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The importance of digital detoxing for busy professionals



A digital detox may seem impossible in today's technology driven world; however, there’s huge value in taking a step back and embracing time offline, and in recent years the notion of digital detoxing has become increasingly prevalent.

A digital detox may seem impossible in today’s technology-driven world; However, there is immense value in taking a step back and embracing time offline, and in recent years the idea of ​​digital detoxing has become increasingly common.

There is a belief that once you work in a particular sector you are never a consumer of it again, and for me technology has been core to my career for years, and sometimes it can be difficult to separate work and play online.

The constant ping of emails, Slack messages, LinkedIn notifications, phone calls, and texts, all related to work, can all seem demanding at times. That is why I personally made the choice to start a digital detox. Switching from my work-related smartphone on weekends and holidays to a Nokia 800 Tough, which has simple functionality and allows me to really disconnect.

Working professionals who have no choice but to engage with the digital world on a daily basis may feel like they can’t stop working, especially when work-related apps take center stage on their smartphones.

Recent research has revealed that workplace stress may be at an all-time high, as Google searches for burnout have reached a five-year high. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take a step back from constant connection.

For many, leaving the digital world can seem lonely because we are incredibly immersed in it. We have access to everyone we know and everything we need to know at any time. From online meetings on the go to using our phones for event tickets or trip planning, it’s endless connectivity. Yet there is so much to learn by going a step beyond immediate availability.

Whether it’s having a calmer mind, becoming more in touch with reality or becoming more self-aware, the list is endless and not exclusive. For me, the biggest benefit from digital detoxing was the ability to be in the moment. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work and live in Umbria for a month in early 2022, where I was surrounded by incredible landscapes and beautiful weather, yet I was hooked on staying connected. I post on social media all the time and can’t separate the digital world from the real world in front of me.

I decided to delete my Instagram account completely and the experiences I encountered afterward were for myself and not for the sake of others’ opinions.

Whether it’s a choice people make, there is a real need for working professionals to become less attached to their devices and take a break from the digital world that never sleeps. The need for constant stimulation is an exhausting cycle that can cause our attention spans to shorten and the need for involvement to become more intense. There will be moments of vulnerability from a lack of constant connection, but the personal gain of taking a step back is likely more valuable.

It is important to note that digital detox can be done in small steps and can be helpful regardless of how it is accomplished. It doesn’t mean you have to completely delete your Instagram account or throw away your phone. I opted for a ‘dumbphone’, one that can perform basic communication tasks; texting, calling, WhatsApp and a camera. Due to work, I haven’t switched to my dumbphone full-time, but on weekends it’s a welcome replacement.

Smartphones are often involved in everything we do, and this dependency will only increase, both at work and beyond. It is important to accept that the world around us is not going to make digital detox easy; too much relies on technology to encourage ‘deterioration’. However, this does not mean that it cannot be done and that the effort is not worth it. Make small adjustments that fit your lifestyle, whether it’s reducing your time on social media, taking a camera with you instead of pulling your phone out of your pocket, or even switching to a dumbphone on the weekend, you’ll start to feel like you advantages.

To learn more about my switch to a dumbphone and its benefits, along with some limitations, you can read more here:

Ed Johnson

Ed Johnson is the CEO and co-founder of PushFar, an online mentoring and career development platform. Ed was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 on the Social Impact list.