Technoholic’s Anonymous

At a previous job I had, the lunch breaks were scheduled in groups.  When my lunch break came up, I would go into the lunch room, sit at a table with some coworkers and attempt to engage in conversation.  My efforts were futile because my coworkers were glued to their phones.  If the building was on fire, they probably wouldn’t have noticed.  I’ll meet up with some friends and they will all have their phones out, glued to Facebook, hoping to be the first to like that new viral video.

Maybe, we need to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the real world.  Jump in, the water’s fine.

Turn Off

Every smart phone has this button, but it’s so rarely used.  It’s the power button.  Use it to turn off your phone for a few hours every day for some much needed downtime.  Resist the urge to break out the tablet, laptop or jump on the trusty old desktop for some web surfing.  Instead, pour your drink of choice and grab a book.  Note I said book and not eBook.  This is time for you to not be connected to the internet in some way.

If books aren’t your thing, dedicate this time to your favorite hobby.  Don’t have a favorite hobby?  Take advantage of this time to find one.  Is browsing the web your favorite hobby?  Find a new hobby.  There are plenty of hobbies out there that can prove to be fun.  If you can’t think of any, I’ve compiled a list for you to choose from.

  • Archery
  • Astronomy
  • BASE jumping
  • Biking
  • Billiards
  • Cabaret
  • Coffee roasting
  • Coin collecting
  • Cooking
  • Crocheting
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Drawing
  • Embroidery
  • Fashion
  • Gardening
  • Ghost hunting
  • Homebrewing
  • Improv comedy
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Kayaking
  • Knitting
  • Leatherwork
  • Learn an instrument
  • Martial arts
  • Nordic skating
  • Origami
  • Painting
  • Quilting
  • Reading
  • Running
  • Sculpting
  • Shooting
  • Stamp collecting
  • Table tennis
  • Walking
  • Yoga

Tune Out

You’ll want to clean out any mailing lists or RSS feeds you subscribe to.  Unsubscribe from them or create rules to move them to special folders so that your inbox is less cluttered.  Using an email client with a focused inbox feature such as Outlook for Android and iOS or Inbox by Gmail, will help accomplish this for you.

Avoid keeping every email you ever sent or received.  For most people, emails more than six months old are very rarely referenced and should be deleted.  Create an email retention policy for yourself and stick to it.  If deleting emails is not your thing, archive old emails.  Outlook for Windows and OS X can be set up to take care of this for you automatically.

Drop Out

Start by getting rid of unused social media accounts.  You may have signed up for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, Friendster, Instagram, Pinterest, Kajagoogoo, LinkedIn, Periscope, Twitch, Vine, and YouTube accounts.  Do you really need them now?  If not, get rid of those accounts.

Next, you want to clean up your friends list.  A good rule of thumb is not to be connected to someone on social media that you’re not connected to outside of that social media platform.  For me, this means, if I don’t talk to you on a reasonably regular basis, i’m not going to be connected to you on social media.

Check your privacy settings and be sure to turn them up to 11.  There are two big reasons you would want to do this.

  1. Protecting your personal information.
  2. Protecting your career.

Your Facebook profile could potentially have enough information on it for someone to steal your identity.  With a little bit of social engineering, a hacker can make off with your bank accounts, credit cards and yes, your Facebook account.  Locking down your profile serves to prevent such attacks.

Furthermore, any potential employers will look you up on Facebook to see if you really are that diligent hard worker your résumé makes you out to be.  If they see pictures of you hard at work on a bong or diligently planning your next move at the beer pong table, they will likely move on.

What tips do you have to help decompress from a digital life?  Share them in the comments.