People doing digital detox should not just go “cold turkey.” Instead, try these steps:
- Inform friends, family, teachers, coaches, bosses, etc. that you won’t be available. Find out if they need anything and take care of it in advance. Then you won’t have to worry about whether people are trying to reach you. In case of a real emergency — it’s very unlikely! — let people know an alternate way of reaching you (perhaps a landline phone number). Most people will be interested in what you’re doing and eager to help you succeed.
- Set an auto-response for e-mail account(s), saying that you will be unavailable until Time X or Day Y, so people won’t expect quick replies. You can also post a status update to Facebook, et al. so people don’t contact you there about anything timely.
- Think of hobbies or experiences to enjoy during unplugged time. Some offline activities to try: play a sport, spend time at the park, volunteer in the community, write a letter, play a board game or cards, do a puzzle, paint or draw, play a musical instrument, go to a movie or concert, cook a meal, build something, visit a museum, read a book for fun… Gather whatever information or supplies you will need in advance, and make plans to do it.
- Turn off your laptop, cellphone and other gadgets. You can even hide them away in a drawer or closet. It will be hard to resist the temptation to go online if you sit in your room staring at a computer all day. Instead, engage in something fun, far away from your desk. When you get up in the morning, don’t turn on devices. Start doing whatever activities you had been looking forward to.