In praise of taking digital breaks

photo of green data matrix
Photo by Markus Spiske on

A digital break can be extremely helpful for people who feel like they are always on their smartphones, constantly being bombarded with notifications or feel that they are hopelessly addicted to their black screens. If you are part of the 1%, you can take yourself on the unpluggedweekend retreat that promises you a break from it all.

For the rest of us peasants, taking digital breaks should still be an essential part of our personal policies.

Time is a precious, nonrenewable resource. Being aware of our digital consumption is not just an aspirational lifestyle choice for rich hippies.

Why digital break? 

In my post, radical digital detox ideas, I mentioned that taking a break from the digital world is something I REALLY want to incorporate into my routine to avoid wasting time online.

Like most, whenever I feel negative emotions creeping up, I tend to seek escape by seeking distractions. Usually, these distractions come from browsing the internet. My favorite escape is reading comments on online forums, mostly reddit, and getting lost in other people’s stories, opinions, and ideas. It might have something to do with the fact that I find how we interact our social world very fascinating.

However, escaping from uncomfortable feelings and emotions via the digital world almost always simply prolongs the icky feelings. To borrow words from Scary Terry, from Rick and Morty, “you can run but you can’t hide bitch!” This is especially true when we are also avoiding taking care of our responsibilities. After hours spent escaping into the digital world, the real world still awaits us. The dishes remain undone, the dogs unfed, the deadlines approaching, the house disorganized.

And, whatever we escape into is also almost always pointless crap, because moments later, we have no recollection of whatever it is that we just watched or read. Escapism. Sometimes, the best escape is getting work done.

From personal experiences, the best part of getting away from it all is that it forces us to confront being in the moment and feeling whatever we might be feeling, such as boredom, sadness, or anxiety.

So, how can we incorporate digital breaks into our routine? Make it your personal policy to take a digital break daily, weekly, or monthly, or whatever. The point of taking a digital break, in my opinion at least, is to consciously set time aside to minimize the noise and allow time for silence, contemplation, and boredom.

Spending time online must be an elective experience rather than a default setting.

While there are many ways one can incorporate digital breaks into their routine, really it is very unique to each individual, here are some ideas I have for myself to take digital breaks.

Daily Digital Breaks

  • Right after waking up, do not use phone, laptop and other digital electronics for at least an hour, or until I leave the house for work.
  • After work, put all digital stuff away and out of reach for a couple of hours (this is truly a bliss if your work requires staring at a computer screen every day).

Weekly Digital Breaks

  • Once a week, unplug from screens and go offline for a whole evening.

Monthly Digital Breaks

  • Once a month, take a day off from your smartphone, laptop, tablets, tv, etc. and do things completely offline.
  • Put my phone away for a whole weekend.

Of course, taking a break from the digital world does not mean you stare at a wall until the time is up. Instead, we can use these breaks doing productive and fun activities in the offline world.

READ: Smartphones Are Making Us Dumber. Here’s How To Fight Back.


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