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Are You Ready for a Digital Detox?

August 19 2015

hfinder DigitalDetoxBeing a real estate agent means you're on-call at all hours of the day and night, and that sometimes you forfeit your weekends to showing houses and your family dinners to listing appointments. You're constantly emailing clients and coworkers, updating your social media profiles, and checking out the latest professional advice online. You are one busy agent!

It's great to be so tech savvy, but the demands of those electronic devices can overwhelm your life. We now live in a world where technology addiction is a real and growing problem. In fact, 58% of smartphone users don't even go an hour without checking their phones.

Sometimes it's necessary to take time away from the Internet and emails to get in touch with your offline self. Taking a break from the mobile world can improve your health and your quality of life.

If you've been feeling burnt out and exhausted, if you feel your eyes straining from reading on your phone, or if you feel like you've been splitting too much time between mobile devices and your loved ones, it might be time for you to take a digital detox.

Why it's important

Our perpetual use of technology can cause all kinds of negative effects, both mental and physical. Staring regularly at a brightly lit screen, especially during hours of darkness, can lead to serious eye issuesserious eye issues, and "text necktext neck" is a real injury you can get from craning your neck to look at texts all day. Scientific studies have concluded that spending too much time watching TV, looking at your phone, or surfing on your computer can drastically disrupt your sleep cycledisrupt your sleep cycle.

In addition to the physical issues, a dependence on technology can put strain on your interactions with friends and family. Your loved ones feel ignored and hurt when you can't make it through a family dinner or one-on-one conversation without checking your phone. And despite an abundance of safety campaigns, many adults can and do text while driving (which is a guaranteed way to frighten family and clients alike).

Doing a digital detox allows your brain to reset, gives your eyes a rest, and allows you more time to take care of your health, as well as your relationships.

How to prepare

The first step to digital detoxing is to let everyone know you're going to detox. No, seriously. Letting everyone know you'll be unavailable is an important part of the process.

Ideally, a digital detox should last a minimum of 24 hours. Choose a day (or days, if you want to remain unplugged a little longer) when demand for your professional attention will be low. Once you've chosen the right time, set up an Out of Office message, and text, call, or email clients and customers to let them know you'll be unavailable at that time. You can even tweet or write a Facebook status to inform followers that you'll be detoxing.

The hashtag #digitaldetox has grown quite popular lately, as many other folks have realized how necessary a little time away from screens can be. Also make sure to turn off any push notifications that might compel you to check your devices.

Fight the withdrawal

This is the hardest part of a digital detox. You will go through a bit of a withdrawal period, but the feelings will subside as long as you keep yourself busy with non-digital activities. You might even experience phantom phone syndromephantom phone syndrome, which is that feeling of vibrating in your pocket, even when your phone is nowhere near you. You might be compelled to Google a fact or look up some information online when it's totally unnecessary to do so.

Just remember: you are detoxing to get a new perspective on life. It's good to take a break from the online world. Enjoy your time off by walking, reading a book, and spending time with family and friends.

Enjoy the Benefits

The benefits to unplugging can be profound. Most people don't realize just how attached they've become to their devices until they put them away for a few hours or days. Taking time away from your online life can allow you to appreciate and enjoy the real life that you're living. After your digital detox, you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You can get back to work with more energy and more drive. Just make sure to schedule another digital detox soon!

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