If you could limit your interaction with social media and email, you may be surprised at how much more joy you’d get out of your day. Not only would you be happier, but you’d also have more time to do other things you like to do.
I am going to share with you my Time Detox diet I used in the spring of 2017 when I was facing the social media or email addiction. Want to try it yourself?
To begin, ask yourself this question:
“If I had an extra 30 minutes, or even 60 minutes every single day, what would I do with it?”
In your journal, write down a few things that come to mind.
If you are like me, it’s likely you have some poor habits surrounding the following 6 distractions. Which ones are true for you?
- Checking social media on your phone all day
- Checking email all day
- Surfing the web to search for anything and everything
- Online shopping
- Photo taking, organizing, uploading and posting
- YouTube (or other online streaming video)
An online presence is such a big part of life, you may not have noticed how much it intrudes. But today you’re going to cut back on one. Just one. Remember, you’re not giving it up. You’re just going to spend less time doing it.
“So, what is it the distraction you’ve selected?”
Now that you know the behavior you’re going to limit, select a replacement activity. This replacement is a way of holding your hand as you slow down your relationship with your online practices. Keep it simple and enjoyable. Is there a book you’d like to read? Maybe there’s a park nearby you’d like to walk through. Whatever it is, it’s uniquely yours and something you like to do.
Note that I am not asking you to drop that habit completely. Just LIMIT THIS ACTION for only 7 days starting tomorrow morning.
Why do I fight against the “Be-Online” Addiction?
I have been there. I know how this feels like.
I was addicted to my phone. I was checking it at least 96 times a day, which is every 7 to 10 minutes, for everything. Most of the time, I didn’t know why I was checking it, but I felt I HAD TO, creating stress, and procrastinating a lot. So, I decided to go on a time detox diet, one step at a time, and put a stop on my addictive phone checking habit.
I decided that rather than completely stop checking my phone, which, let’s face it, would have sent me into withdrawals, I would only use my phone during office hours for phone calls.
Here is what I did on my 7-day detox diet
- During office hours, my phone was on silent mode
- I started working in sprints of 45 minutes
- Every 45 minutes I would allow myself to check the phone for phone calls only
- No Facebook, emails, or apps during office time.
- I decided the phone would NOT leave my office because it was a work phone for work only. Outside work I decided to use on additional phone that had no Internet access.
- I was so eager to cleanse myself of this addiction of my phone that I did not even purchase credit to call on the second phone. I only received calls from two people, Alex and my mother.
- All this time I kept a small Time-Detox Journal, writing down my thoughts and feelings along with a few other things that happened throughout the day.
- As a tip, I suggest you do as I did. When you start the detox diet, introduce a new activity to your schedule. I love reading, but I have not done it regularly in way too long. I chose to read one book, one I thoroughly enjoyed, so I was not just filing up the empty time I had now that I was not checking my phone every 7 minutes. Filling time is just filling time so find something you really want to do.
- I do not want to fool you. It was hard and the pain doesn’t come alone. The first night was difficult and inside my core I had this feeling of anxiety because I felt I was missing something important. However, in the midst of this anxiety, I realized that my mind connects my phone to my work, so from deep in my body came screams to “go check my emails!! You have more work, and you are wasting time. You haven’t finished our course copy!” All this was happening and it was only 10:00 pm.
Keeping the journal helped me to begin to clean my mind and to begin to realize THERE IS NO RUSH.
I can do things my own way, and in my own time. Really, the world is not going to end if I finish a project three days later. Plus, some things just need more time. And there it was my epiphany, my awakening: there is no rush. Part of my brain illuminated, and I felt an ease that would help me become less rushed to compulsively check things or do things.
The next days were less painful, until finally the pain went away. The weekend (day 3 and 4 of the diet) was the most relaxing, and disconnecting weekend I have experienced in the last few years
I can also attest to the salvation of having an activity I love to keep my mind active and busy while filling up the extra time.
After the 7-day time detox diet, I took my phone home. Yes, I did have an urge to jump on it, and I did start getting obsessed with it and with work again. However, the seven-day experience of the toxic time diet had begun to replace that obsession with such wonderful feelings of ease that I did not want to lose them. I was determined to stay away from the phone and continue on, keeping things in balance as I went through my daily routine.
- Remember this is a process, so select one addictive habit you have concerning time. Decide the one goal you have for it.
- Remember it is not all or nothing. I set a schedule so I could check my phone, so be kind.
- Keep in mind what that we do not judge. Do not even think well if I were really brave I would just cut it cold turkey.
- I want you to succeed, so like the turtle, go slow go far.
- Keep a journal and write it all down.
- Find that one activity you enjoy to fill in the extra time, that at first will feel like a millennium.
- Now you are ready to start. Happy detoxing!
Fight Against The “Be-Online” Addiction
Start today by downloading the Create a Healthy Relationship with Time Wasters Worksheet that I have created to help you thorough the process.
Then share your experiences below. It is through the shared stories that we learn.
Here’s my story on why a month ago I quit Facebook to fight even more against the online addiction:
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Originally published at medium.com