Like it or not, “interacting with the world around us” often requires a digital interface, which makes doing a digital detox pretty difficult — this is especially true during a pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t disconnect from the digital world. It is possible to continue using your smartphone to solve everyday problems while simultaneously removing the apps and features that turn your phone into a screen-staring device.
Use your phone only when you really need to
“Use your smartphone only for the following activities: calls, text messages, maps, and audio (songs/podcasts/books),” says Cal Newport, professor of computer science and author of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.
In other words: don’t allow your smartphone to connect you to the giant sinkhole of the internet. Get rid of your browser and your social media apps and, if possible, your email. (If you can’t bring yourself to fully disconnect from email, at least disable the notifications so you’re only checking when you want to.)
While a complete digital detox is desirable at times, what we all want most is to have control and stop using our device for a whole lot of distracting things that we don’t really need to do. When you eliminate those distractions from your phones, you will naturally use your phone less and spend more time feeling present.