Digital detox

View of trees and a hill in the distance. Text reads "Detox time. Try Fax Free Friday this week."

A lot of people are practising digital detoxing. This usually consists of logging off social media or eschewing all screens for a specified time period (definitely less than a year).

There are many proven benefits to a digital detox including increased concentration, lowered stress hormones and a keener sense of smell.

However, for some people, a strict digital detox regime is simply unrealistic. Luckily, I’ve devised some mini tech-detox programs that can be just as refreshing.

ONE: Fax free Friday

Don’t send any faxes on Fridays and shred any that you receive. To reduce faxing expectations, let friends, family, colleagues and treating practitioners know you’ll be doing this. Make it clear that you’ll still be available via phone, email and DMs.

TWO: Spamtember

Only read spam emails in the month of September, auto-deleting any messages that arrive in your regular Inbox. It’s a good idea to set up an automatic reply to explain that you’re exclusively reading spam. If the matter is important enough, people can resend their email mentioning inheritances or big penises to get the message through to you.

THREE: Octpopinber

Respond to all text messages with a pop-in. If a friend asks if you’re free at the weekend, turn up at their office to tell them ‘No’. If you receive an appointment reminder from your dentist, don’t text YES, go in and tell them that you’re still planning to come back tomorrow. Octpopinber can be a lot of work, particularly if you receive texts from interstate or overseas. This effort is also an opportunity because doing something slightly uncomfortable means you can raise money for charity at the same time. Friends and family can sponsor you per pop-in or just give you $1000 to cover flights etc. Any money left over can go to a digital literacy foundation.

FOUR: Good evenwall

After 5pm each day, restrict all digital communication to Facebook walls. There should be no secrets between friends, or friends of friends, or people looking at the Facebook page of people with no privacy settings. If you have something to say to someone who’s not in the same room as you, post it on their Facebook timeline. Things like organising brunch, or criticising colleagues can be simply and effectively done this way without having to waste mental energy choosing between messaging platforms. This will leave your mind free of distractions and smelling things better.

These are just some of the mini-detox techniques I implement regularly. I’m sure you have others, so let me know! – little warning it’s WingDings Wednesday so I only reply to messages in that fun font.

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