“Being connected to everything has disconnected us from ourselves and the preciousness of this present moment.” ~ L.M. Browning

How attached are you to your device? Be honest. We call it a smartphone but it’s making us stupid and anti-social, and we should pay attention to that. If you always have your phone nearby and can’t imagine not checking in throughout the day, if you scroll endlessly or check in with social during downtime, if you’re more about Facetime than face-to-face time, or get antsy if you don’t know where your phone is, you likely need a bit of a device detox.

We’re addicted! No surprise, since our smart phones hook us using the same neural pathways in our brain as gambling and drugs. If you need a change, start by turning off push notifications and using the ‘do not disturb’ function on your phone so alerts don’t distract you 24/7.

And for four more ideas, watch the video below or read the transcript that follows, and embrace a little digital downtime.

Did you know that over 2 billion people on this planet now have some sort of smartphone? Three quarters of Canadians have one of these super computers attached to their fingertips at all times. Hey, Michelle Cederberg here, talking about our devices, the addiction and attraction that we have towards them, and why taking a little bit of a detox might not be a bad thing.

The truth is, we are never going to be able to break up entirely with these little devices. They are here to stay, so we just need to recognize the impact they have on us and learn how to manage it. It’s alarming, but these devices are designed to hook the same neural pathways in our brains as gambling and drugs. Yes, you get a dopamine hit every time you go into those apps, and the games, and the social media channels that draw you with click bait and likes and comments that all shout, “Look at me, look at me. Keep me open, keep me active.” And all of that inattention to life, and attention to the digital space, is making us less social. It’s wrecking our attention span. It’s impacting our memory. It’s impacting our sleep, and it’s definitely not good for our health. So I’m going to share a number of ways that you can manage how you interact with your device.

1) First off, turn off every single push notification that your phone delivers to you. All the ones that your social channels send, all the ones in your emails, and any programs or apps that constantly taunt you with, “Open me up, look at me.” The truth is that you are going to go and check those things anyway so you might as well turn off the notifications and enter into those apps and channels on your time.

2) Also, there’s a lovely thing called a do not disturb function that you can program on your phone. You can program it to stop sending you any sort of information after a certain time of day, or for a certain length of time if you have a meeting or you need to focus. And I would challenge you to use that function more regularly so that you’re not hearing those push notifications if you’ve had trouble turning them off.

3) When you meet with your friends or when you’re in an important meeting, leave your device somewhere where you can’t see it. If you’re going into a coffee shop, I would suggest you stick it in the glove box of your car, you’ll be okay without it for an hour. If you’ve got this device face down on your desk or on the table where you’re meeting, it’s going to lure you. You’re going to look at it, you’re going to be distracted, and you’re not going to be fully focused on the person in front of you.

4) Make sure you plan device-free meal times with your family, especially if you’ve got kids, especially if you’ve got teenagers! But hey, if it’s just you and your spouse and your dog, how about a little bit of face-to-face interaction instead of talking to each other through your devices. And, if you’re dining solo, read a book, people watch or simply be present to your meal.

5) When we’re bored we let these devices to keep us company. So how about you do activities that are more interesting than scrolling through social? Pick up a book with pages that you actually have to turn, there are no portals in a book that are going to suck you away into apps or games or other distractions. Cook a meal, do some art or music that you enjoy, exercise or move in a way that limits your capacity to hold on to your device.

6) And on the weekends, when it’s time for relaxation and fun with friends and family, make part of your time device-free. Check out on Saturday afternoon to check in with family. Go offline all day Sunday and reconnect with nature, your friends, and fun activities.

These devices are not going away so we do need to learn how to manage them better. What’s one or two small things that you can do to regain more control with being present and detoxing from your device?

Share the ideas that you have for device detox in the comments below. Share this blog with somebody who might need a little detox of their own, and don’t forget to subscribe to this and my other social channels below to stay connected for other ideas to help you create a life and career that you love.

We get one chance to do this life, I say dare to live it big. Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you that you have control over the digital distractions in your life.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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