A few weeks ago we spoke about going Digital Through Disruption. This very moment is the most important time to digitise your business and communication channels. However, being the balanced folk we are at TEA, we also know that being 100% online all of the time can be damaging for creativity, productivity, inspiration and wellbeing. It’s incredibly important to have a healthy mix of being offline, and the TEA team are really passionate about making sure you reduce screen time where possible. We have put together essential advice on why you should do it, and how to maximise your business success through Digital Detox activities.
Create authentic valuable business relationships
Running a business is all about understanding people. It’s great that technology like Zoom and Google Hangouts are bringing us closer together, especially whilst most countries are still actively in lockdown. We see many businesses which are going digital, and this is great. However we do not want to lose sight of what really matters – that is; real, human and authentic relationships. We all know that non-verbal communication also impacts how we understand one another. The belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% are the actual words spoken. It’s easy to see how things can quickly be misconstrued via written word, or when not in person. We are personally geared to understand each other in this way and it can be fully appreciated when we are in person. Visibility outside of technology is going to be even more meaningful and our understanding of one another is going to be even further fine tuned on the other side.
We need to place a stronger value on conversations. Being fully immersed in digital activity can get you caught up in superficial interactions and could result in feeling overwhelmed and ironically enough, feeling disconnected. It can be easy to create a throw away culture through our innate desire to survive financially, and our willingness to be heard as a business, brand or individual. Technology can provide a great way to create more meaningful relationships, but we shouldn’t let it take away from the human experience or reduce the value of products or services. Having a Digital Detox will help you to identify how to make these connections stronger with or without the use of technology.
Tip: Go offline and mindmap what your customer base needs right now. Think of them as if they were family or friends. What can you do to strengthen this relationship or how can you make their life better through the communication you have with them? If you’re a chef – give recipes, if you are a life coach – give free advice. You get the gist, so tap into the immediate and long term needs of your customer base.
Accessibility vs being remarkable
The beauty of technology is that it makes things accessible and easy to obtain. You can literally have what you think you want in minutes. We often mistake accessibility with being something that you need, and what you prefer to have. What it actually gives you is the easy way out, something that is so easy that it has to be the number one choice. Why do Mcdonalds and other fast food outlets come first? It’s convenient, cheap and accessible, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you. It promotes a throwaway, ‘fast, cheap and easy’ way to do business which provides products and services which are not sustainable for the planet or profitability.
If you’re a sustainable business owner then you should be considering what makes your business remarkable. The secret ‘P’ that you should be considering is what Seth Godin calls the ‘Purple Cow’. Another great term for your USP’s, but focusing more on the innovation side of this. Seth speaks about the Purple Cow as being what makes you stand out from the other brown cows. It’s going to get you noticed and make you memorable.
Now consider this when looking at accessibility for a brand, does it provide sustainable growth and longevity? Pareto’s 80/20 rule applies to all customer bases and 20% of your customer base will provide 80% of your businesses revenue. These consumers come to you time and time again, not because you are accessible, but because you provide exactly what they need. Honing in on the 20% is going to lead to longevity because they are not looking to be with you for convenience, or a quick and easy fix. They are with you because what you provide is truly remarkable to them, and gives you that ‘Purple Cow’ edge. Switching off from technology will help you identify exactly what this is.
Tip: Consider what makes your business remarkable, that very special something that cannot be replicated and makes you memorable. You could speak to current customers or staff to gather feedback regarding this point.
Lead the way for innovation and creativity
Being online can really hinder creativity and innovation. When you are in the creative flow you need clarity and uninterrupted time to see the bigger picture (vision) and how you are going to get there (tactics).
One thing a Digital Detox can do is put a complete stop to these constant notifications, reminders, texts, calls and emails – this helps to position yourself into a creative state for innovation. This is highly important for creating new and unique ways for doing things, whether it’s for your products, services, promotion or how your team works.
We rely so heavily on technology for answers, the truth is that most innovations usually come as an idea at first, at seemingly random and spontaneous times. These ‘light bulb’ moments come when you are not forcing ideas, instead they come to you naturally or out of a moment of necessity. You may be familiar with this process called the creative flow. Famous musicians, sports players, artists, scientists and more talk about this flow state. Albert Einstein even spoke about it when he was discovering the law of relativity.
Csikszentmihalyi describes 7 characteristics of Flow:
- Complete involvement in the task, focus and concentration
- A sense of ecstasy and being outside of everyday reality
- Inner clarity and knowing what needs to be done and how to achieve it
- Knowledge that the activity is actually doable and that you have the adequate skills
- A sense of serenity without fear or worry and going beyond your ego
- Timelessness where hours pass by as if they were minutes
- Intrinsic motivation, where the activity becomes its own reward
What is also interesting is that the likelihood of a person entering a flow state depends upon the level of challenge and the skill the activity requires; compared to the participant’s current capabilities. “Inducing flow is about the balance between the level of skill and the size of the challenge at hand” (Nakamura et al., 2009)
- If an activity is too challenging for a person’s current skill set, this will lead to frustration, anxiety and stress.
- If an activity is not challenging enough for a person’s current skill set, this often leads to apathy or boredom.
- Flow happens when a person is involved or just at the border between the two, where they have the skills to produce a new and useful outcome, and are pushing themselves to develop them further.
Tip: Think of a time when you were working on something for work or personal reasons and you were in this ‘creative flow’. Try hone in on the way you felt at the time. Which factors were present? What were the perfect ingredients which allowed you to access the flow state?
Maximise your multi channel marketing
One of the worst things you can do for your business is to place all your eggs in one basket. Only focusing on digital means to keep your relationships harnessed with your customers and it is a narrow-minded way to conduct business. For example; If something happened with your website, do you have a back-up in mind? How can people order over the phone? Giving yourself a break from technology will help you identify more creative ways to fluently review your processes, systems and strategy.
Remember people will keep in contact with you through their preferred platforms and digital marketing channels will likely be part of this. Can you also think of something outside of the box which will make you memorable as a business? Authentic relationships with your customers is the reason they will come back.
As a business you should consider that Digital Detox and reducing screen time will become a long term trend that we will see more of. Millennials seem to be making considerable strides with this. This generation is already learning from the ‘sins of their parents’, or at least their big brothers and sisters. When it comes to over-connection: 17% of US millennials made “aiming to reduce their screen time” as one of their top five priorities for 2018 (Marketing to Millennials – US, 2018), whilst 56% of US 18-23s tell Mintel “I am trying to reduce the time I spend on social media”- considerably ahead of the average of 44%. This trend can no longer be ignored.
Tip: Consider all the marketing channels you have at your fingertips, whether they are digital or not. Then consider your next campaign, product launch or service that you can do to maximise a multi platform and channel communication plan.
Be productive, work smarter and efficiently
One of the largest benefits from having a Digital Detox, is being able to work effectively and more efficiently. The benefits to productivity is tenfold, check our latest blog piece HERE to delve deeper into how you can do this.
Many people think that slaving away on a computer for 14 hours straight is a badge for being an entrepreneur. You are wrong, it’s not being smart, it’s highly ineffective and inefficient. Work smarter, get a better work life balance, and make your business a success by being smarter with your time.
Turn notifications off and work in sprints of 90 minute sets with breaks. Set a time for yourself without interruptions to increase your focus. You will get a lot more done without the constant interruptions of calls, texts, emails and other social media notifications. Working smarter in this way also means you are not burning yourself out or working for the sake of it.
Tip: Turn your notifications off and write your key objectives right now, using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound). Don’t use a computer, literally write them. Taking pen to paper uses a different part of your brain, so it’s really important you do this. Then start to list the ideas of what you can do right now, how to get there, and start achieving these goals.
Better for wellbeing and staying inspired
We all know that excessive screen time is not good for health, physiologically and mentally. Humans are supposed to keep their bodies moving, so sitting for hours, for days on end is not good for us physically. Screen (blue) light has been proven to negatively impact our circadian rhythm and also impact our quality of sleep. It’s highly recommended to spend time away from screens in order to keep balance with your circadian rhythm, especially when it comes to winding down during the evening.
Screen time is not great for getting inspired. You can easily get lost in the ether of the internet, down a wormhole of content that is not relevant or important to you. Did you really need to go through a random person’s photos of their 🐕dog? Probably not.
In a study by the University of Ottawa, too much screen time was shown to negatively affect cognitive learning including memory, language skills and attention span in children. This shows the obvious effects it can have on adults if they continue to be on screens for longer than the required amount of time.
Latest research to cement the link between youth depression and excessive social media usage is University College London’s Millennium Cohort Study, published in January 2019. This follows 41% of US teens telling Hill Holiday that social media has made them “feel anxious, sad or depressed” and 57% of UK 16-25s saying to the Youth Index that they worry about their body image. We now in the era of “comparisonitis” where 62% of all UK people feel inadequate when they compare their lives to others online. They say that this comparison is the thief of joy, and we agree.
Even technology giants are finding ways to make users more conscious of their screen time with Apple’s screen time monitor and night mode option. Google have recently launched their ‘Google Envelope’ to discourage individuals from using their phones. In conjunction with the Play Store app, the envelope greatly reduces what you can do with your phone by blocking the screen entirely. You can only make and receive calls or check the time. The purpose? To go as long as possible without having to check your phone.
Companies are now organising Digital Detox holidays and retreats to keep individuals off technology and return them back to their human potential. This trend is here to stay and we are going to see it become more prevalent for businesses.
Tip: Can you give yourself a Digital Detox daily? Allocate a time when you can participate in activities every single day which involves you being away from a screen. Try this during the week for at least 2 hours a day to boost your creativity, concentration and focus.
Now more than ever, we need to create balance between being online and offline. Try some of these activities. We would love to hear how your productivity increases. Do you have any other tips for people who may be considering a Digital Detox? Share your thoughts below.