When was the last time you were completely unplugged and had no access to any of your electronic devices or the Internet? If someone told you, you could take a trip to the Moroccan desert for four days, but the catch is you would have no wireless connection, would you go? Does that excite you or make you feel nervous?
I can speak to this point from personal experience. In college, I participated in a program called Semester at Sea. We did not have any Internet access or cell phone service. For the first week, people seemed easily agitated and antsy. They looked down to check their phones every couple of minutes, even though they knew that nothing would come through because they had no service. We lived without service for 3.5 months. It was the best 3.5 months of my life. We learned the true meaning of forming friendships (and not just by connecting on Facebook). We learned the value of keeping your word, because there was no scapegoat, such as a text message didn’t go through. We learned that there was a much bigger world outside of our bright little screens. It truly was a digital detox.
Kate Unsworth, CEO of Covert Designs, performed a similar experiment. She took her team on a trip to the Moroccan dessert and studied each person’s persona, including facial expressions, physical movements, etc. One day was spent connected in an upscale hotel. The next days were spent in the middle of the dessert with zero connectivity. After three days without technology, she observed the following:
- Better Posture and Deeper Friendships: People were able to relax more in conversation and really get to know one another.
- Google is a Conversation Killer: With technology at our fingertips, we can Google the answer to any question. That eliminates the need to talk through things, question, and problem solve.
- Improved Memory: Without technology people are forced to rely on their own memories. People begin to remember those small details about people, where as before they may have had trouble remembering a person’s name.
- More Efficient Sleep: People began to notice that they were better rested. That little blue light on your screen decreases your natural melatonin production, therefore inhibiting a deep, consistent sleep.
- New Perspectives: Without technology to fill voids in your mind, your mind has the opportunity to wander to some amazing places that can transform the way you go about doing things in life.
Although a full digital detox is not realistic for most people in this current day and age, I challenge you to plan out specific periods where you are completely offline. This will allow you to truly relax and come back even more energized and efficient than you were before.
H/T Fast Company