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25 Tips for Going on Your Digital Detox

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Following up with the article, “Digital Detox: My Personal Logbook of 10 Days without Smartphone and Web,” I’ve made a checklist that is designed to help you to prepare for your digital detox break; otherwise known as “ditox”.

It does not matter if you are an employee, manager, entrepreneur or a freelancer. These ditox steps are broadly applicable to anyone who sometimes  feels overwhelmed by digital technology. When I use the word boss in the 25 tips, you can also think of “customer” or “project manager”.

Of course these 25 Tips are based on my own experiences with ditox over the past years. You can download this Mindmap and customize this list of tips to your needs, so they will become more personal to you in preparing for your ditox.

I hope that these 25 tips will be useful to you. Please comment and share your own ditox tips!

Enjoy your business life!

Preparation:

 

  • Most importantly: Don´t overestimate your own importance: Yes, the world will survive during your offline / ditox time!

 

  1. Agree with your boss and customers early on regarding the time-frame for a (suggested) 2 week ditox vacation;
  2. Agree on project breaks if you are a key project personnel during your ditox;
  3. Tell your family/friends about your ditox and make sure they understand the importance this ditox is for you. They will also support you to be strong during the ditox and not to break it;
  4. Agree with yourself on a ditox time-frame – set a calendar entry for the ditox and add 2 days in advance and 2 days after your ditox. Why? Because: before your ditox you need to take the time to arrange essential tasks that you do not want to be forgotten.  Also, after your ditox it is beneficial to have 2 days of „stealth online“ to slowly get you back working online again, catching up with your emails and arranging your calendar, but the rest of the world still thinks you are in ditox and will still leave you alone;
  5. Have a colleague be a  substitute to perform tasks or manage your project duties, not as a substitute for all of your work;
  6. Select the substitute by his/her ability to handle problems calmly, without trying to reach you immediately for feedback, rather than by his/her competence in the respective task field;
  7. Generally, your boss is a bad choice for being a substitution, because he/she is the most likely to call you during your ditox or screw up your projects completely!
  8. Conduct a hand over of your tasks with your substitute well in advance (and even work some days parallel) with your substitute on your own work before the ditox. This way your substitute will learn the nitty gritty details of your projects;

During the Ditox:

  1. Decide how you will handle your digital gadgets during your ditox;
  • Work smartphones shall be turned off, except for the „call windows“ you have setup during the ditox, (see below);
  • Private smartphones can be set on „no data connection“ so you just have GSM and text (SMS)
  • Or use an old mobile (non-smartphone) without Internet;
  1. Don´t escape to the hotel desktops to get your daily dose of Internet – this is considered cheating!
  2. Think about using a camera instead of your smartphone for taking pictures to reduce your exposure to your online gadgets;
  3. Read a book (or a paper), your smartphone-addictive hands will think it is a device
  4. Is Netflix  a form of Internet usage to you?
  5. Agree on specific times where you are available for your colleagues: “Call Windows”
  • This is a specific time per day or week (e.g. from 9:00am – 9:30am or on Wednesday(s) before dinner at 6:00pm) when your boss can call you to ask for help if your input is crucially needed;
  • Psychologically, this helps you to be sure to be undisturbed in the all other times. But you will be ready and mentally prepared for disturbances during the “call window”. This increases the unconscious feeling of freedom and relief that you need for your relaxation. A ditox guru compared it once with wearing an iron knight suite. When you feel a call for help can come any time, your mind stays alerted and ready to respond. When you know it only can come only during the “call window” you allow your unconscious mind to take the iron knight suit off;
  • Your boss shall be the only one allowed to call you in the „call windows”. This protects you from various colleagues and substitutes calling you frequently and without a really important reason. They have to go to the boss and tell him/her: “I need help!”
  • And BTW: a „call window” means phone calls, it does not mean that during the window you are allowed to check your emails or instagram! 😉

How to manage all your „Out of Offices“ (OoO)

  1. For eMail OoO: don´t write things like: „Text me if it is urgent“, because with that phrase will leave your counterpart deciding: “is this urgent?” and your counterpart will most likely contact you;
  2. Do not put the email addresses of you(r) substitutes in your OoO response, this could generate a lot of emails from spambots for your colleagues;
  3. Don´t forget to activate your „Out of Office“ response 2 days in advance of the real start of the ditox;
  4. Update your Whatsapp status or even download an automatic reply app. Simply search for „auto responder“ in Google Play or iOS App Store;
  5. Put a clear sentence on your voice box, use voice and words that do not invite the caller to leave a message, for example: “I am not available until xyz, I will not be using my phone or computer during my vacation time. Good-bye!”
  6. Make yourself a calendar entry to remove all „Out of Offices“ after your return day;

After your ditox:

  1. Be proud! Like all human mankind before the 1990s you survived two weeks without using the Internet!
  2. Check if you feel more relaxed than if you were having an „online vacation“
  3. Adapt your ditox method for your next vacation and start placing the ditox times already in your calender;
  4. By the way! Christmas is the best time for a ditox!  Not only because it is the time to spend with friends and family, anyway.  But – also because it is the most socially accepted time of not being online!

Martin Giesswein believes that in the digital age we need to adapt to new business lifestyles and redefine our learned way of working. After 25 years of traditional work as CEO, founder and trainer and 5 years as a happiness-seeking solopreneur, Martin is sharing his experiences, methods and tools for digital wellbeing and business mindfulness.

Martin Giesswein is an investor of Trending Topics.

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