Making the most of the holidays with a digital detox

Information Technology

Making the most of the holidays with a digital detox

It’s no secret, today’s smartphones and tablets make us more productive.  Or at least they seem like they do.  They’re always connected so we can get instant notifications of emails and social network messages.  They let us run our businesses while on the go.
But all of that productivity and convenience comes at a cost.

Latest studies show that while we tend to be able to do more from our devices, they also add to our stress levels.  When it comes to the holiday season, stress is something we’d ideally minimize.  

While for many of us it is true that keeping our devices with us as a necessity, it is also an addiction.  That addiction means we check our devices for messages quite often; almost too often at times, negatively impacting our ability to socialize in the real world.  This is something we’d want to avoid during the holidays as well since this is a time when we get to spend quality time with our family and friends.

Obviously, going off-the-grid isn’t an option for for most of those in business - particularly their own. So what can you do to get that much-needed digital detox this holiday season?

Decide you want to put down your devices to enjoy your holiday
This is the most important step.  You have to decide that you want to do this and that you want to follow through.  If deep inside you don’t want to do this, or if you are undecided when it comes to taking a detox, it’s unlikely you will succeed.  Like in any addiction, willpower is very important.

Tell your employees and partners you plan to spend quality time with your family during the holidays
Telling people around you that you intend to treat the holiday season as a holiday goes a long way.  That’ll keep them from contacting you unless it is really urgent giving you more time for yourself and your family.

Don’t bring your devices during meals
This should happen anyway, but particularly during the holidays, phones at the table are a big no no. Having a quiet dinner with family and friends is a great way to socialize and relax with people you love.  Enjoy your meal and leave your phone out.

Don’t treat every email as an urgent matter
Email messages can usually wait.  If it were truly urgent, they’d most likely call you.  Resist the urge to check your inbox every 10 minutes.

Turn of push notifications for your social networks
It’s ironic that social networks are actually keeping us from truly being social where it counts.  Turn off your push notifications for these apps and limit your use to specific times of the day.  Preferably schedule your social networking time not during your social gatherings during the holidays.

Focus on what’s in front of you
Keep your attention to the people and tasks in front of you, not the stuff waiting to be done at the office or the message sent to you from work.  By focusing on your immediate surroundings, you’ll eventually learn to keep that mobile device in your pocket.
Make a conscious effort to keep your phone and tablet at bay. Sometimes, pulling out your phone to check for messages is more of a habit rather than a necessity.  Make a conscious effort to keep your devices in your pocket.  

Wear a watch
A lot of us instinctively turn to our phones to check the time.  When you do that, there will likely be an irresistible urge to check for messages as well.  Wear a watch so that you can check the time there.

Leave unnecessary devices behind
While having your phone with you is essential (particularly in the case of emergencies), bringing your tablet or laptop with you is likely not.  Leave behind devices you truly do not need.  It’ll have the bonus of leaving you with less baggage to lug around as you go through your day.

A digital detox will not only be good for you and your family, it’ll eventually be good for your business as well.  Having the opportunity to relax this holiday will rest your mind so that when you return to the usual hustle and bustle of your  regular business days, you’ll be sharper than ever.

Allan Bennetto

Founder at

Full time Founder, part time Bootstrappr. Love the surf, snow, startups, technology, music, arts, design, mobile and food. And lots of it.

Comments (1)
Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Great article Allan! I love your tips especially the one about the watch, also I need to address the fact that without my phone I actually do feel naked - it's a psychological addiction :) I will aim to remove phones during my Christmas dinner :D!