Insurance 25 April 2017

Why regular digital detoxing could hold the key to startup success

Digital abstention could help to make meetings shorter and more productive
Why are we so scared of silence? Here, author and motivation and mindfulness expert, Andro Donovan, makes the personal and professional case forimplementing a digital detox.

Look around any bus, train or tube and youll see people playing on their phone, headphones on, anything other than sitting in silence.

And yet it’s the ability to create space for contemplating that allows us to go inside ourselves and connect to who we really are.

21st century distractions make it tough for us to pay attention to our internal wisdom, which, as director Steven Spielberg has pointed out, never shouts at us but only whispers.

Without access to this soft voice, people remain unaware of who they are, what they want from life and where they should be focusing their energy.

Mindfulness research suggests that meditation sharpens skills such as attention, memory and emotional intelligence. Being silent is the first building block.

Digital detoxing at work

Modern executives understand the importance of silence. Silence can be a very practical way of getting yourself and your team to reset your minds and take five quiet minutes to clear space in your heads before an important meeting.

Silence duringa meeting is often seen as awkward and uncomfortable, something to be avoided. So many of us find it difficult to sit in silence. We may have negative memories from school when we were made to sit in silence as punishment for being too noisy.

And let’s face it, weve come to think that silence means not having the answers. Yet silenceis an essential toolfor effective meetings, allowing participantsto think before speaking, to notice feelings, and to recharge.

For successful digital detox, leaders must set the guidelines a digital abstention rule could help to make meetings shorter, increase efficiency and ensure full participation.

Collecting in everyone’s mobiles at the beginning of meetings might seem radical but it may be the only way to have everyone be present.

Dealing with reluctance

Digital detox is a big step you will see people literally recoil at the mere suggestion of it. It means no email, no photos, no WhatsApp and no social media. it’s hard to persuade yourself to go through with it, and all the more so if you have to motivate others to follow suit.

Like most big challenges in life it starts with little steps. Initially try just abstaining, or imposing abstention, for one meeting. Once you have managed this, you could try whole days of not checking your email just imagine, the whole of Sunday!

For how long or how often is up to you: you can try just stepping away at weekends, or put your smartphone away when you’re having family time in the evenings. Simply raising consciousness on the addiction is the place to start.

Reaping the rewards

Many people are interested in being more present. They may even have tried to meditate, but have found this too challenging. However, taking five minutes at the start of a meeting or before an important phone call can make a big difference to the outcome.


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