It has to be said I'm very lucky with what I get to do for a living. I am 100% creative through and through with my day-to-day work as a designer and my second job as a photographer and outdoors journalist but with both roles comes a lot of digital - sitting on a computer, using social media and so on.
Some weeks I can literally become blind to what is around me due to the fast paced turn around involved, from video to website amends, back to a product shoot, followed by a small essay covering a product or trip.
So when I can I try to switch off and I mean completely off!
However you don't need to go get lost in the outdoors and up a mountain to be off the grid as such, it’s easier than you'd think but it does require self discipline so my tips to having a weekend away and some time away from the screen:
- Location - As I mentioned above you don't need to go far to get off the grid, I spent the weekend down on the Jurassic coast and I had 4G signal most of the weekend but the main trick is, keep busy.
We spent in down on the beach during the storm, museums, National Trust and eating, plus plenty of walking. Putting your phone on loud in your rucksack will help you not have the desire to grab it in your pocket as its out of easy reach. Keeping it on loud just helps if there is an emergency.
- If the location isn't full of activities to do (You haven't look hard enough) bring a good board game or fun crafty activities to do. We spent one evening making clay models and cooking fun little recipes before we knew it; it was 11:30pm and neither of us had even noticed our phones or TV on in the background.
- The ultimate and best! (In my opinion). Get some fresh air, get out, walk, explore, get muddy just have fun.
Others might say leave your phone at home but for safety reasons I actually advise against this, leave it in your rucksack instead.
- Pick a bnb or hotel with no Wi-Fi or go one better. Try camping?
Mad I know! But with no internet the temptation goes almost immediately. If you can't connect or its difficult to you quickly lose interest.
Camping is even better, limited electricity, fresh air, outdoors and great for individuals, couples or families to spend some quality time with each other.
Families especially if you are chasing after kids, monitoring what they are watching online or on their phones. It's a great opportunity to teach them life skills too - cooking, navigation (Without a SatNav) or its even a great for you to try something new - Horse riding, canoeing, photography even?
- Setting an out of office before you go out for the weekend.
Now this might sound odd but switching this on might be enough of a trigger to trick you into not checking your emails.
- This one is a little more drastic but if you really are struggling to switch off, delete the apps off your phone or block all notifications.
Over a year ago now I deleted all my social media apps off my phone and it was the best thing I ever did. My phone is now actually just a phone and occasionally a SatNav. I noticed an instance uplift in my mood without the pressure of keeping up with others or feeling down about competitors or others trips that I couldn't make, not to mention the amount of time I gained back.
- Leaving the gadgets at home. I leave my laptop behind but I make one except to this - My camera.
This is the one gadget I will refuse to not give up as it keeps me outdoors and I can get lost in the moment of photography for hours just I won't backup or download any of the content to a computer until I get home. Risky but fun.
*Some of my photos I took from around Durdle door at the weekend.*
- Don't touch your phone in the evening (At least an hour before bed).
This will help you sleep better as your mind calms down, rather than looking at a bright LED screen.
Equally don't touch your phone for the half an hour in the morning. Put your phone in a bag or downstairs and use an alarm clock.
- With Spring fast approaching and the big Spring clean a good option to help clean up some of the items you don't use is to list all your gadgets and items you have, list them in order of when you last used them or rough time frame. Anything you haven't touched in 6 months give to charity, anything within 3 months rate on use and last month, keep.
You will find less is more and really appreciate those few items.
I myself have done this recently and cut down my cupboards and belongs drastically to what I need, it's made going away a hell of a lot easier to do.