Three top tips for a reluctant digital detox

Lynsey Barber
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Sit back, relax and put your phone away (Source: Getty)

That's it - switch off your phone, close your laptop... maybe even unplug the telly?

Ok - perhaps wait until you've finished reading this, but a third of the country has considered taking just such drastic action in an effort to detox from the digital devices littering our lives.

More than half of us consider ourselves hooked and a third of us say it's difficult to disconnect, according to new research from Ofcom, so, here are handful of tips to get you going on your digital detox, even if you're the most reluctant disconnecter.

Keep occupied at all times

Make plans to see friends. Have a crossword to hand. Learn to knit. Whatever you do, don't leave yourself with an unoccupied void of time at any point in time.

Read more: The unbearable overload of inboxes: A new way after-work emailing is killing your productivity

Your diary should be bursting at the seams as you re-emerge squinting into the sunlight as the social butterfly you once were before the iPhone was invented.

Hobbies. Remember them? Take up bird watching. It's like the original Pokemon Go.

Reluctantly pick up one of those adult colouring books everyone's been banging on about. Maybe even get one about anatomy and the human brain to teach yourself something new. See! You can multitask offline too.

Anything to stop your mind from wandering towards thoughts of what's going on on your favourite social network. Which politician's made some sort of gaffe now? Have the Downing Street cats come to some sort of truce? Make sure you have plenty of options to hand at all times.

Change your perspective

A day is a pretty valuable amount of time - who would say no to adding an eighth day of the week?

But that's exactly the amount of time we spend connected to digital devices each week, texting, tweeting and, if you think about it, throwing away a lot of time with (mostly) very little to show for it at the end of the week.

Rather than thinking about what you're missing out on (as many detoxers are likely to feel, fyi, as well as cut off and lost), think about what you're gaining - the equivalent of an entire day with which you can do what you will.

Tech can actually help

If you know your willpower is just not strong enough for you to commit to a detox, much like quitting smoking, there are some aides you can fall back on for support.

iPhone users have the option of setting a quiet time for notifications. Great for bedtime, but also helpful if you're looking to reduce your reliance on devices at certain times of the day with some enforced quiet time.

Read more: Inbox anxiety: How to regain control of email

There are no end of apps created to limit your internet time (some top recommendations for Apple, Android and desktop here and here).

This kind of nudge instils the idea of a more mindful approach to technology when much of our daily internet activity is a result of mere mindless habit.

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