I’ll be sharing some of my own experience of digital detox over the coming weeks, but I’d also love to hear your own stories. If you’ve got a story that would challenge, encourage, teach, inspire or warn others, please send it to me using the little blue envelope icon to the right.
Here’s one from former student of mine, Ryan Hurd. Thanks for sharing, Ryan, and thanks for the tip about the Freedom App. I signed up yesterday and I’ll let you all know how it goes.
Hope to see some of you for a Facebook Live on digital detox at 1pm ET today.
Also, here’s a page I’m developing that’s devoted to Digital Detox Resources.
At the beginning of last year I’d found myself facing a serious problem. As an editor, researcher, seminary student, et al., (and, dare I also say millennial?), I have been required to sit in front of a screen on average fourteen hours a day; sometimes, more like eighteen (yes, really). My stress had never been higher–and much of it was simply a consequence of being bound by technological dings and whistles. My mind, while previously OCD focused, had changed to being ADHD distracted. I’d hear a beep, and my heart rate would spike–not healthy or holy.
Starving the Addiction
That was when I decided to start purposely and precisely to deal with my problem. Much of it was a heart issue, which I trust the Lord is reworking in me yet today; but, as with all such things, “starving” an addictive appetite involves precisely that: not feeding it.
So I deleted Facebook. I turned off all bells and whistles of my email. My phone was straight up set to “do not disturb” until further notice. Youtube was blocked entirely. Blogs, ignored. Computer, left at the office. Internet, cancelled at home.
A Desperate Plunge
Lo and behold, I survived such a desperate plunge. However, while some things continued and do yet today–i.e., I still often leave my computer at the office, and I enjoy the sweet relief of walking in the door of my home with nothing but my (hardbound!) books to bother me–I soon realized that I needed extra help where I was weak. Besides, still sitting in front of a computer almost the same amount of time per day provided plenty of room for distraction.
One Click, I’m Free!
That was when I started my research for a solution. I tried many different things, concerning which details I won’t bore you, but quickly settled on freedom.to. It’s cheap, and does the job, and I use it every day, multiple times. You can set it very easily to do what you want: what apps you want blocked, or sites; what times you want them blocked, whether on a cycle (i.e., every day from 9:00 am to 10:00 am), or what I call a “session” (i.e., for the next two hours, I’m going to focus). You can set it to be able to be cancelled (mid-session); or, if you’re not strong enough, it can hold you to your decision with a “cannot cancel” button. And, best of all, on one screen of my laptop, in deciding every day how I want to use it, I can select all my devices: iPhone, iPad, and, yes, also my Mac (for you poor Window’s users, it works there too!!). One click. I’m free.
Program Your Heart
Any outside fix is by definition not an internal solution–you can program your time allowances, but you can’t program your heart. Thus, it doesn’t solve the issue in your soul. Go to God for that. However, a program like this can serve your sanctification, and, with the help of the Lord, be used to unleash you from your technological chains.
PS. The freedom.to promo code STAYFREE40 gets you 40% off a subscription. It’s only $29 annually, so that takes you down to $17.40 for a LOT of extra productivity.