Eliminating Device Dependency

device dependency

It’s that time of year, again. Last January, I took a month-long break from my devices and the internet (with a few exceptions). I wasn’t sure if I would attempt it again this year since it is quite a commitment. But there are so many benefits from a digital fast that I can’t resist.  Here are just a few that I am anticipating as I reduce my device dependency:

  • More time to focus on the projects I have on my to-do list
  • Improve my sleep/wake cycle
  • Regain control of distractions/interruptions, and improve my focus.

More time to focus on the projects I have on my to-do list

I have some major writing projects that I’ve been pushing down the road. I’ve been revising my first book for re-release. There are, of course, other books in the works. Plus, I would really like to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April, but that means writing 56 blog posts (for 2 blogs). I know that if I really buckle down, I can make major headway on these things. The idea of accomplishing them is really exciting to me and worth the effort.

Improve my sleep/wake cycle by eliminating device dependency

Between my husband’s wacky sleep schedule and mine, we are like a couple of Jacks in the box, up and down all night, then oversleeping in the morning. But, I have some goals that include getting up on time. To learn more about how our devices impact our sleep, check out this post from the National Sleep Foundation.

Regain control of distractions/interruptions

I am a compulsive multi-tasker. I know that it’s not healthy and that I could get far more done by focusing on one thing at a time. Yet, I still find myself playing a game on my Kindle, texting my daughter on my iPhone and watching a show with my husband on Netflix—all at the same time! Well, sort of. The truth is that we can’t do two things at once. Our brain needs to switch from one task to another and it isn’t that easy. It’s like a freight train grinding to a halt to change direction on the tracks. Multitasking is incredibly inefficient. It’s counter-intuitive, I know, but it’s also the truth. By eliminating device dependency, I hope to gain more focus,

To learn more about the benefits of reducing your device dependency, check out this post.

This year I’m doing a modified digital detox

What does that mean? Last year, I learned a lot from my time away from my devices. The goal was to continue to implement some of the habits that worked well during that time. Unfortunately, like last year’s diet, those intentions crashed and burned by mid-March.

This year, I will be choosing some of the things that worked well for me. These might be different than the things that would benefit you. This is a very personal experience. I recommend that everyone learn how to use their devices rather than allowing their devices to use them.

Here are some of the guidelines I set for myself last year.

I am going a little easier on myself.

Email – I will unsubscribe from as many emails as possible, ahead of time. Then, I’ll check my email at 3 appointed times each day: 10 am, 4 pm, and 9 pm. I will allow myself 15 minutes each time to answer emails. Last year I found that was more than enough time to take care of everything. Yet it’s not uncommon for me to compulsively check my inbox.

Cell Phone – Again, I will be putting my phone away and will check it 3 times a day. I’ll remove all social media apps and notifications (except talk and text). I rarely talk or text with anyone outside of my immediate family, anyway.

No Social Media – This might be one of the things I am most looking forward to. I love seeing what friends and family are up to, but all too quickly this devolves into cute cat videos. I love a good cat (or dog) video as much as the next gal, but it doesn’t get a book written.

Netflix – One show/night. Last year, the Netflix discussion was a sore point with my husband. We love watching our shows before bed. I’ve decided that this year we will watch one show and then switch to a book. I gave him The President is Missing, for his birthday, so we’re really looking forward to it.

Kindle Fire – Okay, now we are getting serious! I can read books on my Kindle. Yep…That’s it. Just books. This is actually a good thing. I got a lot of books read last year when I wasn’t frittering away my time online and playing games. This is also at the root of my multi-tasking, which I look forward to reducing along with my device dependency.

Video Games – Less than an hour/night. This is probably the biggest change from last year. I didn’t find eliminating video games that I play on my laptop to be beneficial. It was just painful! Am I addicted? Possibly. I find a little time playing a game on my laptop to be incredibly relaxing. Last year I felt like the benefits of eliminating this were outweighed by the downsides. So, I will limit this time to under an hour, but I won’t eliminate it altogether.

Here is what I learned from last year’s digital detox

Over the next few weeks…

I will share a bit about 4 main sources of device dependency:

  • Cell Phones
  • Email
  • Surfing the Internet
  • Social Media

My hope is that my readers might consider modifying how they incorporate one or more of them into their lives. Don’t worry. As someone who loves all of these things, I will be balanced in my presentation of them.

Ave you ever considered cutting back on one of these? If so, which would you choose, and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather EricksonThe Ericksons

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.




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6 comments on “Eliminating Device Dependency

Since much of what I do is on digital devices, even your modified plan wouldn’t work for me. I even teach online! I sure would love the benefits you listed, though.

Hi Jacqui, I should have specified that work-related tasks are okay. I’m doing my digital minimalism month differently this year and I’ve learned a few things about what works for me and what doesn’t. You have to be able to work. Also, I know a lot of people who can really keep their digital life in perspective. I have a feeling you are one of those people. Look at all you get done every week. It’s impressive!

There is something to be said for winding down with a bit of a game. I know it helps me. But, yes, it’s so easy to get sucked in and four hours go by…

Hi Liz. Last year I banned video games, but this year I removed the ban. I feel that gaming in the evening (in moderation) has more benefits for me that not gaming. Like you, I really need that wind-down time.

You gave me a lot to think about. I was just thinking about how overwhelming my email box is. I’ve a thousand emails because I got busy with the holidays and stopped checking it. so now I have a hot mess on my hands. And I’m trying to figure out how to get control of it.

Hi Nancy, I hope your holidays were wonderful. One way I reign in my inbox is by batching. I do a search of emails by sender and delete the ones that I really don’t need to read (without even opening them). This doesn’t work for personal emails but there are plenty you can get away with deleting. Then, your inbox won’t be so overwhelming. Tonight, I’m catching up with my blog comments, so I can sympathize. Bless you!

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