How to Digital Detox for the New Year

While the accumulation of digital junk by year-end is inevitable, there are several steps that you can take that will lead you down the path to a complete and fulfilling digital detox.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution I think we can all agree on for 2018: Do a Digital Detox. There’s an overwhelming amount of digital junk that I’m sure we’ve all accumulated this past year. From a bunch of unused apps on our devices, bad selfies to a bunch unread emails—I’m sure most of us just avoid doing a digital detox that we so badly need.

While the accumulation of digital junk by year-end is inevitable, there are several steps that you can take that will lead you down the path to a complete and fulfilling digital detox. You can do the detox all in one day, but I suggest doing this over the course of a week (or longer) so that each step is done in its entirety.

If you need a little more than this simple digital detox, I suggest you read my Complete Digital Clean-Up Checklist for the New Year. Consider this digital detox as your first New Year’s resolution. Here’s to a digital detoxed New Rear!

1) Delete

The first step in the digital detox for the New Year is to delete all of your digital junk. Deleting stuff feels so GOOD. Mentally, you feel the weight of all the junk being lifted. Grab your phone, iPad, laptop, etc. and delete all the apps you haven’t used in the last 4 months. Even if you think you’ll use it in the future, delete it. You can always re-download the app if need be. In the meantime, you’re freeing up much-needed space on your device.

Once you’ve deleted all of your unused apps, you’ve likely warmed up to the idea of deleting things. This is a good time to now go ahead and delete your emails and to unsubscribe from any unwanted mailing lists.

Now that you’re a bonafide deleting-machine, it’s time for the most challenging, yet totally doable step—delete all unnecessary photos and other media. This includes all your bad selfies, random photos/videos, accidental photos, photos of exes, screenshots, memes, get rid of them all. These days, most iPhones and Android devices have the option of backing up media to the cloud. So with that in mind, you already have a copy somewhere.

2) Unfollow

Unfortunately, you can’t delete people on social media the same way you can delete files on your device. Luckily, you can unfollow or “mute” people. I mean, they still exist in the digital world, but at least they’re no longer in your daily timeline.

Open Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to unapologetically unfollow, unfriend or unlike any person, place or thing that you don’t want in your detoxed New Year.  In addition to unfollowing, you might want to take this as an opportunity to unblock anyone you’ve blocked this year (hopefully, they got the picture) and just delete their number from your life. No hard feelings!

3) Organize

Now that you’ve deleted and unfollowed, it’s time to get organized. Gather apps into various groups based on how you use them. On my phone, I’ve grouped Instagram, Photos, and Snapchat into a group called “Photo”. Simple as that. On your computer,  you can also group files into folders and label them accordingly.

4) Unplug

To complete the digital detox for the New Year, you’ll need to take some time off from the digital world. Now, I’m not saying you need to completely remove yourself, just take more time than you normally would away from your device. Do this at least for a week. If you’re normally on your phone during your daily commute, take this time to read a physical book or, look around at the world around you. Give your eyes a rest from the almighty screen and unplug.

Marisa Blair is a front-end web developer and graphic designer based in Toronto. When she's not writing for her blog xopixel.com, she's making design & tech videos for her YouTube channel.

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