Three Keys to a Successful Digital Detox

I’m coming at you from the heart of my digital detox.  

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Because the Internet is magic, and the computer is her magician, you are reading this here blog post even though I am not currently typing it. No, I typed this beforehand. Before said break. For your eyes only. Magic, I tell you. Pure magic. 

As I’ve mentioned before, digital breaks are good for every soul. I believe this so strongly that I even have a new book on the topic (check out Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane) in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age at your favorite bookstore or world wide web book-selling maven).

So I went and took my own advice and went on a break this week.

Here’s what I did to set myself up well for the digital break, and what I’m doing to stay sane without my technology.

I Prepared Beforehand

I didn’t wake up yesterday and decide to do this. I planned. I have blog posts (like this one) set to go out. I have social media updates (useful, evergreen articles I enjoyed) set to post. I have auto-responders on my email addresses alerting folks to my vacation. I’m ready, Freddy.

I’m Allowing Myself a Little Bit

Yep, a total tech blackout is sometimes a good thing. Last year, I took a 12-day complete digital break, for example, and loved almost every minute of it. It felt like a true digital detox, in every sense of the word. The first couple mornings I could practically feel the shakes as I tried to reach for my iphone to scroll my emails and tweets before getting out of bed. My only “cheat” was to receive text messages if something crazy happened and I had to get online. In about 12 days, I received about 10 messages, 1 one of which was actually important.

This year, I decided I wasn’t into such a total blackout, so instead I’m doing a very scaled back version of a detox. I’ll be staying off my computer, but checking emails occasionally on my iphone. Since I hate typing on my iphone as is, this will keep me out of the email fray, which makes up the bulk of my blood-pressure inducing digital non-delights.

I’ve Got a Back Up Plan

By allowing myself some time on my iphone to put out fires, I don’t envision there will be any real necessity to spend time on the computer. That said, I’ve got a simple back up plan if more time is needed. It’s called: opening my laptop.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 2.26.14 PMDigital breaks fascinate me, and I love reading about folks who take them and the highs and lows they find along the way. If you’re interested in more on the topic, give a gander at my new book, Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane), in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age. It’s a tactical tome sharing information, statistics and stories about what digital overwhelm means in our modern life, and a primer for keeping said overwhelm at bay. 

Check it out here. 


Have you tried a digital break or digital detox before? Did it work?


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25 thoughts on “Three Keys to a Successful Digital Detox

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  10. Great idea about preparing beforehand. Having an auto-responders on your email is a good way to inform others that you can’t personally reply on their message. 🙂

  11. The only detox I do is when I’m out for the day or days from work. I try not to look at my email, but I do scan to see who’s emailing me so I can reply if it’s upper management.

    I just got your book Digital Overwhelm and have downloaded others received via your e-news. Lots to read and absorb, but I’m enjoying it…alot! Thank you Ms. Claire!

    Have a a great week!


  12. I’m looking forward to hearing how you like your digital sabbatical. I imagine myself reaching for my phone, Feedly, email. Plus… what about Pandora? My calendar, my to do lists… all digital. I listen to podcasts while walking, the news while doing mindless chores, Coffitivity while writing. Plus, that’s not all. So I might be a prime candidate for a digital sabbatical, but I’m not sure I’d like it. Hence, I look forward to reading about yours. I hope it’s great.