The shift to WFH aside from its undoubtedly positive impact on flexibility brought overexposure to information. With over 5 billion daily watch videos counts only on YouTube and over 500 million people using Instagram Stories every day, we always have content at our fingertips, and living and working in the remote world can make it sticky.

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Information overload also referred to as knowledge obesity and information fatigue results from challenges related to a virtual environment. These problems (the necessity to process an excessive amount of information as fast as possible) existed in pre-pandemic times but with a shift to full remote, they protruded more turning some of us into digital hoarders.

Being that there is a never-ending information stream and we have not found truly effective means against the infodemic yet, one must create a system of navigating it and learning to reshape an environment, or be drowned by any upcoming wave.

Leveraging technology to empower your work with the possibilities of seamless collaboration is a great way to optimize routine and reduce stress but the question of achieving a healthful and sustainable digital detox still prevails on a daily agenda.

Below, there are the 'detoxifying' remedies that, according to productivity experts:

  • work for 'timely unplug'
  • save us from entering the minefield of burnout
  • help to maintain work life balance at best
  • create time for positive and productive habits.  

How To Unplug: Proven Practices By Best Productivity Gurus

5 gurus share their views on digital hygiene and signs you need to detox that we turned into in a list of accountability-approved practices for you to try today. Learning from them, you will master the art of unplugging in easy steps.  

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Create A Time Sanctuary

The Author. Dave Crenshaw a public speaker and a time management expert. He is an author of a best-selling book 'The Myth of Multitasking: How "Doing It All" Gets Nothing Done'.

Studies have shown that on average, each person loses about 28 percent of the workday due to interruptions and inefficiencies. Multitasking—or switchtasking—is probably the biggest culprit.

The Idea. Dave Crenshaw offers to think of creating a time sanctuary that will be a kind of individual 'mental shelter' for all those who feel an assaulting impact of the digital world feeding us on the information in a non-stop mode.

The information comes in text messages, emails, voicemails, phone notifications. Remember that you are not conditioned to respond to every little stimulation or react to all the push notifications like they are a matter of importance.

The Related Practice. Avoid multitasking however seductive it might seem. Give attention to one thing at a time. Remind yourself that excess of information may provoke the same reaction of confusion as to the lack of information so overstretching and trying to focus on multiple things will be counterproductive, to say the least.

Also, consider unplugging from technology as a task too that you also need to allocate time to before it turns into a habit (You can start with something as simple as taking a no-tech walk).  

The idea behind a time sanctuary pertains to debunking multitasking. Being connected to a device while trying to give quality time to your loved ones is counterproductive and, in actuality, leads to depletion of attention and focus.  

Achieve A Clarification Level

The Author. Known as the author of the best-selling book "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" and GTD, a namesake method, David Allen pays equal attention to the questions of increasing productivity and maintaining work life balance.

Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.

The Idea. By David Allen's observations, people feel most productive before the vacation because it is the traditional time for 'renegotiating', which we do by closing tasks for obtaining more clarity on the overall picture. Why not transfer this yearly practice into more regular and make it a habit practiced weekly?  

The Related Practice. To be able to close tasks more efficiently, break them down into manageable sub-tasks, never overload your memory with too many tasks at a time because your mind registers all the planned tasks as the ones it must perform immediately.

Closing up creates a sense of accomplishment and lets you enjoy not only the break time itself but also the sense of clarity for seeing your own matters of priority and ease practicing digital detox in a tech-overloaded environment.  

Make Simplicity Your Core

The Author. Leo Babauta, the author of the book "The Power of Less" and a creator of zen habits with two million readers, is well-known for his authorship of a habit-building system for achieving a happier and more productive life. The 'detox' component of the system is one of its essentials as it projects to all the areas of existence and determines its direction.

Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.

The Idea. Go online with intent. Strive for being clear and concise. Your mind requires a simple presentation of experience however complex and ample it is. This way, you create foundations for moving forward with ease. Achieving simplicity is linked to setting a time frame for work and work-related activities whether it is search for information or performing a creative-orientated task.

The Related Practice.  For maintaining balance and creating purpose, identify what three things are important for you on this day. And then there comes the trickiest part: you need to learn to say no to anything outside the daily list to be able to complete work and, thus, create time for having rest. In the end, it all comes to training two opposite skills, to focus and ignore.

Befriend Your Priorities

The Author. Being a creator of the concept of Time Management Ninja, Craig Jarrow (who previously had a big experience in military service) focuses on time management and productivity tools. By his own words:

The military is all about discipline. Doing things you are supposed to do and not slacking off. The military is not big on procrastination. Many of these lessons influenced my thoughts on deadlines, goal-setting, and reaching your potential.

The Idea. Time management should be simple and easy. Otherwise, it will take time rather than save it. Setting goals and meeting deadlines are important but allocating time to disconnect is an equally important priority because switching between rest and work is the productivity-paving way that creates sustainable results and builds resilience.  

The Related Practice. To put anxiety about the looming deadline at rest and reduce stress about work, we need to prioritize switching between rest and work and do it as diligently as focusing on work itself. The sure way to achieve it is to polish time management skills and ritualize both a habit to focus and a habit to relax.  

Minimize Your Digital Needs

The Author. Apart from being a fluent speaker in 4 languages including Polish, English, Spanish and German, Michael Sliwinski is a founder of Nozbe, a task management app, and an author on productivity at Nozbe’s Blog.

I don't think life has to be so binary here - you don't either create great products or you spend time with your family...I love working on Nozbe. But I also love my family. And am not choosing between the two - I'm trying to build my discipline to be able to both work and spend time with my loved ones.

The Idea. His top advice narrows down to choosing a simplified rather than complicated way of doing things, and we sign for it wholeheartedly. What can you do today to detoxify successfully? Kondo everything. Minimizing your needs is one of the most productive approaches as it lets you declutter both your physical and digital environment, and aims at unlocking your true potential.  

The Related Practice. Build the routine with the focus on distributing time between work and life evenly. One of the effective techniques to achieve it is to say 100% yes to whatever requires your concentration in a work-related environment and say 100% yes to a break time by planning non-digital activities.

This way, you set a minimalistic yet healthy routine and build your day around increasing work life balance rather than reacting to any distraction that always comes with an 'interest cost' on energy and time it consumes.  

Top Advice List

Following these easy steps, you will be able to unplug on time, detoxify for burnout prevention and avoid energy depletion.

  • Create a time sanctuary (time for yourself) to guard the boundary on your life
  • Close the tasks daily or mark the status of the tasks you perform to create a sense of accomplishment
  • Set time frames on tasks you do
  • Build a habit to switch between work and rest mindfully
  • Declutter your physical and digital environment to minimize your needs and keep a clear view on your work and life.  

Bottom Line

With the new year still on a kickstart, it can be a perfect time to make digital detox your resolution and set new routines of time management and time tracking for achieving a healthier, informationally detoxified lifestyle. Allocating time for following the advice above can correct any imbalance.

Why do you need to explore the digital detox techniques and learn to unplug? For one thing, access to information that has grown exponentially can come up at a high cost for mental wellbeing, and the practice of digital detox is a sure way of preventing negative consequences of information overload.

For the other, it is a healthy coping mechanism that allows one to gain time, replenish energy and increase personal productivity. Under stress, start with reminding yourself that despite any hurdles, you have control over your breathing and vision, which means you can just breathe in, breathe out, close your eyes, and switch on the detox mode.  

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Mastering the art of unplugging with proven techniques from productivity experts will surely help to readjust and keep up with a more mindful pace of the world that is constantly changing and forces us to slow down.