In this digital age, people are using smart phones to get updates on the news, listen to music, order food, order packages, schedule meetings, promote events, track their physical health, look for directions, share information and communicate with others. Many people have become so dependent on smart phone and the apps on their phone, that is has created negative effects on their health and well-being. An article in Medical News Today, list several of these negative effects, which includes the following:
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor posture
- Sleep problems
- Reduced physical activity
- Eye strain
- Low creativity(Johnson 2020)
According to the Globe Mobile Consumer Study by Deloitte, the average American checks their phone 52 times a day. Americans spend 2.24min a day on social media, which is 15.68 hours a week. (G. 2021). In fact, 68 percent of users take their devices to bed with them, 20 percent check their phones every 10 minutes, and one third report feeling anxious when briefly separated from their gadget. (Haun 2013)
Many entrepreneurs work around the clock, respond to texts or emails immediately and forget to schedule breaks and skip meals. It is very convenient to schedule back-to-back virtual meetings but more challenging for many entrepreneurs to commit to self-care due to keeping up with the demands of a fast pace digital age. Many new entrepreneurs often work in isolation and take their devices with them everywhere they go. This creates an environment of always being “on” or plugged in and consumed by distractions. When you stay plugged in you are not giving yourself an opportunity to find clarity, reflect, assess, and recharge. New ideas can spark when you are unplugged!
If you want to maximize your potential as an entrepreneur and improve overall well-being, a digital detox is a great way to start. A Digital Detox means to take a break from using some or all technology and media for a set period, either a specific number of hours, days, or months. This includes not using the internet, computer, or wireless phone as well as, taking a break from digital shopping, social media, news, and entertainment. This is very difficult, since many people’s day to day activities require using the internet and a cell phone and or computer. Some people chose to completely disconnect from social media and rely on traditional ways to communicate such as, face to face conversation, a phone call or email.
Taking a break from technology has numerous benefits such as, a positive impact on your mental health and improving business or professional skills. There are numerous benefits of using technology and it is a social and economic privilege to access technology, but we are bombarded with too much information at rapid rates. Unfortunately, not all the information we receive is positive, truthful, or accurate. Mindless scrolling and posting on social media can be a time stealer, which can slow productivity and limit creativity. If you want to maximize your potential, you should be mindful of the content you consume and be more intentional about how you spend our time, especially online. To thrive as an entrepreneur, you need to protect your well-being and avoid negative images and content that too often fills timelines on social media.
Here are 3 reasons every entrepreneur should take a digital detox:
Become an Effective Leader: The success of a company is determined by the performance of its leader. Some of the attributes of effective leaders are reliability, self-awareness, impactful, focused, organized, competent and committed. Effective leaders also know how to produce results and the get the job done. When entrepreneurs are unable to manage their time and constantly distracted, they stifle their ability to lead a company and a team effectively. Smartphones makes it easy to constantly stay update with everything happening in the world with one swipe. Being available all the time is only possible because of the internet and smart phones. People remain plugged in without any hesitation, boundaries, or limits.
To become an effective leader, you need to unplug so that you can manage your time better and focus on aspects of our business that needs your attention. People are more focused and engaged when they are not being interrupted by an app notification, text, or phone call. When you are free from distractions, you can produce results, find clarity, and develop essential attributes that will make you a competent entrepreneur and effective leader. The benefits of unplugging or getting offline will give you the clarity you need to become an effective leader.
Improve Memory: “Neuroscientist Veronique Bohbot and her team reported that relying on a global positioning system (GPS) to get to known locations reduces the function of the hippocampus, the “seahorse” shaped structure in the brain that controls memory and spatial orientation.” (Whltbourne 2011.) This is very concerning considering new cars and smart phones have built in GPS that people rely on to go to places around their community. It is become less common to learn how to read a map and memorize directions. People are allowing their smart devices to think for them. “The problem is not the use of the smartphone itself; the problem comes when the smartphone takes over a function that your brain is perfectly capable of performing.” (Whltbourne 2011.) One way to avoid this, is to turn off the GPS for places you travel to often, use it only when going to places for the first time. Get a physical planner or journal to write down goals and to-do-list. Practice non-digital memorization techniques such as, repetition, and reading your notes or goals out loud, memorize phone numbers of people you speak to often or dial by number rather than by name.
Inspire Creativity: Relying on technology to navigate your day, remaining on schedule can box us into a routine and turn people into human doings rather than human beings. Doing too much at once, following strict schedules and routines can block our creative juices. “Choose an activity that thrills, inspires, or even scares you. When we take ourselves out of our comfort zone, pushing through our fears, we liberate ourselves, gain new perspectives and expand our creative minds.” (Change Growth 2021) Our minds need to be challenged, inspired, and stimulated. Inspiration can come from listening to music, singing, and dancing for fun!
Being in a quiet place away from technology or outdoors sparks creatively. It is important to step outside the digital box so that you can think outside the box. If you want new ideas, start by going for a walk outdoors and connect with nature as often as you can. Even 30 minutes a day will make a difference. Use a notebook rather than a computer to brainstorm ideas about how to expand your business. Explore the benefits of mediation and mindfulness to center your thoughts and spark new ideas. Create a physical vision board or solve a problem related to your business by using a mind mapping technique. When you are not bombarded with the ideas, opinions, or thoughts of people online, you give yourself time to think, innovate and create.
It might be very challenging to commit to a complete digital detox if you use technology to earn an income, but you can create a schedule that is most suitable for your business. Transition slowly by changing a few digital habits for half a day or full day. Pause or cancel streaming services for a month. If you have a smart phone, use a digital balance that tracks and limits how much time you spend using your phone. Remove all app notifications from your phones, delete social media apps and use the desktop version instead. Use a desktop computer to complete work related tasks or online activities rather than a smart phone. Listen to music on a CD player rather than online. Turn off all smart devices 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed and remove all smart devices and technology from your bedroom. This will help you avoid checking your phone for messages or speaking to an automated speech recognition program when you awake. It is much more rewarding to meditate, pray, make breakfast, go for a walk or exercise than connect with a smart device or technology to start your day. Outsource digital activities for your business such as, social media and email marketing so that you can focus on more traditional ways to build your business such as, connecting with your clients or scaling your product. Find an accountability partner to help you stay on track. A digital detox will do more than benefit your business, it will rejuvenate your mind and improve your overall well-being. You be motivated to think, create and innovate.
Stacey Ann Berry is a Government Relations Consultant and Founder of Bstellar Group Inc. Stay connected with Stacey by subscribing to her e-newsletter at www.bstellargroup.com