How to Do a Digital Detox

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
Jul 28, 2011 / 0 comments

You're running websites, and/or TOTALLY connected at work. You've got one (or more) cell phones, google phone (and possibly a land-line?). You're connected on twitter, foursquare, facebook, G+, and even old-school forums. You're involved in your neighborhood website, community events online, and keep up to date with your kids and family online.


AND, now you're planning your vacation. Think of where you want to go to get away from it all...


You've gotten your tickets online (thank you, FareCompare!), your home to rent (we heart Homeaway Holiday Rentals) your travel insurance, your travel clothes (Love ExOfficio), your luggage (that wonderful Lilypond bag), your guidebooks, and made connections online to meet while you're there.




Remember your last vacation? How you were plugged in the whole time, taking care of your website, responding to work emails (and even contributing to that all-important white paper) several times daily, even being available for phone calls to take care of problems. And, it wasn't much of a vacation. You returned more exhausted than when you left.


It's time to take a digital detox. Here are some tips for a successful, unconnected vacation for you and your family.


1. Tell everyone before you leave that you will be on vacation, doing a digital detox. Give them the phone number of the hotel, or person running your rental home - with the knowledge that if you HAVE to be found (only) in case of emergency, you will be.


2. Prepare ahead of time at work. Finish projects at work. Schedule posts for your website. Have an autoreply in all of your email accounts. Make sure you CAN leave with no worries.


3. Prepare ahead of time at home. Make sure your pets are taken care of, your plants will be ok, your mail is held, your surge protector is on (because really, you WILL be hopping online right when you get back home), and you have someone to watch over your house. Safety is important!


4. Prepare your SELF. Bring books, games, activities to do with the kids. Make plans for activities. You will have to learn to be off-line, and disconnected. Bring maps (no GPS on your phone!). Ease into it - slow down a week or so beforehand, so it isn't such a shock.


5. Imagine the world. Yes, it's all yours. You are FREE! It will feel really strange, the first few days. You probably won't know what to do with yourself, and may even find yourself looking for internet cafes, just to "run an errand." Don't succumb. The world will go on without you for a few days. Your family will grow closer. You will all become less stressed, and able to interact with nature and each other.


You know what? When you get home, you'll be SO relaxed. As it was pre-internet, vacations will start to mean something - a time away from it all. You'll be refreshed, invigorated, and ready to jump back into life.


And, it might even transcend time and you'll find yourself disconnecting more and more - enjoying your family, nature, and time away from the hectic pace of a life on the internet. Don't wait for your next vacation to do it again - find ways to decrease your dependence on the web - your work will improve, and you'll be happier for it.


Go for it!


Take off!

Take off!