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No notifications that you’ve just received a Facebook photo to like; no quick games of Candy Crush while you’re in the bathroom; no hard-to-stop scrolling through the latest TikTok videos.
If this thought sends you into a mild panic, it may be time to plan a smartphone digital detox. HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, looks at why everyone should consider doing a 72-hour digital detox.
What is a smartphone digital detox?
A smartphone detox entails taking time away from your smartphone, ideally for 72 hours. This is different from a general digital detox, which involves “abstaining” from all forms of technology for a period of time. A digital detox enables you to take a break from the mountains of apps vying for your attention, giving your eyes a break from the constant temptations of the eye-catching visuals and enticing sounds, and taking an honest inventory of your mental and emotional well-being in the “extra space” this detox creates.
Benefits of a smartphone detox
Spending time away from your smartphone has many benefits.
Allows you to reconnect with the world around you
Think about your typical day. If you’re in a queue at the grocery store, you’ll likely be on your smartphone. Waiting for the microwave to finish heating your lunch – on your smartphone. Waiting for a Zoom meeting to start – looking at your smartphone. Even taking a bathroom break – scrolling through your smartphone.
When almost every spare moment you have is spent on your smartphone, it’s easy to block out things happening around you – including people! Doing a smartphone detox allows you to shift more of your attention to what’s happening around you, seeing people and talking to them, and being more present in your actual world as opposed to your digital one.
It can be stressful, though; we have everything on our smartphones, so the thought of missing an important work email or call can make us think twice about putting the smartphone away. A great middle ground idea is to swap out your smartphone for a phone like the Nokia 105 , so you know you’re contactable and can call when needed.
Improves attention and focus
Because smartphones are a hand-sized hub of everything, from work to entertainment to health to current events, all these different things happening on your phone can split your attention, diluting your focus, and causing you to be less productive and less attentive.
If you’re swapping out for a phone like the Nokia 105, you’ll still have the important features needed to keep you contactable, be able to make calls and send messages. But the mountain of other things that vie for your attention on a smartphone aren’t there, so you can focus better on the important things in your day.
Gives you more time back
If you had to calculate how many hours you spend on your phone each day, you’d probably be shocked. Research shows that the average person spends three hours and 15 minutes a day on their phone and checks it around 58 times.
That’s three hours that you could be doing something more valuable, like playing soccer outside with your child, having tea with a friend (in person!), or even spring-cleaning your home.
Here’s how you do it
Swap out for a feature phone
Going cold turkey on a smartphone detox can seem very daunting, and it carries a certain amount of stress with it too. Fearing that you will miss important emails and work calls, for example, can be a big turn-off from doing a smartphone detox. So swap out for a phone, which will ensure that you have all the features you need, but also allow you to take a break from the “busy” interface of your smartphone.
Slowly extend the time away from your phone
A great way to check how much time you spend on your smartphone is to use a Digital Wellbeing app. This gives you a good round-up of your digital habits – how often you check your phone, how often you use your apps, and how many notifications you use. This can be “fuel to the fire” of your digital detox journey.
Then you start. On Day 1, put your smartphone away for 15 minutes and do something you enjoy during that time (to ease some of that separation anxiety). Try for 30 minutes the next day, and so forth. Have your feature phone handy as a backup to help with the potential stress and anxiety.
Plan to avoid stress
As your smartphone-less time extends, plan your detox break well to avoid that stress. Don’t set up digital meetings or appointments that you’ll need smartphone apps for, rather, set up in-person meetings (which is great for relationship building).
Catch up on life
Being buried in your phone for three or more hours a day means you’re missing out on doing “real life” things that can bring joy to your life.
Take someone out for lunch and enjoy a few hours of chatting with a loved one, or if you’re not able to get out, schedule a time to have a hearty catch-up chat on your Nokia 105, and without the battery-hungry apps that consumer your battery, the Nokia 105 has all day battery life¹, so you can talk for hours.