How to Unplug From Technology & Recharge with a Digital Detox

Feb 2, 2022 | Family Time, Inspire, Lifestyle, Motivation

Life is too short to spend on your phone (or behind any screen)! Technology addiction is rising and keeps us from connecting with those around us! Join the UNPLUG from Technology challenge. Connect! Get STUFF done! You'll thank me, later!

People on their smart phones, from Fun Cheap or Free

Hi. My name is Jordan and I'm a technoholic.

I have been suffering from a technology addiction for quite some time. Mostly, I'm addicted to my phone! But really an addiction is an addiction so what does it matter? I justify this technology addiction all day long, because it's my “job” to be immersed in social media and the web… to know what's the latest and greatest… right?

Sure, just like a bank robber could justify robbing a bank because it's his “job” to provide for his family. You can't.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

While technically it IS my job to immerse myself in social media (just as a bank robber technically does need to provide for his family), the HOW is the real issue here. My phone, computer, and social media usage β€” while all necessary and great ('cause I get to connect with you Freebs) β€” seeps into dinner time…kid time…husband time…gym time…heck, I don't even go to the BATHROOM without my phone!

No more. It's time to FOCUS on others.

It's time to stop looking down at my screen, and start looking up at the world around me. UNPLUG from technology a little, and LIVE a lot more…and naturally, I want you all to do it with me. πŸ™‚

Who's in?


WHY YOU SHOULD UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY

woman on her phone at dinner, from Fun Cheap or Free

Every February we do this Unplug Challenge! It's Focus on Relationships month in #FreebsNation! We're issuing a challenge to unplug from our phones, TVs, computers, tablets, and any form of game completely when someone else is around.

Sometimes we need to disconnect in order to reconnect with what matters.

Unknown

Technology is one of the greatest blessings on earth. Between medical advancements and being able to stay in touch with people from the other side of the world, technology has changed our world for the better.

Technology also robs us from making meaningful connections and can be toxic to our mental and physical health. This month we want to capitalize on the good, and let go of the bad habits we've developed when it comes to technology.


BENEFITS OF UNPLUGGING

Let's talk about what we're going to gain! Heaven knows, we NEED the motivation!

  • Frees up time to be productive with more important tasks that will leave you feeling more fulfilled.
  • Gives opportunities to find peace and contentment in your daily life.
  • Allows you to be PRESENT with the ones you love.
  • No more FOMO if you aren't looking at everyone else's highlight reel all day!
  • Helps you develop deeper connections with everyone around you.
  • Decreases feelings of jealousy and loneliness caused by comparison on social media and the web!
  • In short, it helps you BE HAPPY!

And don't we all want to be happy?

We know it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so this challenge is going ALL. MONTH. LONG. I might need to continue in March, because I'm sure phone addiction takes longer to mend than 30 days. But after reading the list of benefits, I'm really motivated and ready to get over this technology addiction already.


MY TECHNOLOGY ADDICTION

Before I give you the details of how this Unplug from Technology Challenge will work, read how I got to this point first…

I'm going to use some personal examples here since acknowledging an addition is the first step! I am WELL AWARE that these behaviors are not the best and I'm working on changing them. I just have to eat a little bit of humble pie before I can move forward. So how 'bout I start by airing my dirty laundry to the whole world first.

I hope you feel better about yourself after reading this…


A GLIMPSE INTO MY TECHNOHOLIC LIFE

I wake up, and before I even get out from under the covers, I check my phone. For what? Couldn't tell you. But my thumbs usually wander over to Instagram or emails…but it could be the weather, shopping apps, my calendar, doesn't really matter.

I'm on my phone while brushing my teeth. Going to the bathroom. In-between fixing breakfast for my kids. Much of the time it's posting to social media because as a blogger you have to take advantage of peak times, and morning is one of them. But I seem to linger longer and longer, looking at other people's profiles, searching hashtags, or just wasting time. Sometimes I multitask and do this while interacting with my family, but many times I zone out and don't even notice my kids are talking to me.

I put my phone in my bag at the gym during my class, and find myself reaching for it the moment I pick my bag back up again after class, and have my nose stuck in it all the way to the locker room. Then I can then be found texting continually, and again on social media, all while doing my makeup and getting ready.

I hit a red light in my car, and immediately reach for my phone. One day, I tried to leave my phone in the seat next to me, and I made it about 2 miles before I couldn't stand it any more and had to have it in the cup holder, safely by my side…or even in my lap, just so I knew it was close. Sadly, my car even has super fancy bluetooth connection so I can make calls with my steering wheel and never need my phone…yet still, the urge to do emails, social media, and web is too strong for me much of the time.

Sometimes at home I completely lose track of my phone, which drives Bubba nuts because those are always the times that he seems to need me for something. But it doesn't take long for me to pull out all the stops to find it, stopping everything I'm doing until it's found.

I work while my kids are sleeping, and try not to work once they are awake. While they're sleeping I'm completely plugged in, in the zone, working as furiously as possible because their naps are never long enough and the work is never finished. So sometimes it takes me 20-30 minutes after they wake up to snap out of work mode and wrap up what I'm doing. Putting my computer away isn't too hard, I just leave it in the other room.

My phone, though, is always on me. I find myself playing with my kids and after only a few minutes my mind wanders to something that I need to get done and bam…my phone comes out. Adding something to my shopping list. Tagging someone in a picture that I forgot to tag earlier. Responding to reader comments and questions. Checking my calendar. Texting, texting, and more texting. Taking pictures and videos. Then editing and posting the pictures and videos. I'm still in the room with my kids, in their presence, but not really present. You'd think I would've learned that lesson, eh?

I find myself turning to my phone as a social buffer. While waiting in line at the store, my nose is sometimes in my phone instead of socializing with the strangers around me, and sometimes hardly acknowledging my cashier. When I am alone at an event or party, my phone is my wingman and allows me to busy myself in it rather than face awkwardness. It keeps me from having to look people in the eye.

At dinner I find myself sneaking quick glances at this or that on my phone, or capturing pictures or videos of the great things we are doing. Sometimes I can do it while having great dinnertime conversation, sometimes I completely zone out and Bubba has to snap me back.

Sometimes at night I'm exhausted and can't WAIT to fall asleep. I get ready for bed, turn out my light, my head hits my pillow…then I make the mistake of grabbing my phone one last time, to check who knows what…and next thing you know 20, 30, or 40+ minutes have been wasted by my getting sucked into Instagram, or Facebook, or Youtube, or Pinterest, or heaven knows what else.

I'm even embarrassed to admit that the first paragraph of this email was drafted on my phone, sitting next to my sweet little kid in the back of the car while Bubba was driving us all home after a family activity. My son had his head on my shoulder and was holding my hand (cutest thing ever to hold a tiny hand), and I eventually let go of his hand because it was too hard to type one-handed. Totally ashamed thinking back on it. What a sweet moment I wasted.

Let's STOP. Stop wasting precious moments that help us connect with those we love!


UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY WITH ME!!

If your technology usage is out of control, you might feel overwhelmed, disconnected, sad, tired or stressed! Yeah…constantly being connected can do that to ya! When your life is always plugged in, you might need to take a few minutes to recharge! It's time to unplug from technology, my friend!

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Anne Lamott

DEFEAT THE TECHNOLOGY ADDICTION WITH A DIGITAL DETOX

Woman writing in her productivity planner, from Fun Cheap or Free

For those of you who can go all out, a digital detox will do you wonders! Set aside several hours of the day when you HIDE YOUR PHONE and disconnect from all technology. You may love the results so much that you want to challenge yourself to a longer digital detox.

If you've seen my block schedule video or Productivity Planner, then you know that I schedule in time to be unplugged right there in my blocks! This helps!! But I'm not always perfect at it. I need that constant reminder and an occasional digital detox to get me back on track.


UNPLUG FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Many people benefit from taking a couple days, or even a week-long break, to unplug from technology β€” specifically from social media! I highly encourage you to try it… just make sure to come back to me when you're done! πŸ˜‰

Now if that seems completely impossible for some of you, keep in mind that I'm not saying don't use your phones, computers, iPads, or TVs. Let's be honest, that's not realistic.


MODIFIED DIGITAL DETOX

Ooookay! The real challenge here… Or the challenge that I AM going to issue is to only use technology when no one else is around.

Including the cashier at the store, our kids, spouse, coworkers, friends, or even the random people sitting next to us on the bus. Unless we're by ourselves, we don't touch it.

  • Want to check social media? Great! Do it when going to the bathroom. Alone in the car. Getting ready for the day.
  • Want to catch up on your DVR shows? Awesome! Let's do it on a night when our spouses are working late and the kids are in bed. Even if our spouses want to watch the shows with us, let's TURN IT OFF and TALK INSTEAD! Catch up! Calendar! Make plans!

We will be more productive if we unplug from technology and tune in to life. And that's what I'm all about!

Yes, you will see me posting on social media, just as I hope to see you posting on social media.

I will be checking my phone, texting, and making calls, and you better believe I won't miss an episode of my fave show on my DVR. BUT…I am committing to only using technology during appropriate times. I'm committed to doing it when no one else is around. This won't be easy, because I'm usually around people…which is great because it will force me to cut back and prioritize how I use my time.


WAYS TO UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY

woman reading a book, from Fun Cheap or Free

If you need a little more inspiration on how to unplug here are some great tips to help you get started and implement this digital detox (no matter what level you need to detox). You ready?

  • Start your day with gratitude, prayer, meditation, study… something uplifting! Don't reach for that phone! Give yourself anywhere from 15-60 minutes phone-free in the morning and you will not believe the difference it makes in your whole day!
  • BLOCK IT!! I live by my Productivity Planner and I'm telling you, scheduling in time to unplug is essential for my day! I always try to make sure my meal-time and family blocks are unplugged so I can connect with my husband and kids!
  • Turn off all Push Notifications so your phone isn't constantly dinging and distracting you from what's going on around you.
  • Set App Limits on your phone. For iPhone users, go to settings and select screen time, you can then click on app limits and set time limits for your biggest app temptations… I'm lookin at you Instagram! You can also select downtime and your phone will give you warnings when it's time to put your phone away!!
  • Be productive. You may think that this is a bit silly. But plan out your day and all the things you'll get done in those pockets of time you usually spend on your phone. Go conquer your day!
woman working out with child, from Fun Cheap or Free
  • Do something for your body! Instead of lazily browsing Instagram or Facebook, get up! Get moving! If your hands are busy, you won't be sneaking a peek at your phone.
  • Find an accountability partner to cheer you on in your quest to complete your digital detox! Maybe find someone else who also struggles with a technology addiction and wants to join you in creating a healthier lifestyle.
  • Put your tech to bed! This goes right along with limits, but it's super helpful if you have a time every night when you put the phone down. Make it a habit.
  • Worst case scenario, if nothing else works… TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!!! You can't use it if it's off.
  • More frequent digital detox sessions will help keep your technology addiction away! If you feel like your phone and technology are taking over, it may be time to completely unplug and recharge for 3-5 days!

TIME TO KICK THIS TECHNOLOGY ADDICTION IN THE BUTT

Let's get our family involved! Our kids! Let's shout it to the rooftops! Pin this! Post it on Facebook! Tell your friends! Let's start a Fun Cheap or Free #UnplugChallenge movement! Tell the world about it!…

…just be sure to do so once you're by yourself.

Image with text that reads "unplug challenge" from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more great ideas?

Let's do this. CHEST BUMP AND GRUNT.

XOXO

Jordan Page Signature from Fun Cheap or Free

31 Comments

  1. L

    WOW very honest post! I am completely guilty of this myself :/ I will definitely be doing this challenge. Thanks for the reminders!

    Reply
  2. Kelly-lee Pitt

    Great post. Very timely. I have been trying to unplug a bit more, it is so hard though. You just dont realise how often you are on a screen until you try to limit it! I have made a very conscious effort not to use my phone for ANYTHING when we are out with friends, no googling, and not even photos. If friends want to have a impromptu photo session i let them take the pics on their phones and tell them to text them to me. I am making the effort to not be the one who whips out their phone at first chance. I am trying to be more present and have actual conversations with people and i gotta say, I’m loving it, πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Samantha

    This is so me- GUILTY in every aspect!! I’m making a commitment to do this with you

    Reply
  4. Carol

    This is my Achilles heel. It’s one of the reasons my first marriage ended. When my kids are visiting (I only have visitation), they’ll now comment that I’m on my phone too much. I was on my phone at a stop light and thought my lane was starting to move. Turns out it was just the turn lane that was moving and I ended up rear ending a small sedan in my Expedition. I really need to do this challenge and at the same time it scares the crap outta me.

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      Oh boy do I know how you feel! That’s why we’re doing it for a full month though, because it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. So it won’t happen overnight, but I think we can all see how much better we’ll be because of it. I firmly believe if I can do it, anyone can do it…we’re in this together!! Thanks for sharing!! XOXO

      Reply
  5. Christi

    I love the idea of unplugging, too bad you picked the month of the Winter Olympics to try it. I hope maybe you’ll revisit this, so that those of us who aren’t going to miss the Olympics can still participate.
    You’re ideas and support are great.

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      Christi – just adapt the challenge to work for you! You can still watch the olympics, just do it when no one else is around! Or if you decide that you want to watch it together as a family, that’s fine – do what works for you. The main purpose is to tune out of the media/technology that invades our life, and tune in to the relationships around us. You can interpret that however you see fit. Hope you play along! XOXO

      Reply
  6. evi

    a Really great post, thank you! I don’t have a smartphone therefore I am not THAT guilty, but still – I am absolutely guilty of checking/writing texts while being with my kids. Bad. Very bad. I have made it a point by now NOT to have the phone around when we are eating and when we are reading books. But the phone happens to sneak in when we are “just” playing, like with Lego or the like. When I catch myself doing it, it makes me feel bad, I have to get better about that.
    Just one thing: PLEASE don’t use phone’s too much while driving a car, it’s just so very very dangerous! In Austria, where I live, we have to use headphones for talking while driving and it’s just soooo dangerous not to use one. They really don’t cost that much (after all, how much did the car cost you are sitting in?) and they keep your hands free.
    I really, really enjoy your blog, thanks for all the great ideas you are sharing with your readers!

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      Thanks for sharing Evi! So glad you’re on-board! I have automatic bluetooth in my car, so the funny thing is my phone can be completely hands-free!…except for checking emails and social media, which was my major downfall. I’m vowing to be better in the car, thanks for the push!

      Reply
      • evi

        yes,bluetooth is a heaven-sent! I always had one and about a year ago, mine broke. Since I was home with the kids I didn’t get a new one because I figured I can go without and save the money – but it drove me nuts! Even around the house, it’s so much easier! Two months ago I finally got a new one and it soooo convenient! And now that my husband and I have swapped jobs for three months (I am back fulltime at work for three months while he’s home with the kids – the Austrian social-security-system offers this opportunity and I am SO grateful for it, its great for every single one of us, I enjoy my job and keep my presence there and hubby and the kids have looooots of time together, it’s such a blessing for their relationship!) I am in the car for 1.5hours every day and without my bluetooth-headset, it would be so boring to commute – I just catch up with all my relatives and friends whom I couldn’t really talk to in the past years because there was always a baby crying… ;->

        Reply
  7. Michelle

    Guilty!!!! I need to put my phone down and be more present to my family! Thanks for the reminder!!!

    Reply
  8. Natalia

    I loved this post. It was so honest. I am always talking about present centeredness in my sessions with clients (I’m a psychotherapist), and yet I am guilty of being glued to my phone from morning until night. It’s time to start practicing what I preach better! πŸ™‚ I have been loving your challenges this year, I can’t wait to share this challenge with my husband.

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      Thanks for sharing Natalia, very touched! XOXO

      Reply
  9. Kathleen

    Very honest and transparent, thank you…..I honestly thought you were talking about me!
    This issue hit me at the new year and I’m already taking the challenge.
    I’m only on now because I’m home sick….and all alone. πŸ™‚
    Best to all of us!

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      I’m so glad you’re on-board, I need all the support I can get! and yes, thank goodness for naptimes and bedtime or else I’d never be able to be on my phone πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  10. Ashley L.

    I’m totally guilty of this as well. Not sure how well I will do with this challenge, but even an attempt would be an improvement!

    Reply
  11. Heather Reynolds

    I’m in! I’m working my way through the book “Hands Free Mama” which is a bout this topic. It’s going to be hard for me, but I think my family will really benefit. Please keep us posted on how you’re doing!

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      I promise I will…you keep me posted too so I can have some encouragement! πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • Heather

        Um, so far I can say it is WAY WAY harder than I thought and I’m failing way more than I thought I would. What are you doing to keep yourself accountable?? Found any tricks?

        Reply
        • FunCheapOrFree

          So funny you posted this, today has been ROUGH for me. Because of my slacking off last night I had to be doing social media stuff on my phone this morning, thus totally zoning out from my kids again. And I’ve had lots of texting conversations going yesterday and today and I find myself responding to them even when my kids are around. It’s been SO HARD! I wrote a big X on my hand to remind me, so let’s hope it helps. I’m doing better than I was before, but it’s way harder than I thought! Good thing I have all month to get better…

          Reply
          • Heather

            Today I made my lock screen a picture of my three kids with the message “love this life” as a reminder to focus on being present. It has worked numerous times today as I’ve reached to unlock my phone….

          • FunCheapOrFree

            HOLY COW I love that idea so much! A lock screen is a great idea. It’s true, it’s too easy for me to access my apps at a moment’s notice. A lock screen is a great reminder to make conscious choices about my phone. I’m going to do that tonight, thanks for the idea!

  12. rachel

    We live rurally and have satellite internet which limits the amount of data you can use a month (read: lame). This data-month we went a little crazy streaming a few shows and are out of data until the 15th so our internet is sooooo slow (bringing up your website took forever). It’s been nice though because it’s made me stop wasting time clicking around online forever and reading about other people’s lives and instead, living mine. I’ve worked on projects, read books (!!), prepped my primary lesson, made meals, cleaned out, caught up on phone calls to organize our lives . . . my downfall is honestly just the internet and while I have it on my smartphone, I’m not as addicted to it that way. So this data issue has really been a blessing in disguise. You’ll love all the “free time” you find that you have again!

    Reply
  13. Mellie

    Totally will be doing this. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  14. Sharon

    What a great challenge. I have more of a problem of being on the computer and have had that problem for a ridiculously long amount of time. My DH and kids all hate it. I do work on my computer and it makes it super-challenging to “not” check other sites while I’m working since the tabs were added to windows. Maybe I need to go back to the old version of only 1 tab at a time, ha ha.

    Reply
  15. Jennifer kilstrom-williamson

    I realize this post is old. How have you done with unplugging? My spouse is always on their phone. Yet doesn’t think they are. How do you get them to unplug if they are the one in denial? Help! Lol

    Reply
    • Fun Cheap or Free

      It’s gone really well! We’ve just made it a firm rule for everybody in the house that when it’s time to unplug, it’s time for everybody to put the electronics away. So maybe you come up with a reason to unplug that will make your spouse want to unplug and then he’ll realize that he spends too much time on his phone! It’s amazing how much time we can spend on our phones without realizing it, but it’s so nice when you can finally realize it and try to break the chain. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  16. Catherine Godfrey

    Boy, I’m so addicted to my phone. Went on vacation for a few nights I left my phone in the room. It was amazing. I’m making it a regular thing. Loved the article.

    Reply
    • Fun Cheap or Free

      That’s so awesome to hear! Make some house rules on when the phones need to be put up and you’ll be amazed at how good the whole family will feel!

      Reply
  17. Nana

    I am ready. Also delete apps like facebook. I only check them on my computer now and am less distracted by it. And lets be fair, those 10 notifications are most of the time pure rubbisch. Checking facebook takes me now 10 minutes or less, where in the past I would be hours on it. Only instagram is still on my phone, because that app is not worth it on your computer. Here I use a screentime of 30 minutes. I also try to decrease that number during the month. Thinking about throwing my phone somewhere when I’m arriving at home instead of clinging it to my body.

    Reply
    • Fun Cheap or Free

      Those are such great ideas! Maybe you put your phone somewhere when you get home where you can still hear it if someone calls, but it’s not easy to grab and just look at? Screentime is the best for keeping the time spent on your phone in check!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *