The concept of digital wellbeing is simple: ensuring we maintain a healthy lifestyle while using technology. Like many obvious things, it’s easier said than done.
In this article you will learn the core methods of digital well-being. They are key to balancing the benefits of technology and its inevitable drawbacks.
Digital Wellbeing: the Basics
If you go to bed with your phone, check every notification, and spend two hours watching YouTube when you meant to check your emails, you have a problem. Good news is, you can solve it.
(Pro Tip: Consider telling your friends and/or family all about your plans to cut down on the internet. This will create a sense of responsibility that will help you stay on course. Bonus points if you talk them into trying digital detox together.)
1. Declutter your subscriptions and notifications.
Any digital wellbeing journey starts with a digital clean-up.
Go through your following lists on social media and unfollow the people that flood your feed with nonsense. Unsubscribe from the channels you barely watch. Consider disabling notifications for social media apps completely, or leaving them on solely for things like private messages or friend requests.
Disabling as many notifications as possible will give you fewer excuses to pick up the phone. And when you do, the decluttered subscription list will guarantee you less time wasted and more high-quality content.
2. Create a phone-free bedtime routine.
Don’t put your phone on the bedside table. Just don’t.
Using a screen before bedtime disrupts your sleeping patterns. The bright light makes your brain think it’s morning and tampers with melatonin production. Not to mention it’s bad for your eyes.
Make the conscious effort to put your phone where you cannot reach it. Use screenless devices like Senstone Scripter if you’re the type to come up with ideas or plans after midnight. If you need a soothing activity to fall asleep, pick an offline habit, such as reading or journaling (which, again, you can do using a screenless gadget).
3. Make time for digital detox.
Awareness is an important part of your digital wellbeing, but for that you need a point of reference. In other words, you have to remember what it’s like to live offline. As much as it pains many of us to admit, that is when our brain works as evolution intended.
Set aside some time to “go off the grid”. There are degrees to digital detox, so don’t think you have to turn off your phone completely if you don’t want to. You can do short digital detox sessions every day. Some people go offline on Sundays. The point is to minimize the digital in your life and find balance in your surroundings.
4. Track the time you spend on the Internet.
Now, you say, all that digital detox stuff in fine and dandy, but how do I put down my phone if I have trouble doing that?
The answer is activity tracking. You want to identify the apps or websites that steal your time and go from there.
Look up “web activity time tracker” on any search engine and you’ll see many options for different platforms. Obligatory warning: make sure the apps you install come from verified sources.
5. Prioritize real-life entertainment for your digital wellbeing.
Some time after 20th cat video, it stops being fun. And yet we keep scrolling away, because our brains crave that sweet, sweet dopamine. That’s very far from the genuine entertainment.
It’s much easier to tell yourself “nope, let’s do something else” when you do things offline.
Make it a habit to replace digital entertainment with real-world activities. Pick up a hobby. Visit your friends. Stay present and focused.
Finally, remember that your digital well-being is a matter of lifestyle. Much like a diet or exercise, a short, explosive effort will produce little result. Start small and start slow, and in a few months you will be amazed how much difference it makes.
This article was brought to you by Senstone. We make productivity wearables; you make decisions. Check out our home page to learn more.