Owning and running a business is a daunting task. There are so many things to do, so much to remember, so many moving parts that need to come together for things to go well from day to day. As such, business owners often end up feeling like their brain’s been fried and perhaps burnt a little bit as well.

So what do you do when you smell the smoke coming out your ears? Do you hightail it to a beach resort? That sounds like a lovely idea, but you can’t always afford the expense or the time, and let’s be honest – you’ll still be taking calls and answering emails from the beach, won’t you? You totally will. It’s hard to distance yourself from work.

So what you really need is a quick and easy solution – something that won’t hurt to do, and which will get you results quickly. You know what that would be? A digital detox.

What is a digital detox?

Also referred to as a digital fast, this practice involves getting rid of all digital devices around you. So no smartphone, no TV, no iPod, no video games, nothing.

How does this help? During a digital detox you’re forced away from ways to conduct work or obtain ‘mindless’ entertainment, so your mind is able to rest. Imagine a day without phone calls, without reminders, emails, or messages. You can’t watch TV, you can’t browse Facebook, you can’t binge-watch comedy videos on YouTube.

Sounds boring? It is. But the good thing about boring is that it gives your brain a chance to rest and zone out. You won’t be able to work or waste time watching TV, so your brain will get a well-deserved rest. We need 8 hours’ sleep at night, but that’s not all the rest you need, especially if the work you do involves mental labor.

Besides, it won’t be completely boring. If you have any chores you need to do, errands you need to run, things to go out and buy, or hobbies that don’t involve electricity, you can definitely do them. Have a great day cooking up a beautiful meal, play some tennis with your kids, go hiking, look at the boxes that’ve been lying in the living room…there’s so much to do!

Worrying statistics

Since you’re probably wondering why you need to do a digital detox, we’ll just leave these numbers here. You may or may not need a digital detox – we’ll let you decide that.

– The average American spends 30% of their free time browsing the internet

– 50% Americans prefer digital communication over in-person communication

– 60% of people say a traditional vacation does not relieve their stress

– The average employee checks 40 websites a day, and spends 2 hours a day recovering from distractions

–  The average user spends 2.15 hours every day on social media (it was 1.5 hours in 2012)

– The average person checks their smartphone every 12 minutes

– On average, we tap, swipe and click on our phones 2,617 times every day

These statistics have been obtained from digitaldetox.org and itstimetologoff.com. Smartphones are certainly a boon – but how far can you take a good thing before you come out on the other side?

How often should you do a digital fast?

It is recommended that you practice this once a week. We deal with such a large amount of information every day – from emails to meetings, articles, and even billboards – that you need frequent periods of ‘shutting off’ to really give your brain time to rest.

If once a week won’t work for you, go ahead and change it to suit your needs. A digital detox is supposed to be relaxing. If the idea of going offline every weekend gives you anxiety, then it rather beats the purpose.

However, before you make up your mind on this matter, read through the many benefits it can offer a business owner like yourself. Time availability always boils down to priority, so maybe once you know its benefits you’ll feel differently!

So, what are its benefits?

Here are some of the benefits a digital detox session would have:

  1. A clearer mind. As a business owner, you probably have to juggle a lot of (too many) things from day to day. Taking care of business, talking to customers, responding to feedback, managing finances, getting permits, managing employees, ordering stock, going through the paperwork, paying the bills… The anxiety, the pressure is ridiculous.

You need a way to clear your mind of all this stress. You need something like meditation, except quicker – it can’t involve a learning curve. A digital detox ticks all those boxes. It’ll put you out of touch and give you nothing to do, so your mind will be forced to relax. It’ll have to turn down the speed a notch or five.

  1. Truly relax, for once. When we go on a vacation, if we carry our phones with us and sneak in a couple hours of frantic emailing in the morning, it’s a workcation – a work-vacation lovechild. While your family might enjoy it, it doesn’t give your mind what it really needs.

During a digital fast, however, you’ll be prised away from technology, which will remove you both from work and negative forms of entertainment. All you’ll be able to do is rest and find wholesome ways to occupy your mind and time – whether it’s forgotten tasks, a badminton game with the kids, or a quiet evening spotting meteors.

  1. Better focus. So you’ll have a clearer mind – cool. What benefits would that have? Increased focus, a calmer demeanor, enhanced ability to handle stress, better overall health, and many more. You need rest, that’s unarguable – and having a well-rested brain will bring you many benefits.

Should I try a digital detox retreat near me?

Camps for digital detox have been gaining popularity, because it pairs similarly-minded people together, and gives them something to do. Many camps organize activities and fun games so the participants have fun and don’t miss their smartphones. However, is a digital detox retreat (or camp) right for you?

For the purposes of this article, we would say no. If you are stressed and overwhelmed, with too much to do and too little time, then you need peace and quiet. Your mind needs to heal. Many people don’t realize that relaxation and boredom are related. When you’re bored, your mind isn’t being stimulated – in other words, it’s out of things to do. So you need to be bored. If you relax by solving puzzles and watching videos, it’s only your body that’s relaxing.

However, if you find yourself bored beyond measure with nothing to do, a digital detox camp might be a good option. You’ll find some fantastic ones around you, whether you want to try it as a weekend retreat or a full-fledged vacation. If you’re planning on the latter, Spain has some truly gorgeous resorts that you need to check out. The Balanced Life, Soul Adventures, Trasierra, and Villa Maecenas are some of them.

Once again, however, I really should repeat that a digital detox is best done alone at home – at least initially. It’s a time to be away from excitement, a time to nap, to tackle forgotten chores one leisurely checkbox at a time. 

A quick guide to digital detox

So, now that you know what a digital detox is and why you need to try it, here is how you get started with the process:

– First, decide which day you want to do the detox. Trying it weekly is recommended, so for most folks, Sunday works the best. If you take a different day off work, schedule it then.

– On the day of the digital detox, don’t check your phone from the moment you get up. If you check it once, you’ll check it twice, and then thrice and so forth. The key is to avoid it the first time, and the next couple of times will be easier.

– Now that we’ve got communication (i.e., your phone) out of the way, let’s talk about staying busy. You can’t just lie around and contemplate life all day, so you’ll need something to do. Once you’ve got the morning routine over with and had breakfast, make a list of things that need doing.

– Now, about that list: Have a couple items that you do every Sunday, like grocery shopping and cutting your nails, and add a couple items (keep the number realistic) that have been pending for a while. Tackling a dusty attic, fixing that creaky door, deadheading the rosebush…that sort of thing.

– So far you’ve avoided checking your phone (great job!), and started on things you need to do. Now, consider entertainment. If you don’t have any, you’ll turn your Sunday into a bore-chore day rather than a relaxing one. Keep in mind that it can’t be digital, and try to make sure it’s something that’s good for your health. Say, reading, playing, swimming, observing…that sort of thing. List a couple, so you can switch between them as needed.

If you think you may receive important calls on the day – like hearing back from a big customer, getting your test results, or a call from your daughter – you can hand over the phone to your wife, or selectively unmute notifications. It’ll take a couple of minutes to set up, but then you’ll be good to go! 

At initiate lift, we want to help small businesses develop and grow, and an important part of this process is ensuring your mental well-being. As the owner of your company, you are in a high-stress job, and managing stress well is a key step in ensuring sustainable success. Stay tuned for more such articles, and take care!

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