These past few months, we’ve talked about how necessary it is to take a break in order to prevent yourself from burning out.  If you need a refresher on why taking leisure time is important, read this.

Unplugging from work is hard enough, but what about unplugging completely? That seems nearly impossible. The pressure to be productive can be suffocating and make you feel like you need to respond to those four emails at a red light, answer that text during spin class, or even finish that level of Candy Crush before bed. This pressure, paired with the fact that in this digital age, we find comfort in constant distraction and disconnection, creates a situation where it is extremely difficult to unplug-- which makes finding ways to unplug more needed than ever.

The average smartphone user picks up their phone 150 times a day, and we’ve become addicted to reaching for our devices in times of boredom and discomfort. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself: When was the last time you saw someone waiting in line with their shoulders back, head up, and cellphone nowhere in sight? When was the last time you were this person?
Just like our phones need time to recharge, so do we, but unlike our phones, we can recharge by unplugging.

Although many of us resort to using our smartphones to feel more productive, this addiction to technology actually makes us less productive, which means unplugging will actually help you get more done.

By unplugging from digital devices, we are giving ourselves a chance to reconnect with ourselves and the world around us, we are giving ourselves a chance to plug back into our own realities and be more intentional with how we spend our time. By following these tips, you can learn how to repurpose your time with things that are meaningful to you (Hint: that is not the discover page on Instagram).

  1. Do not go on your phone for the first 15 minutes you’re awake or the last 15 minutes before you put your head down: The number of minutes is arbitrary, (you could certainly aim for a longer separation time) but the point is to not make your phone the first thing you look at when you wake up and the last thing you look at before you fall asleep. Not only has being on your phone before bed been linked to sleep problems, but it also stops you from getting to sleep on time. In the morning, by waiting a few minutes before checking your phone, you can become more mindful and aware.

  2. Power-down for one period of time each day: Choose a specific time of day that you are going to unplug (not while you’re sleeping). This could be the first hour of the day, during lunch, after work, or whenever you see it fitting into your day. This structure will help you learn how to power-down.  

  3. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb”: The “Do Not Disturb” setting on the Iphone silences your phone from vibrating or making noise when you receive notifications and sends your calls to voicemail, but you can still see these notifications in your notification center when you decide to check your phone. By turning on this setting, you are able to increase your focus and be more efficient with the task at hand.

  4. Turn off notifications: Turn off notifications for any app that isn’t used for calling or texting (if you need your email notifications on, do so). This means no more social media notifications, no more notifications about sales, and no more reminders to play that time-wasting game. By only allowing yourself to receive notifications for things that are necessary, you are giving yourself back the control to stay focused, and check these apps on your on time (or not check them at all).

  5. Reorganize your applications: Only keep what you need on your phone’s home screen so that you are not tempted by those time-wasting apps. If you are feeling up for it, try deleting those time-wasting apps that are no longer serving you (you can always redownload them).

  6. Download an app to track and limit your screen time: IPhones already have a built in setting that can be used to monitor phone usage, but here are some other apps you can use.

  7. Start carrying a book or a journal: This will help you cope when you’re feeling tempted to check your phone out of anxiousness or boredom.

  8. Tune into nature: Next time you’re walking outside or waiting in line, take a moment to breathe in your surroundings. One of the best ways to feel present is to be out in nature. This will help you check back into yourself and your surroundings.

We challenge you to pick two of these unplugging tips to focus on for the next week. If you’re feeling extra determined, try them all! Let us know how these changes affect your life and if you have any other suggestions for unplugging by commenting on our Instagram @MatchPace or through email.