5 Insights that I’ve gained from Digital Detox

In April 2015 I decided to commit myself to a personal user experience and user interaction experiment.

A Digital Detox weekend during my company’s outing at Bintan Island Indonesia

I had planned to have no smart devices on me. Not even a wristwatch nor a digital camera.


Well, a Digital Artist who own less than a hundred things inspired me.

His name is Per Hakansson

He is a Digital Creative individual who has tried things differently and I as a practicing UX/UI designer, I wanted to explore these experimental experiences first hand.

Here are a few of my insights consolidated after my Digital Detox Weekend at Bintan island Indonesia.

1. Heightened Senses

The day started out with me having to be more observant of my surroundings. Take for example, looking out for my cab number and the location of where it will be (My wife booked a cab for me).

It was before dawn and even though the cabby missed out the initial meeting place I got a hold of him at the parking lot, due to the alertness I had which was even stronger than your first caffeine rush in the morning.

Another example was, since this was a company trip, I had to rely mainly on my senses to spot my colleagues at meeting points like the ferry terminal before leaving Singapore for Bintan.

I felt my senses heightened as I was always watching and observing my surroundings.

2. I felt more at ease

My colleagues warned me that I would be uneasy having no smart phone to tap incessantly on when I got bored. Instead I brought along a book on gaming “Diablo — the book of Cain” and “creative confidence” a book on design thinking to satisfy my boredom.

I read whenever I had free time and found it very relaxing to not be bothered by push notifications of all sorts and having to check my phone if I have any messages.

I was just being focused. Doing what I wanted to do with no distractions. In addition, without my smart phone, I dint carry a music playlist on me and I found it to be the ultimate relaxation contrary to popular belief. I am now able to hear people’s conversations with each other, the sound the wind blows, waves crashing on the shore and mainly the tranquility of natures original sound.

3. I have more empathy

Not having any distractions, I was able to find the time to interact with people full contact. I had more conversations with my colleagues and the Bintan locals. Cause I did not bring my watch each time I needed to know the days timing I asked different people for the time and there I saw their kind faces when they told me the exact time.

I was able to enjoy more wholesome moments on the beach without having the need to document everything. It felt great just being in the moment and enjoying the sights, the sounds and the smells.

4. I had more discipline

Since it’s a company’s trip, there was specific timings and schedules that I was supposed to adhere to. Being without technology allowed me to be disciplined enough to stick to the program. I knew the exact time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, I knew how much time I had during breaks and I planned my schedule accordingly instead of relying on my watch and checking it every 5 minutes.

I also felt committed to the plans I made before the digital detox.

I told my wife that I’ll meet my wife for Sunday’s church at 7pm when I’m back in Singapore if that didn’t work out, I will meet her straight home. I found it extremely exhilarating because these plans worked even without the use of technology.

Even though technology makes planning more efficient, nothing beats good old-fashioned planning and the discipline to follow it through.

5. Freedom

Without technology, I felt free. No selfies, no notifications, no messages nothing. The strain from my eyes that I’ve developed from staring into screens all day 24/7 were gone. As nobody was able to call or message me, I had no fear of missing out on anything and with that, I was truly able to live in the now.

My conclusion to my experimental insights is that I highly recommend that everybody should try digital detox once in their digital life lives to find out the true meaning of “Less is more.”

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