Elder David A. Bednar cautioned, “If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, earbuds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication.”
Technology has a dramatic influence on our daily lives. We depend on technology in our professional lives to complete essential job functions and rely on digital devices in our personal lives to stay connected with the outside world.
Our constant use of technology has inadvertently created a digital dependency. We have major fear of missing out and experience physical, emotional and psychological stress about being left behind.
The incessant need to access information, communicate and engage is nothing new. Author Henry David Thoreau once commented about people having an addiction to the post office. He said, “As our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post office.”
We can observe the same dependencies today, when you replace the post offices of Thoreau’s time with our email inboxes and social media. Technology provides a quick and easy distraction from the present.
While technology has its place, it’s important to set boundaries to ensure you’re living in the moment. Here are several ways you can disconnect and declutter your digital life.
1.Clean Up Your Email Inbox
Delete old inbox messages and create folders to keep important email items organized. Unsubscribe from newsletters or email notifications that are no longer relevant to you.
Only keep two email accounts—one for personal use and one for work. If you have more than two emails you’re likely spending too much time online toggling between different email services.
2.Organize Your Desktop
Sort through documents on your laptop or desktop computer and remove items you don’t need anymore, like old icons or shortcuts. For everything else, create an organized filling system to make documents easier to find.
Simplifying your desktop by ridding it of clutter will make it less overwhelming to find folders or documents and launch programs.
3.Delete Old Media on Your Devices
We shouldn’t have to tell you that media on your phone and computer takes up space and is distracting. Go through your pictures, music and videos and delete any items lacking real meaning.
After you do that, go in your web browser, remove old bookmarks and unsubscribe from RSS feeds. Spend less time being distracted by online content and more time living in the present.
4.Remove Distracting Apps and Turn Off Notifications
Check your phone’s settings to see which apps take up the most space and which apps you don’t need anymore. Turn off app notifications and uninstall the apps from your phone that are too distracting or take up lots of space (we’re talking to you Facebook, Instagram and PInterest).
Organize your apps according to use. Your smartphone has multiple home screens—consider the following organization for each:
Also, make sure you use uplifting apps that inspire and motivate you throughout the day, such as the Mormon Channel app. You’ll have access to meaningful content and radio and video streams from General Conference as well as scriptures, blogs and music.
5.Organize Passwords and Login Information
It’s nearly impossible to remember your password and login information for every digital account. Deactivate accounts you no longer use and keep track of relevant login information in a password database, on a spreadsheet or in a notebook.
6.Weekly Digital Cleanups
Simplifying your digital life is an on-going process. You can’t just do it once a year or even just once a month. Make time each week to stay organized by deleting old media or emails.
It’s too easy to become consumed by media. How often do you see people on dates or families out to dinner sitting at the same table not talking because their phones are in their faces? Too often!
Spend time away from the digital world. Unplug for one day each week, like maybe Sunday. Choose to have face-to-face time with your family and friends rather than with your phone, tablet or computer. Engage in activities that reinforce your values, help you build relationships and create memories.