Three Keys to a Successful Digital Detox

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

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.