The idea of doing a digital detox – i.e. stepping away from technology to focus on real-life hobbies and in-person interactions – can seem challenging at the best of times, and especially so now, when we have even fewer opportunities for face-to-face quality time. But taking a digital detox could be even more important right now: since we’re being forced to spend so much time online, to do our work and stay in touch with our loved ones, the time we spend offline has become even more precious.
If you’re a business owner, you might be finding it particularly difficult to cut down on your screen time, as this may be the only way for you to communicate with your employees, network with others in your field, and promote your business to customers. After all, you can’t just put your phone in a box and stop checking your emails when you have a business to run! The good news is that a digital detox is still possible for you – here are some things you can do to give yourself a break from the screens, and to use them more mindfully when you need to.
1. Manage your notifications
You may have to be online during the day, but that doesn’t mean you need to respond to everything that happens right away. Part of the reason it’s so difficult to do a digital detox is that there’s always something new to look at – an email, a social media notification, a news bulletin – and you can find yourself reaching for your phone every time it pings.
The solution to this is to manage your notifications, so that when you do look at your phone or check your emails, it’s only for the most important things. Here are a few techniques you can try:
- Turn off notifications for all but the most important apps. Emails and direct messages are probably important; up-to-the-minute news updates and notifications about live videos on Instagram are probably less so.
- Silence your notifications outside working hours. Most email programs will allow you to set ‘quiet times’, so you won’t receive notifications once you’ve logged off for the evening.
- Only check your emails or messages at certain times of day. You can keep your notifications silenced all the time and only read and respond to messages within half-hour windows in the morning and the afternoon.
2. Have fewer meetings
A big part of being a business owner is having meetings and talking to people. Perhaps pre-pandemic you had daily check-ins with your staff, or you went to networking events a couple of times a week – both of these activities can be moved online, but that doesn’t mean they should be done with the same frequency as you did them before. Video conferencing can be exhausting, especially when there’s background noise, technical issues and time delays, so it’s OK to adapt your strategy to match this new medium. Focus on quality, rather than quantity – one productive meeting in a week is better than daily chats where nothing gets done.
3. Outsource your work
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of time you’re spending online, it’s OK to take some of that digital work off your plate and outsource it to someone else. Virtual assistants, like those at Get Ahead VA, can take on all sorts of jobs, including running your social media channels, managing your inbox, writing blog posts and email marketing campaigns, and managing your business website. Whether you need a week-long digital detox or just an afternoon off, VAs are flexible professionals you can hire as and when you need them.
4. Find offline hobbies
If you can’t escape the digital world during the day, at least make sure that when you log off for the evening, you really do log off. That means avoiding spending your evenings scrolling through Twitter or reading the news – instead, find some properly offline hobbies that will get you away from your devices, if only for an hour or two. This could be cooking, reading, drawing, crafting, going for a walk or a bike ride, writing by hand or dancing around your living room – it doesn’t matter what you choose, just make sure that you have one fun thing you can do without a screen.
To find out more about how Get Ahead VA’s team of virtual assistants can keep your business running smoothly during this tricky time, please give us a call on 01483 332220 or email us at [email protected]. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.