5 tips for a digital detox + summer break

Show notes

In a world of constant connectivity, sometimes we need to disconnect to reconnect.

You might know this situation of checking your phone as soon as there is one minute of free time. Endless scrolling through Social Media. Watching the 100th video where you wonder how you ever got there. Opening your email inbox every 10 minutes. Random digital procrastination.

The most data efficient we can be with technology is when we don't use it. No push and pull of data.

So let's do a digital detox.

Plus, I'm going to be on a podcast summer break. The second season of the podcast will start end of August, beginning of September. Enjoy your summer!

Love, Sandy


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Show transcript

Hi and welcome everyone to today's episode of the Green the Web podcast. It is a podcast about ecologically and socially sustainable design. I'm your host as always Sandy Dähnert, a UX UI researcher and designer myself and I'm right before a wonderful summer break. I'm really looking forward to that.

And the summer is finally here in the Northern hemisphere and I'm enjoying it to the fullest, I really do. And every single year I take a summer break from work. And one thing that I enjoyed the most during my summer breaks is a digital detox. So before going into this break, I want to talk with you exactly about that digital detox. And in a world of constant connectivity, sometimes you need to disconnect to actually reconnect. In the end, you might know the situation of checking your phone as soon as there is one minute of free time. Endless scrolling through social media, watching the 100th video where you wonder how you ever got there. Opening your email inbox every ten minutes like random digital procrastination. I definitely know those situations and I know plenty of people who do so as well. So one question is do we actually need all of that? Can we refrigerate all of it? Can we reconnect with ourselves and get rid of all this digital procrastination and binge watching and all of those things? And the most data efficient we can be with technology is when we don't use it like there is no push, no pull of data, there is no going back and forth and out and in. We just don't use it. There is even whole digital minimalism philosophies out there where you really figure out what digital devices and software do support you in your life and which can be traded with other forms of communication and management tools and whatsoever. There is even books about it such as digital minimalism by Cal Newport. You can go very deep into digital minimalism and digital detox if you want to. Maybe that's even one of the things you want to do in the summer of reading more and reading one of those books about digital minimalism. But what I want to talk about with you today are five tips for a digital detox and how to like what to look up for or what to consider, what to think of. And the first tip that I have is digital and device free times because we all probably have encountered this situation of being on our phones all of the time and especially when we know we shouldn't be like directly in the mornings after waking up evenings before going to bed and we all heard of Let's not do that, but we still end up doing it. I really know the situation, but really trying to figure out how can I have digital free times as well as device free times because most of our devices nowadays are digital, so we have to consider both. It's after waking up before going to bed, during eating a walk in the park during lunchtime without having your smartphone with you, for example, whole days during holidays or weekends where you don't have your device with you or you never actually turned on internet connection you have even options for do not disturb times in your phone and laptop. You can even have different settings for messages and calls for different apps and I have that constantly in my daily life. I have a do not disturb time from I think it's 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for messages and apps. So no ping, no vibration, no anything comes up for messages or push notifications during that time only calls because I rarely get called and if I get called then it's usually important. So I want to hear those calls and you can have settings for that. But I don't want to get disturbed by constant messages, especially in messaging groups or from certain applications on my phone or even laptop. So I have this 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. setting of Do not disturb me during holidays. I even have that for full times or don't even take my device with me. Don't even turn on internet connection and it gives me so much free space to think it might be just one free device in digital time during a day for you it might just be one hour in the morning, it might be a whole day, it might be in the evenings that you do not want to be disturbed and want to kick off all of that device and digital things. But think about what could be free times for you. Maybe it's lunchtime, maybe it's the morning and the evening during the day. Whatever it is, during a specific thing that you're doing, what is one free time I want to have from my devices and from digital spheres in a day, every day or for a certain period of time, for example, during a vacation or on a weekend and so on. My second advice is to have digital and device free routines. And we all do have different kinds of small and big routines in our daily life as well as also on vacation and stuff. One thing that I see myself and all kinds of other people as well doing is, for example between meetings having this routine of grabbing a phone and checking the phone, checking emails, checking messages, checking whatever there is of applications and stuff. What would be a routine that is device free and digital free in between meetings? What could that be for you? Could it be going to get a coffee going outside for a minute, breathing, checking in with myself? Just one thing that is not device or digital related. It's the same with while waiting for the tram while waiting in the doctor's waiting room on the toilet during dinner, being on commute, traveling somewhere. And I'm also a yoga teacher who constantly talks about stuff like that in my yoga classes and still find it hard to include it in my daily life as well because our mind loves to be entertained. So I know all of those situations because I step into them constantly as well and try to remind myself to have those digital and device free routines. Could it be drinking your morning coffee without any digital interference? Could it be doing sports without your phone? I know a lot of people love tracking their distance and all kinds of health things with digital devices, whether that's a smartwatch or a smartphone. But could you actually go to sports or do sports without your phone once in a while? Maybe even just. It's also about not taking your laptop with you on holiday. It's about turning your phone off while reading or some other routine that you have or at least turning off the internet connection. It helps so much already because most of the things nowadays just come via internet connection. All of those messages and push notifications they need internet connection. So when we turn off the internet connection, not even the phone itself, but the Internet connection, then we have a lot more calmness in our minds because we know there is nothing coming in. I don't have to look at my phone because there is nothing on it. Generally just turning off the internet connection once in a while helps so much for a digital detox. You can also think about other routines that might be on vacation. For example, having a hiking paper map instead of using your phone constantly during a hike or doing some vacation exploration with your family or friends or kids or whatsoever. Think about what our routines in your daily life, on your weekends, in your vacation that you can trade off from digital and devices to not digital and device free routines. Okay. So the first tip was digital and device three times. The second one is digital and device three routines. The next one is a little bit different. It's about digital decluttering and I know I talk about it a lot because I really feel the positives from it. It's about decluttering your old emails, just getting rid of all kinds of old emails and trash cans, digital trash cans that you don't need anymore. Decluttering your photos on your laptop, especially on your smartphone from all kinds of messaging applications that we have. Getting rid of the documents in your document folder on your laptop, the trash folders, the apps on your smartphone. That's a huge one, really Checking in with what kind of apps do you actually still need on your smartphone and which can you get rid of? Again, also the notifications muting notifications, the activate notifications especially on your smartphone, but also on your laptop to have a cleaner mind and calm mind. It helps so much. I really highly recommend it and you can do that via the settings of your device, of your smartphone or your laptop and just mute full on notifications from single apps that you feel like, okay, I could live without a couple of notifications from this app. Um, and just yeah, deactivating them, decluttering everything digital and getting rid of all of that digital trash. It's so relieving and I highly recommend it doing it right before vacation, for example, just getting rid of all the emails that you don't need anymore, all of the documents that have just piled up because you downloaded it once and don't need it anymore. And especially all of those photos from messaging groups that you never even wanted to get but you now do have on your phone like thousands of images and videos from random people. Delete them. Take one hour of your time on a Friday afternoon and delete all of that because then your phone, your laptop and you yourself feel a lot lighter. Okay. And then there is two more that are again a little bit different to the ones we discussed before. The fourth tip is getting into hobbies that are afar from digital spaces, being creative without having digital aspects like sketching not on your iPad but on a sheet of paper. Again doing sports without your phone, playing an instrument piano that's like one thing for myself or drums or gong or Tibetan singing bowls that might be very specific playing your guitar, playing all kinds of instruments that you love to play, just anything that is not digital. Reconnecting yourself with music or with hobbies that are not digital, it helps. It actually does help. It's also about doing things outside without taking your phone with you. It's about being free of this connection, this constant connection. And I'm not saying that to disconnect from other people and if you feel very disconnected from other people and really rely on having messages and disconnection to the outer world with you, then I say, yeah, go for that. You're absolutely free to do whatever you feel like. But if you feel like this connection is constant, connection is too much and you cannot really connect with yourself anymore, then yes. Disconnect. Disconnect from digital and devices. And the fifth part of this digital detox is spend time in nature. Go outside. Take a walk, go swimming, do sports outside, really feel connect, breathe, touch everything that there is in nature actually being aware of the nature around you, seeing all of the different shapes of colors, all of the different sounds that you can hear. Just listening, feeling, breathing. There is plenty of studies that show spending time in nature and it might even just be ten minutes. Spending time in nature helps tremendously for our well-being. It's even just having plants in our homes that help. So my biggest goal of a digital detox is always getting rid of the temptation, getting rid of the temptation to use my device to use digital applications and messages and communication and all kinds of things and reconnect with myself on a really deeper level, even to the point where I might find it boring and I might feel like, What should I do? I want to take my phone in between meetings, but I said I won't do it and now I don't know what I should do. That's the point of doing it. To get relaxed again with yourself with free time. We constantly entertain ourselves. But there is so much that lies behind this wall of digital interferences. There are so much creativity, there is so much of new thoughts of a new mindset of calmness, relaxation and health. And I'm not saying that digital things or devices are bad. I'm not saying this at all. They do help us tremendously in our daily lives on vacation and whatever we do, they can help us to connect with ourselves and with others as well. And at the same time we can take time to disconnect from all of that and be gentle with yourself. If it doesn't work for a minute one or you fall into old patterns once in a while, that is normal. We are human beings. Try again and again and again. Don't punish yourself If something like this happens. We are only human beings and all of those devices and applications are built to make us addicted. That's how they are designed. We are no machines and we can only find our own ways to conquer the digital spheres to make it useful for us and not being useful for them. So make it the other way around. So again, it's about digital and device three times digital and device three routines digital decluttering your creative hobbies that are free from digital spaces and spending time in nature. That is what I'll be doing during the summer break and I wish you a wonderful summertime. I'll be back with the podcast probably end of August September ish. Let me know what topics you'd love to hear about in the second season and I'm definitely very much excited to head into the next season of this podcast with you. Let me know what topics you love to hear about in the second season because yes, of course I'm going into the second season of this podcast. You can send me a message via email on LinkedIn, on Instagram, wherever you feel most comfortable with and if you like the podcast and are a fan of it, it would mean the world to me. If you rate it or even give it a review, it absolutely makes my day and lets other designers know that this podcast exists. If you have a spare minute, I'd absolutely appreciate your effort. I really, really, really do. And I'd also love to connect with you on Instagram at Green, the Web, on LinkedIn, at Green, the Web or you check out all of those free resources on my website. Green The Web.com. There is so much to discover plus my Green UX design course. The self-study course is constantly available. You can always check it out. There is no deadline, no application or anything. Plus the live cohort of the Green UX UI design course is open for application, so there is two different times spots that you can apply for. It's not an application in whether you suit the course, but it's an application of which time slot will eventually be open for enrollment. So if there is enough people interested in a specific time slot, there's two different time slots. So it works globally then Yeah, just apply for that and then I will open up this specific time slot for official enrollment. It might be that even I will open up both of those time slots, so check it out on my website if you're interested in it. The next live cohort starts in September. It's going to be ten weeks with eight live calls and a lot of fun. I really enjoy the current live cohort. It's so much fun to talk with other designers and see their progress, see their questions, see how we all bring something to the table and discuss greener UX UI design and how different those journeys are, how different the digital products are that people are designing in this course or thinking about in this course. I really love that. So yeah, check it out If you feel like this could be beneficial for your own journey. And then again, I wish you a wonderful summer. Usually I say see you in the next episode, but this time it's enjoy the summer and we will get into the next podcast episode in season two at the end of August September ish. As I said, I'm really looking forward to it. You can always subscribe to my newsletter as well, so you will definitely see once I'm back as well as subscribe to the podcast. So you definitely won't miss season two.

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