Give yourself the gift of a digital detox this Christmas

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CC BY 2.0 Daniel Go

Set clear intentions for your digital relationships and you'll have a healthier, happier, more productive year.

In early 2015 Toronto writer Christina Crook published a book called The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. The book, which has been very well received and was reviewed for TreeHugger here, has touched countless lives over the past months, encouraging people to let go of their devices and focus on real-life experiences and relationships instead.

Crook has now released “6 steps to a healthier and more production 2016” – a goal that is safe to assume we all share. Her following steps for a digital detox are sensible, helpful, and inspiring. This is a natural opportunity to set clear intentions for your digital relationships in the upcoming year.

“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” - Annie Dillard

1. Commit to a Digital Detox this holiday season

There is simply no easier time in the calendar year. Set apart a minimum of 2 days completely free from the web: no email, Netflix, or Instagram. Just you. Your loved ones. A board game, a book, or an afternoon skating. Pay attention to how you feel, jot those emotions down. Better (and easier) yet, do it with a friend.

2. Pull out your Canon and point and shoot like it's 1995

Let your camera be a camera without all the bells and whistles. Notice the kinds of moments you capture, and how the camera sitting on the coffee table doesn’t cause your heart to palpitate like your iPhone. Don't capture your holiday moments for public consumption. Instead, hold them close.

3. Find a new home for your phone

Most people park their phones in their bedroom overnight. Instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, purchase a cheap one and set up a new charging location in another room. End the day with at least an hour of screen-free time, and start the day the same. These are sacred moments that set the course for your day. Use them wisely.

4. Save yourself from push notifications

The bings, pings and vibrations from your smartphone are killing you. Turn them off. Yes: Every. Single. One. Take back control of your life. Do it before January 1st. There will be no turning back.

5. Identify what matters

What in the world sustains and moves you most deeply? Chances are, it’s not online. Name these things, write them down, and commit to pursuing them with all your heart in the new year. Life is short.

6. Read The Joy of Missing Out this holiday season

It will prepare you to ring in a technically productive and privately peaceful new year.

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