When you consider that the average American’s attention span has plummeted over the past decade from a mere 12 seconds to an even lower eight – shorter than the attention span of a goldfish – you have to wonder what’s driving this trend. Today, we’re barraged by so many media and different devices that it can bring on sensory overload.
Here are some startling statistics:
- About 61 percent admit to being addicted to the internet and their devices.
- A third of people would rather clean their toilets than their email inbox.
- One out of 10 Americans report depression; heavy internet users are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed.
- The average employee checks 40 websites a day, switching activities 37 times an hour, changing tasks every two minutes.
- However, only 2 percent of people can actually multitask without a decline in performance.
- Roughly 60 percent of people say a traditional vacation does not relieve their stress.
Is it time to consider a digital detox?
If you can relate to any of the statistics above, perhaps it’s time to consider a digital detox. A digital detox is a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world. A digital detox is simply removing all digital and smartphone devices for your life for a while. It enables you to spend time focusing on what might actually make you happy and will help you get some rest.
How to approach your digital detox
We've all heard it takes 21 days to establish a new habit, but who has 21 days? Here are some 7-day challenges to consider:
Is it odd to use an app when you’re trying to spend less time connected?
Check out these options that can help you through your journey
- Flipd (keep focused) app - Flipd's most basic feature is called the "Light Lock." It's a countdown that you activate when you want to avoid your phone. To use it, decide how long you want to unplug—say, 30 minutes for a coffee date, or two hours for an uninterrupted project—and initiate the timer. Fans of the Pomodoro method and similar timeboxing strategies might recognize the approach of compartmentalizing tasks, but that's where the similarities end—and where the app gets interesting.
- App Detox - App Detox allows you to easily create rules to limit access to certain apps. The usual schedule and time-based limitations are available, as well as an option that requires to you walk in order to earn screen time. App Detox is one of the few apps that provides a “Forever” option for apps that cannot be deleted from your phone.
- Space - Space is a little different than many of the other screen time apps. Space helps you set goals to be more mindful of your screen usage. When you install Space, you’ll complete a short questionnaire about your smartphone habits and then select a user type that is the best match. The app then sets screen unlock and time use goals. The app will send notifications as screen time increases and reward you with different achievement badges when you meet your daily goals.
- Freedom - Once limited to Mac, Freedom is now available for your iPhone and iPad. Freedom allows you to create blocklists and schedule time away from the apps that may be most distracting. Since there is a Freedom app for both iOS and Mac, it’s easy to create custom blocklists for all of your devices. While Freedom offers a free trial period, a monthly subscription, at $7 per month or $29 for the year, is required to access all of its features.
Apple and Android tools already on your phone
Planning your vacation for 2019? Consider going off the grid