Digital Detoxing Just Gets Me Down

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
5 min readMay 13, 2023


It’s really all about the pseudoscience, the clickbait headlines, and the yoga retreats.

Image generated by the author using Stable Diffusion

I used to be very fond of the phrase “if you ignore it long enough then it will go away” and, at least for me during my (long lost) formative years, it worked extremely way in many, many ways.

The problem was, I had to keep on running in order to keep the “it” in question from catching up with me and facing whatever consequences were in store.

You see, I had more energy then and could keep running, but now I’m just cynical, jaded¹, and only really attempt to break into a run when I can hear someone talk about “retrospectives” or “swim lanes”.

Whether it’s a memory leak, a relationship issue, paying your credit card bill on time, or just hating the overzealous way that HR pursues you to put your hand in your pocket for the annual Secret Santa² charade “it” will most likely get you in the end.

It’s because you get tired, you lose that vital focus, you stop checking under your bed, behind the curtain, stop shredding your mail before you read it, or just forget that one time to add the new all-too-eager project manager to your already burgeoning blocklist in Outlook³.

I read, with the usual disinterest yet weird fascination (like when you put your fingers in something that smells horrible, but just have to keep on smelling it from time to time as it won’t wash off your fingers) the BBC’s never failing to disappoint columns about work and life.

I do moan about the BBC’s columns, particularly “WORKLIFE”, a lot on LinkedIn. It’s kind of serendipitous really, having them both conveniently to be ridiculed in the same place, as both LinkedIn and the BBC’s dire columns separately are a source of so many great rebuttal articles and together, well, they’re way more than the sum of their collective parts.

This one, “Is it possible to digital detox anymore?” from the frankly laughably named “Work: In Progress” column is a real hum dinger.

It’s not just me is it?
Both of these columns are utterly bizarre.

The whole detox thing is an idea that just won’t go away, a bit like the diet detox brigade who keep trying to sell the snake oil around…



Dr Stuart Woolley

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.