transform our communities’ relationship with technology. We support our community to create space in and away from the everyday, to foster awareness of what is important and the interplay between this and our use of technology. We share empowering and pragmatic ways to make conscious choices as to how we want to live our lives, connect with our families and lead our businesses.