Was one of your resolutions to reduce screen time in 2020? Good luck. Through no fault of our own, our screen time just got ramped up and we’ll likely see even new levels of screen time in the next year. This is what we need to do to connect with people, run our nonprofits and even keep our volunteer commitments humming right now.
Which makes it even more important to spend time UNPLUGGED. Our plugged in time is so much more concentrated now. Make sure your unplugged time is equally (or more) concentrated. Here are some reasons why it’s so important and some tips for cutting the cord.
Unplugging stretches different muscles. Literal and figurative. If you look down at a tablet or phone often, taking a break will bring your head up and help you correct your posture. Also, give your mouse hand, pointing finger and texting thumbs a break. Repetitive stress injuries and carpal tunnel are real things and they sneak up on you.
Looking up and being free of a device lets you look at that piece of artwork in your home office, daydream out the window. (It’s ok. Daydreaming is NOT canceled.) When you step outside, pick up a cool leaf or shiny rock on your walk.
You are also giving your brain “muscle” a break. When we use a computer, we’re multitasking without even knowing it (email notifications, multiple open web tabs, double screens). Unplug and allow yourself to monotask and concentrate on one thing. Heck, you can even non-task if you feel like it!
- Set boundaries. These don’t have to be extreme, they simply just have to be set. It could be no screen time at lunch. It could be not looking at your device first thing when you get up and waiting until you get to the office. It could be shutting down screens one hour before bed. Check news just once a day. Try a couple of boundary options to see what works best for you.
Pro tip: I like to package up all my cords when I am done using a tablet or phone.
If I have neatly wound and plugged in my devices,
it’s more tucked away/out of sight and I’m less likely to grab it when I have a spare five minutes.
- Do one intentional thing per day that is analog. Jot a postcard to a friend. Write down your grocery list on paper (not an app). Spend 10 minutes picking up spring trash in your neighborhood. Rearrange a bookshelf. Page through a cookbook for dinner inspiration. This will get your body moving and give you a screen break that you might not have thought you needed.
- Ask for accountability. When you go on a social distanced walk with a friend, ask them to leave their phone in a bag or at home. Ask your family to adhere to a no phones at meals rule. Make sure your partner knows when you want to power down for the night and be ok if they call you on it.
- Practicing unplugging will help you be more engaged with your employees, donors and people in your life.