It’s a pretty common problem; the addiction to our smartphones. Here at Millican, we’ve been guilty of spending too much time scrolling through social media, hitting refresh and waiting for the next ‘Like’. So to start 2018 on the right foot we challenged ourselves to a Digital Detox. From Jan 8th, for 7 days, Steph, Jeff and Bex exchanged social media for free time to spend however they want. Here's how they got on...
Jeffrey Bowman - Creative Director
Everything went quiet. My phone, my mind. It felt like I had space to breathe again, I wasn’t being pulled into stories and other peoples lives. It was great, I didn’t have to form an opinion about the news, or what other people were doing. It meant I could focus more on what I was doing, I was present and living a lot more in the ‘now’ than I do. By the end of the week, it felt normal, right, clear and easy. I think I’ve learnt a lot from the experience, I’ve gained a better understanding of what distracts me and the extra pressure I put on myself from being plugged in, and I know now for the future how to stop. To silence the noise and filter out the interruptions. Writing this makes me want to live this way forever… sadly I’ve refreshed Instagram twice while writing this, it’s just a vivid memory of the quietest week of my life.
Stephanie Bradshaw - Marketing Manager
At first, I didn’t actively notice a change in myself. It was a sub-conscious shift to a more focused state of mind. At work I spent the 5-minute breaks I’d usually allow myself a scroll on Instagram, answering a few quick emails, organising my lists or simply staring out of the window. I felt a lot more productive and less distracted. I was allowing my mind to wander, but only into the peripheral of the tasks at hand, so when my mind returned I was ready and refreshed. It wasn't until turning social media back on again that I realised how even a few minutes of scrolling can cause my mind to get so tangled up in intense FOMO (fear of missing out) and comparing myself to my peers, that it can take a while to properly come back down to earth and to be satisfied with where you’ve landed.
The experience has allowed me to realise where social media can be a positive in my life and when it should stay firmly switched off. At work, before bed, or first thing in the morning are now a firm no, no. Communicating with friends and family I don’t get to see as much as I would like is where I can see the benefits (that and 'animals doing people things' memes), but I have tried to reduce the pressure on myself to constantly be in contact, your best friends will still be there when you switch back on and it also gives you much more to catch up on.
Rebecca Slack - Graphic Designer
When social media is part of your job and you personally give so much time to it on your own platforms, it can become more of a harmful habit than a useful one. Updating my daily life (and scrolling everyone else's) had become second nature, I knew I needed to disconnect to reconnect, so the challenge was welcomed.
I reconnected to my life almost instantly, I became more present. I was the more mindful me, the more balanced me, the more positive me. I gained a better perspective and had a better connection to myself. It gave me time to think about what I was doing instead of being wrapped up in what everyone else was doing. Sad but true.
We should all disconnect more often. Back to the job.