Does Going Offline Make You Smarter?
Where are you right now? Hunched over your computer or smart phone?
When was the last time you went offline?
Though there are many benefits to “being online,” “offline” time is good for you, as well. I bet you’ve spent more time looking deeply into a display than you have looking at your surroundings and loved-ones today.
Maybe it’s time for communications blackout.
Our team has put together the following resource on the positive effects spending time unplugged and offline:
Now, if possible: please step away from the internet.
But first, share this with your friends that spend way too much time online.
Why Going Offline Makes You Smarter, Healthier, and More Attractive
Did you know, according to a University of California at San Diego study, three out of five people spend more free time with technology than they do with their spouse? Or that 81% are willing to interrupt conversations and meals to check their devices? Shocking, isn’t it? As connected as we all are these days, there’s still plenty reason to “unplug” from technology… and it’s not as hard to do as you might think.
Reasons to Unplug
Allow Yourself to De-stress
- Kansas State University researchers found we need downtime after work, away from technology to allow ourselves to recharge.
- Draw a clear line between home and work life.
- Make sure your employer and co-workers know your availability. Don’t allow work to seep into home life.
- According to the Center for American Progress:
- 86% of U.S. men and 67% of women work more than 40 hours a week
- American families worked an average of 11 hours more per week in 2006 than they did in 1979.
Risk of Addiction and Mental Health Issues
- A Harvard University study reports 12,000,000 to 20,000,000 Americans “have at least a mild Internet addiction.”
- Symptoms include:
- “Preoccupation” with the Internet
- Withdrawal when the Internet is no longer available
- Tolerance: Needing more time online to achieve the same “high.”
- Between “5 to 10% of people online are described as suffering from overuse of the Internet or being ‘web dependent.’”
- People who are web dependent:
- Lose interest in other activities
- May have several unsuccessful attempts to stop using the Internet as often
- Use the Internet to improve their mood
- Internet Use Disorder (IUD) may impact daily life by:
- Disrupting real life relationships
- Creating difficulty accomplishing other tasks such as laundry or homework
- Negatively affecting mood when Internet access is not available
You’re not “multitasking.”
- Multi-tasking gives the illusion of getting more done.
- However, studies show multi-taskers are not getting more done.
- 70% of study participants considered themselves “above average” multi-taskers.
- The 25% who did the best on the multi-tasking test presented in the study were the ones who were rated “least likely to multitask and are most likely to do one thing at a time.”
- The study shows people multitask because they have difficulty focusing on one task at a time.
Avoid Sleep Disturbances
- Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center found that the light from using a tablet PC for just two hours lowers melatonin production by about 22%, which could make it a lot harder to get to sleep afterwards.
Have More Sex
- Britons are now going to sleep an average of 90 minutes later than they did 10 years ago.
- 46% of people spend the time under the covers, online.
- 15% of people say it leads them to having less sex with their partners.
How Unplugging Helps Your Health
More “You” Time
- A TIME magazine study of 5,000 people revealed:
- 84% of participants could not go more than 24 hours without their mobile device.
- 25% admit they check their phones every half hour.
- That’s a up to a dozen times a day!
Less Muscle Pain
- Studies show eyestrain and other eye muscle stress in 50 to 90% of those who spend their days working behind a computer.
- While chronic eye strain won’t do anything to permanently harm your vision, it can cause problems with:
- Focusing the vision
- Itchy, watery, or dry eyes
- The way you sit in your desk chair can misalign your spine and cause back and neck pain.
- Invest in ergonomic office furniture.
Protect Your Skin
- Using your laptop on your legs too much can lead to Toasted Skin Syndrome (TSS).
- Permanent spots, burns, and rash-like markings and inflammation.
- Teens who use the Internet too much are nearly twice more likely to become depressed than those who do not.
- Those who suffer from compulsive Internet usage (CIU), a lack of the ability to control their Internet usage, are more likely to feel depressed and lonely.
- They’re also more likely to have inadequate face-to-face communication.
Tips to Help You Unplug
- Avoid checking your phone within an hour of waking, and within the hour before you go to bed.
- Gradually increase the amount of time you do other things before you check your social media accounts.
Move apps away from your home screen.
- This way you don’t see them every time you look at your phone, and have to make more of a conscious effort to get to them.
Set designated times to engage in social media.
- Choose a block of time in the morning or the evening to check into social media. Limit it to 15 to 20 minutes.
Turn off notifications.
- Notifications will prompt you to check social media when you hear them… and that quick “let me check” minute can turn into hours.
It takes time to form new habits.
- University College London research suggests it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit.
- After those 66 days, it is as much of a habit as it’s ever going to become.
- Habits can be formed anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days.
- There’s no clear cut “habit formation” time frame.
- Some habits will take longer to form than others.
- Data suggests some people may be “habit resistant.”
- Missing a single day of your new habit, does not appear to impact your chances of forming a new habit.
Things You Can Do Instead of Checking Your Email… Again
In the five to 10 minutes it takes you to check your email, you can:
- Practice deep breathing: 10 minutes
- Listen to one of your favorite songs: three to five minutes
- Analyze/Prioritize your to-do list: five to 10 minutes
- Stretch: Less than five minutes.
- Make your grocery list: five to 10 minutes
- Take a walk: 10 minutes
- Brush and floss your teeth: five minutes, two for brushing, three for flossing
- Do Ten Pressups: one to two minutes
- Find a new recipe to try for dinner: five to ten minutes
How That Time Adds Up
A study by Orbit Complete found that a good smile is 69% more attractive than makeup. How do you keep a good smile? 5 minutes a day spent brushing and flossing your teeth.
You can’t lose weight checking your inbox but walking just five minutes a day, at a 4 mph pace adds up to burning an extra:
- 25 calories per day
- 175 calories per week
- ~700 calories a month
- 9,100 calories a year
According to MensHealth – 10 pressups every hour is a more effective way to build muscle than 100 in one go. Film star Tom Hardy bulked up for the mixed martial art film Warrior in this way using “signalling” – short workouts spread throught the day.
- The Benefits of Unplugging from Technology – socialmoms.com
- Feeling Overconnected? 5 Reasons To Unplug From Technology After Work – forbes.com
- Is America Overworked? – thefiscaltimes.com
- Web Depdendency-Internet Addiction by the Numbers – netaddictionrecovery.com
- Internet and Computer Addiction – helpguide.org
- Misperceptions of Multitasking – psychcentral.com
- Tablet Computer Use at Night Disturbs Sleep – thedoctorwillseeyounow.com
- Too Much Tweeting to Woo: How Using Facebook and Twitter in Bed Is Ruining Our Sex Lives – dailymail.co.uk
- 9 Reasons You Need to Unplug – fitnessmagazine.com
- Can Chronic Eyestrain Cause Blindness? – goaskalice.columbia.edu
- Teen Depression Linked to Internet Overuse – health.usnews.com
- Can Internet Usage Result In Depression And Loneliness? – medicalnewstoday.com
- 5 Quick and Easy Tips for Unplugging – huffingtonpost.com
- It Takes HOW Long to Form a Habit?: Research Shows a Curved Relationship Between Practice and Automaticity – peterhbrownpsych.com
- 17 Productive Ways to Spend 5 Minutes Instead of Checking Your Emails (Again) – fastcompany.com
- 55 Productive Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes – getbuttonedup.com
- 25 Things To Do with a 5 Minute Break! – bitrebels.com
- Just 5 More Minutes: The Calories That Extra Time Burns – fitsugar.com
- McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items – nutrition.mcdonalds.com
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference – ndb.nal.usda.gov
- Tom Hardy’s Warrior Workout – menshealth.co.uk
Download this infographic.