Our devices started out as gadgets to make our lives easier, but they have now become so all-consuming for many people. Here are some tips on how you can reclaim your time and mental focus.

Digital detoxes are becoming increasingly popular as people become more aware of the negative effects that too much screen time can have on their mental and physical health. A digital detox is a period of time when you abstain from using electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.

If you’re thinking about going on a digital detox, here are some tips to help you along:

  • Set a goal. What do you hope to achieve by going on a digital detox? Do you want to reduce stress, improve your sleep or simply have more time for other activities? Once you know what your goal is, you can start to plan your detox.
  • Choose a time period. How long do you want to go on your digital detox? Some people do a digital detox for a day or two, while others may choose to do it for a week or even longer. Choose a time period that is realistic for you and your lifestyle. Doing a digital detox may also be the perfect way to start your time off.
  • Tell your friends and family. Let your friends and family know that you’ll be unavailable for a certain period of time because you’re going on a digital detox. This will help them understand why you aren’t responding to their messages or calls.
  • Find a replacement activity. What will you do with your time instead of using electronic devices? Plan some activities that you enjoy, such as reading, spending time with loved ones or going for walks in nature.
  • Be prepared for challenges. It can be difficult to go from using electronic devices all the time to not using them at all. Be prepared for the challenges you may face, such as boredom, anxiety or FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Leave your phone outside of your bedroom at night. This will help you avoid checking your phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
  • Turn off notifications for all of your apps. This will help you avoid distractions throughout the day.
  • Set aside specific times for checking email and social media. Don’t check your email or social media first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
  • Connect with people in person. Make time for activities that involve spending time with loved ones face to face, such as going to dinner, playing games or going for walks together.

If you find that you’re struggling to get going with a digital detox on your own, there are apps and other resources available to help you. Check out the ones below to get you started on reclaiming your time from your devices:

  • Moment tracks your screen time and helps you set goals to reduce it. It also has features that help you stay present and focused, such as a “focus mode” that blocks distracting apps and websites.
  • Flipd helps you take breaks from your phone by locking it for a set period of time. You can choose to block all apps or just specific ones.
  • Detox: Procrastination Blocker allows you to schedule times when specific apps are blocked. This can be helpful for reducing your screen time or for staying focused on your work or studies.
  • Freedom allows you to block websites and apps on your computer and phone. You can also schedule times when specific websites and apps are blocked.