How often do you spend mindlessly scrolling through your phone, looking at images of other people enjoying their seemingly perfect lives? And exactly how many unread text messages, voicemails and emails do you have cluttering up your inbox?
Here’s some tips on how to get started with your digital detox.
First thing’s first. It’s time to clean! Declutter and tidy up your phone, laptop and tablet like you would your home or your desk at work. Organise, prioritise and be ruthless.
Scroll through your apps or programs and delete or uninstall any that you haven’t used in the past 2 months. If you haven’t used them in this long, chances are you won’t ever use them! Then reorganise your apps in a way that makes sense to you – the most used ones on your home screen, more security conscious ones in sub-folders, and less used ones at the end.
2. Texts and voicemails
Not many people use texts anymore, so you can most likely clean out your SMS inbox without a worry. With voicemails, you can change your settings to delete any old voicemails within 7 days. If it was important, you’ve probably missed it by now!
Oh the dread of opening up an inbox and seeing thousands of unread emails (*insert scream emoji*). Unsubscribe yourself from unwanted newsletters, mark emails as spam to move them out of your inbox and delete anything that isn’t important. Try to ‘zero out’ your inbox at least every other day to keep on top of things.
4. Files and photos
We all love taking photos – photos of our food, our pets, anything we find slightly amusing really… but all these photos need space to be stored. Lots of space. It may be time to start scrolling through and deleting photos that you don’t need, that aren’t clear, are duplicates or very similar to others. If you do run out of space on your phone, there are some very affordable cloud storage solutions available for your mobile devices (Google Photos or Dropbox for example) and external, portable harddrives are much more affordable than they used to be (worth investing in for backups!)
The same goes for your files too. How many files are suspended in your ‘Downloads’ folder – when’s the last time you checked?! Start tapping on that delete button, you’ll be surprised how much space you can free up.
Contacts can be transferred from phone to phone, time and time again. If you take the time to scroll through your contact list, we guarantee that you won’t remember half of them. Delete, delete and delete! And when you’ve done deleting, make sure that your contacts are named correctly (‘car sales guy’ isn’t very helpful if you don’t know their name!) and include personal information such as email addresses and home addresses under their contact card – it makes searching for information much easier in the long run!
Much like cleaning your home, your devices will need reorganising once they’ve been cleansed of their clutter.
Begin by organising your most important apps and programmes (those that you use every day) onto your home screen or short-cutted to your desktop. Then put your more high-security ones (banking, finance etc) into subfolders in a more secure location.
Organise your files into folders that make sense and are easy to navigate, and make sure you back everything up onto a harddrive or cloud service if possible.
Security is an ever increasing worry in today’s digital society, so always make sure your phone has a lock pin or fingerprint to secure your device as best as possible.
Oh the dreaded words, social media. Detoxing your social media may be a bit of an arduous task, but it will be worth it. Scroll through your recent home feeds and look very closely at the content. Is it relevant to you? Do you enjoy seeing it? Do you know the person posting it? Do you even like them? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it’s time to delete, unlike and unfollow. Rid yourself of anything or anyone that makes you unhappy.
After you’ve done that, you need to set yourself a time limit on how long you spend looking at social media each day (if social media is part of your job, then you may just need to cut down on personal use!) There are several apps and phone settings now available to help you stick to your limits. Tools such as Google / Android’s ‘Digital Wellbeing’ can be found under your device settings and can show you exactly how much time you spend on each app, set time limits, and create a wind-down schedule for a more restful night’s sleep.
If social media in general doesn’t make you happy, then maybe you should think about removing it entirely. You really won’t miss out! There are so many ways to keep in touch with your beloved friends (the real ones) and family that social media isn’t really necessary. If it doesn’t bring you joy, then let it go!