Insights

The top four reasons to have a digital detox

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by Nicole Campbell | 28 June 2018

When our Marketing Team was set the task of carrying out a 48 hours digital detox, I have to bizarrely admit that I was looking forward to it. As a society, it has almost become the norm to be glued to your mobile phone and many people may think of them as a necessity to function properly which is actually not the case. Not everyone on my team was looking forward to the challenge for a number of reasons including having already bought tram tickets digitally on their phones, missing out on a new TV series (we were only allowed to view channels one to five) and various other reasons. However it did not phase me as much because I walked to work so I did not face the problem of potentially ending up stranded or fined for a ticket that was on my phone, so I was intrigued as to what my own personal challenges would be.

I do think you can use phones habitually, which is why I found myself on numerous occasions asking myself “where did I put my phone?” and then I remembered that I had agreed to do a digital detox. I do think phones have some great advantages such as keeping us connected with our friends and family whom we may have otherwise lost contact with, storing special events that have taken place in our lives through the use of pictures and videos (like a digital memory), making us feel safe when we walk home alone and a big one for me is preventing me from getting lost as my sense of direction is awful!
 
Some of the research I found was very eye-opening which helped me make sense of my experiences. I have therefore decided to provide my top four reasons of why everyone should take part in a digital detox!

1.Better sleep
When the majority of us go to bed we will put our phone on charge, set our alarm and then either browse on social media, play a game or if you are like me catch-up on the news. Since writing this blog I was enlightened to learn that this is in fact the worst time to do so. Without going on my phone, I fell asleep faster and felt fresh-faced in the morning. Having researched this I have found out that there is actually a scientific explanation for this.

A huge 79 percent of participants in a study carried out by Deloitte (2017) admitted that they check their phone one hour before going to bed. This is proven to disrupt your sleep as studies have shown that blue and white light from devices can suppress the melatonin that your body produces and therefore you may not be able to get to sleep as quickly. 

I feel like this experience has educated me on the disruptive impact that phone usage can have before going to sleep and I will now make a conscious effort to break this habit. I will do this by only using my phone to set my alarm before I go to sleep to limit the amount of blue and white light exposure. 

2.Be more social
I am a self-confessed Instagram lover and have a tendency to sit on my phone whilst watching TV and scroll through my news feed. I will tag my friends in funny memes that I see or have a conversation over text, however by doing this, am I actually being social?

I decided to meet up with my friends whilst doing the digital detox and face the challenge of making sure that we would both be at the same location at the same time. Fortunately for me, we were both there so I didn’t get stood up. I really enjoyed spending valuable time being face-to-face with my friend where you can hear their voice and see their facial expressions instead of having an intangible online chat.

More people are using digital technology than ever before in comparison to 20 years ago. I remember getting my first phone which was the Nokia 3310 which had the basic features of calling, texting and the renowned snake game, however I did not forfeit this with playing face-to-face with my friends.

Although we may feel more connected and a sense of comfort having lots of connections and friends on various social platforms, it has been found that being continuously connected on your phone has been linked to higher stress levels (Nichols, 2018) and it can increase the sense of loneliness.  

From this experience, I am going to make more of an effort to meet up with my friends and spend less time communicating digitally. However I also believe digital can be a great tool for people that do not live close to each other to stay in touch. 

3.Increased productivity at home and at work
As I mentioned previously, I think my phone usage can sometimes be habitual as I do tend to click on my screen to check for notifications and even if I do have them, I don’t always read them there and then.  

Nottingham Trent University (2015) found in their study that people check their phones around 85 times a day and don’t know that they are doing it. This could therefore distract people when they are at work making them less productive disrupting their workflow. You could consider putting your phone in a draw or out of sight to prevent this.

4.Stop comparing yourself to others
Previously, I mentioned the benefits of digital and the use of mobile phones. These included storing photos and videos of special events that happen in your life. As well as storing these images on your phone, people will upload their life events onto social media channels as a way to share their experiences with their friends or as a way to store these files without losing them. Posts on social media can be a charade, where people promote the best aspects of their lives or are posting the ideal picture that they think people want to see, but it is not always real life. 

I personally do upload pictures to Instagram as I like to see it as a diary of all the places I have visited and I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing so. However, you can see other people’s lives on social media which can trigger negative feelings due to them wanting to look more like someone else, or be able to do the same things as someone else. It is important to realise that social media is not always a true representation of someone’s life so try not to compare yourself.

So where do I go from here?
Even though I enjoyed my digital detox and realised the benefits of not having my phone, I was looking forward to getting my phone back to reconnect with the world. I have spoken a lot about what the effects of digital are in my personal life but not in the workplace. I do think digital is a fantastic tool for businesses allowing companies to connect with their clients and customers more efficiently and effectively and I would not advise a digital detox within a business. I would suggest having digital detox in your personal time to allow you to focus on other important aspects of your life. 

Digital has played a fundamental role allowing us to become more time efficient, reach a wider audience and keep in touch with our candidates and clients on a regular basis. 


For more information on how Sellick Partnership may be able to assist you in the future, please contact us
 

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