Why did you click to read this blog article? Was it the picture art? Was it the title? Was it a random choice? Or was it because of an undeniable voices saying that you’re, in fact, having an “obesity” with technology and you need a digital “diet” now?! Me and Daniel Sieberg, writer of The Digital Diet, guessing the latter. Well, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority. Let’s examine yourself more with these questions by Daniel in case you still not convince of your need for digital diet:
Do you sometimes feel the urge to pull out your smart phone when someone else is making a point in conversation? Have you ever realized you were texting while your child was telling you about her day at school and later couldn’t remember any of the details of her story? Have you ever felt that something hasn’t really happened until you post it on Facebook or tweet about it? Do you sometimes wonder if you could actually focus better in real life before all these gadgets invaded your space? Does a flashing red light on your BlackBerry or white light on your iPhone make your heart flutter? Does a ringing/vibrating cell phone interrupt and trump everything else? Do you feel anxious if you’re offline for any length of time? Do you find that your family can be in the same room but not talking to one another because you’re each interacting with a different device?
The Digital Diet: The 4-Step Plan to Break Your Tech Addiction and Regain Balance in Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011) by Daniel Sieberg is a treasure book for me. As for the content of this book, you must read it for yourself. In summary, the 4-Step Plan and subtopics are Re: Think (You Are What You Type, My Binary Binge, The Weight You Can’t See), Re: Boot (Detox, Your Virtual Weight Index, Surveying the Damage), Re: Connect (Mind and Body Dexterity 2.0, Upbeat While Downloading, This Time It’s Personal), and Re: Vitalize (Your Organic Blueprint, Sustainable Intake). Here I would like to quote at length Daniel’s 10 Digital Diet Rules to Live By:
1) Avoid tech turds. Don’t just dump your smart phone on the table at a restaurant or at home. Keep it in your pocket or purse unless it’s critical to have it out. If you must have it out, acknowledge its presence and inform your companions that you’ll check it only in an emergency. It’s a courtesy that you’d appreciate, too.
2) Live your life in the real world. If you must post a status update or tweet or blog about something in your life, then make sure it’s something you’d be willing to announce to anyone you know face to face.
3) Ask yourself whether you really need that gadget. There are tons of cool stuff in the tech world, and some of it might even improve your or your family’s life, but don’t feel compelled to buy every new toy that comes out. Before you make a digital purchase, question its necessity.
4) Seek tech support. Navigating the wilds of the wired world can sometimes be too much to handle alone. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s also okay to use technology to help “outsource self-control” when needed. Check out the many programs that can assist with budgeting your time online.
5) Detox Regularly. Once you’ve completed the Digital Diet, return to the detox phase one day a month. You can do this as a family, too. Use that day as a touchstone to remember what life can be like without technology.
6) Sleep device-free. Move your chargers out of the bedroom to another room in the house, and let your devices live there overnight. They need a break from you, too.
7) It’s either the human or the device. Work toward choosing people over the device. Yes, there’ll be times when it’s tricky or nearly impossible to choose between your smart phone or laptop and paying attention to your child or your loved one or your friend, but try to use your devices more on your own time rather than during the time you share with others.
8) Remember the “if /then” principle. Choices that you make in the virtual world can have an impact in the real one. For example, if you don’t find the time to put down the gadgets and log out once in a while, then you might lose the ability to appreciate the finer moments in life.
9) Structure your e-day. Work toward a finite beginning and end to your connectedness. In other words, dive into the gadgets and the e-mail and the texts only when you’ve composed yourself in the morning. When you’re ready to unplug in the evening, do it without reservation and focus on what—and who—is immediately around you.
10) Trust your instincts. If you think you might be spending too much time being a voyeur on social networks or playing online games or endlessly texting, then you probably are. That little voice knows when it’s all become too much. Listen to it. Pursue the ultimate goal of balance and awareness.
I would like to add one more rule.
Rule 11) First Thing in the Morning, Don’t Check Your Smartphone – Log In to God First.
Say a short prayer instead or read a chapter or few verses of the Bible and meditate on it.
Jesus first, not Facebook or E-mail. You can do all of it later.
Don’t eliminate technology, no. The goals are balance, awareness and take control.
Now, do you want to consider having Digital Diet this New Year?
Happy New Year 2015! Thanks for all my readers.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.