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80 per cent of people would rather go without a car, chocolate or alcohol than be without their digital device for a day according to a recent report. Now I don’t know about you but when someone can’t go without something, or suffer acute withdrawal from lack of its use, I’d call it an addiction. 

80 per cent of people would rather go without a car, chocolate or alcohol than be without their digital device for a day according to a recent report. Now I don’t know about you but when someone can’t go without something, or suffer acute withdrawal from lack of its use, I’d call it an addiction. Phones

Just as a person might crave their fix, or their next drink it seems that many of us simply can’t go for any length of time without tapping, scrolling, playing or watching something on a digital device. All the time we are feeding that habit and being kept on the electronic leash we are missing out on a whole world of creative opportunity.

Addiction is a relationship between person and substance. Being wedded to a mobile mistress (or master) is no different. 

I am not suggesting that to tackle addiction to mobile devices we throw them away - they do have a pivotal part to play in most people’s lives. It’s just that we shouldn’t let them become all-consuming.

But for those of you who feel the digital demon may be leading you, or has already led you astray to a life of mobile malady. Help is a hand in the form of a digital detox.

It involves using a technique, known as TIO. Every one of us has the knowledge to use it and can start practicing it straightaway.

TIO, for those of you who don’t know, is short for ‘Turn it off!’!

It sounds so simple.

But if the thought of going ‘cold turkey’ leaves you in a cold sweat, why not try a gradual reduction. Try switching off your device for an hour or two in the evening as a start. When you feel strong enough and have some ‘clean time’ under your belt try switching it off for the whole weekend; and even longer when you take a vacation.

If it all sounds too difficult you may have an inkling of the stress a person suffering from drug or alcohol dependency goes through. In Whole Person Recovery, this grasp of addiction is known as ‘the hold’.

If you do embark on a digital detox programme, don’t worry, when the withdrawal symptoms bite; fingers twitch and sweat starts to pour – a digital detox will not kill you.

Besides, a craving only lasts for approximately seven minutes. So distract yourself by doing something different. It doesn’t matter what but do something where you have to think about what you’re doing rather than what you are missing by not being stuck to your device; liking, linking or tweeting. If you are with other people, whether they are family, friends or colleagues, have a conversation. Serious or silly, it doesn't matter.

Here’s a thought to ponder that just popped into my head.

If we are all followers on Twitter: Who are the leaders?

Your answers please, in no more than 140 characters.

In fact some of the most creative innovative solutions to problems have started from seemingly ludicrous initial thoughts. For years I have kept notebooks of sketches, ideas, thoughts. Every redesign, or re-thinking as I called them, started with an initial sketch of thought in one of those volumes. My iPhone, iPad and laptop were just tools to enable my sketches and thoughts to come to life. None of these devices had the ‘Power to Create’. That came from within me.

I think Steven Spielberg said it perfectly:

‘Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party-pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we're too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone’.

We've all heard terms like what’s needed is blue sky, or out-of-the-box, thinking. Notice no –one has ever said what we need is some in-the-box, or rectangular box thinking.

Many creative and highly innovative firms whose whole business model revolves around the devices have chill out, relaxation areas where there are no digital devices, for their employees and encourage their frequent use. Where people can let their minds wander, free from the hold of electronic gadgetry.

Shouldn't we all take time out and try unplugging. That should free up time for creative and innovative thinking allowing you the 'Power to Create'.

And now the sales pitch

Switching off: What’s the benefit and what do you get?

A voice-recognition, hands free, creative and innovative device with unlimited memory capacity, intuitive learning, constantly updating itself. You can take it anywhere including in water, direct sunlight, hot or cold environments. It’s resilient and robust. Power source will last a lifetime (guaranteed). Still processes data even when in sleep mode. It reboots itself at least once a day. All packaged in a limitless variety of outer casings. It’s the must have device and is free when you digitally detox.

So instead of plugging in why not…

… let your mind wander, have a conversation that’s not typed.

You might just surprise yourself with what you come up with.

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