S2E4: The Experience of Digital Detox with Yannick Francisco-Smits

Today on the show we welcome Yannick Francisco-Smits, a 26 year old online entrepreneur. Yannick shares his experience in digital detoxing and how technology greatly affected his lifestyle and well-being. He also shares his experience in attending a technology detox retreat at Bali, Indonesia. In this episode, we are going to hear the step by step process we can take to detoxify ourselves from technology.

In this episode you will hear: 

  • What it is like to do digital detox
  • How technology affects your lifestyle
  • Steps you can take to start technology detox
  • Technology fasting
  • The benefits you can get when you detox from technology




R Blank 0:01
Hi, I’m R blank, the CEO of shield your body and the host of the healthier tech Podcast, the podcast about finding a healthier relationship with modern technology. This season, I’m excited to bring you a set of interviews exploring issues around disconnecting. The growing number of people are realizing that the constant connectivity enabled by our phones and devices and sometimes demanded by our jobs and families comes at a cost a cost to our health, both our mental health and our physical health, which is why disconnecting is so important. So this season, I’ll be interviewing a member of the EU Parliament about the right to disconnect, which is considered a fundamental human right in Europe, a former congressional staffer about the US regulatory process, and an activist about her experience achieving meaningful change,

Yannick Francisco-Smits 0:47
though no is felt this pressure to reply, the same day as it was even just casual catch up with friends. And now it’s like, even if I reply in three days, like it’s no worries like, it really resets your relationship with how you use your device. And it’s, it’s a big win.

R Blank 1:11
For sure. I’ll be interviewing someone who runs a detox retreat in Bali, and another guest who has been through that detox retreat, and more. In other words, this season is going to be a fantastic and informative exploration of disconnecting. Remember, just subscribe to the healthier tech podcast and let’s dive in. Before we begin a brief word, this podcast is brought to you by my company shield your body where it is our mission to help make technology safer for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Inspired by the life’s work of my father, Dr. Martin blank, one of the world’s leading EMF scientists I founded shield your body in 2012. And we provide a ton of great and free resources for you to learn all about EMF radiation, like articles, ebooks, webinars and videos. We also have a world class catalog of laboratory tested EMF and 5g protection products from our phone pouch and laptop pad all the way up to our bed canopy. All of our products are laboratory tested and include a lifetime warranty learn more about our products and why we have hundreds of 1000s of satisfied customers around the world at shield your body.com that shield your body all one word.com or click the link in the show notes and use promo code pod to save 15% On your first order with free shipping throughout North America, the UK and Europe. Welcome to the healthier tech podcast, Yannick it’s a it’s a pleasure to have you here. Yes, thanks

Yannick Francisco-Smits 2:26
for having me. Awesome.

R Blank 2:28
So could you before we get into the main topic here, could you give the my listeners just a little bit of background about you know, your your daily life? Not not not not the part of your life not going to the retreats that we’re gonna be talking about? But you know, just just who you are?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 2:44
Yeah, definitely, um, yeah, I’m unique. I’m 26 years old. I have an online business where I sell a range of products, I sell sneakers, clothing, and just household products, wellness products. And so I’m using my computer a lot, my phone a lot. So I’m always interested in optimizing my health by refraining from using digital devices, but also making use of them by online entrepreneurship.

R Blank 3:23
So you Okay, so that I love that that I think we’re gonna get into some some good discussions here on some of the the thinking and the trade offs around that. So as so it’s you’re in E commerce, it’s, so it sounds like you you you use your your tech, you know, a fair amount. Yeah, that’s right. So you’re on your phone a lot. Your your your main job is on the computer. Yeah.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 3:50
That’s true. Yeah. So.

R Blank 3:53
So at what point in this process? Did you think, you know, because because I don’t know, your personal process of discovery here. At what point in the process? Did you come to think that, you know, maybe there there needed to be some balance struck in your relationship with technology?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 4:11
Um, yeah, this point came when I wake up every day. And first thing I did was to just grab my phone check for notifications if I sold something or just, like instantly going into this, like stress mode, or sometimes like, Hey, I made a super nice sale. That’s a great way to start my day, or like, oh, shit, I didn’t sell that much today. So then I was like, do I really want to start my morning like this, like, this pretty like it’s like a gamble because every day can be different when you open your notifications. And then I was like, Maybe I should just wake up like a normal human being without taking more easy and after Death. doing that for a while, I felt way better in the morning, more peaceful, more tranquil. And then I was like, I want more of this. So I did more research on YouTube. And yeah, basically, that’s

R Blank 5:14
so you this whole process started not with you going to a retreat, it started with you, just putting some limits in enforcing them in your own daily life and behaviors is what it sounds like. Yeah,

Yannick Francisco-Smits 5:25
yeah, it is true. Like, I got inspired by people on YouTube that are into, like, optimizing your discipline and productivity. But then I was, I guess it’s time to apply it to my whole life and not just watch what other people are doing. I’m a pretty ambitious like, nerd when it comes to like, this kind of stuff. So once I got the hang of it, I felt really great. And then I started going back into the bad habit of like, being more out of control, with my phone use and my device use that I just bought like a kitchen safe. It’s like, actually, the safe with a time lock on it. So I put my phone in there sometimes for like four hours, beginning of the morning, sometimes even like 24 hours, just to reset my dopamine levels, because it’s so addicting. Like, there’s always some news for you on a device. So it’s like, if I can do it myself all the time. If I don’t have enough discipline, I like to use tools like that.

R Blank 6:41
So when you said, you know, you started making these changes in your daily regimen, and it made you feel great, like what are some of the changes that you’re talking about? When it made you feel like what did you realize happening in yourself, that made you feel better?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 6:58
First of all, I felt like, more peaceful because obviously, when you’re not using your phone, you’re focusing on something, maybe it’s work or just cleaning or can be everything, but you feel way more focused. Because when you made the promise to yourself, like I’m not gonna use my phone for an hour or whatever timeframe you want. Then, you know, there’s no possibility of you checking your phone. So I don’t know, like in the back of your head. For me personally, it gives me like, some rest, because there’s always something going on and the devices like endless, endless machine, you know? Yeah, no,

R Blank 7:46
totally. So what do you do? When, when, actually, before we get to that, when you put this that your phone in this safe it for a time? Are you able to get it out sooner than the time? Or is that really fully enforced?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 8:00
I mean, I made sure to buy one that’s that is not possible to get it out. Time. So like I don’t know, like, is 100% Sure I’ll be safe from using it. Because I’m not that big of a attic that I got to throw and like, break this thing and try to get it out. Like there’s an emergency. But that’s the thing I really realized during this journey of like more discipline with my device use is there there are almost no real emergencies. Like, every time after I opened my phone, after 24 hours, no phone or half day, no phone. There was on never there was never like a real emergency. Of course, maybe sometimes some people need your help. But it’s never like, oh, somebody died or like, and you can still have it. Like they still tell people like hey, I’m doing a detox for 24 hours, if there’s something really serious going on, send me or just come to my house or you can always make the like a backup plan. You know, it’s not like the end of the world if you have don’t have your flow for 24 hours. So

R Blank 9:20
yeah, no, totally agreed. So in these periods, I mean, maybe 24 hours is a different case than one hour, four hours but so let’s start with the shorter ones. With these shorter periods where you force yourself to not have your phone accessible. What is it that you did

Yannick Francisco-Smits 9:40
instead? It’s things I’ve been putting off for a long time so maybe it’s some uses the safe mainly for my phone because the phone for me is the biggest devil so to say. So when I put it in now Do something I dislike or put off for a long time, like maybe do some accounting for my business, or sometimes even simple things like do the dishes or do some cleaning, just some stuff that I’ve, yeah, like, it’s way easier to just, you know, you should do the dishes, just take out your phone and you have a good feeling of dopamine. Like, it’s so easy to put stuff off like that.

R Blank 10:25
And how often would you engage in these? Let’s call it phone fasts?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 10:29
That’s a good one. Depends, like, it depends on my level of like discipline, I guess. But I think it’s like, weekly. Sometimes daily depends on how much work or focus I need. Like, if I catch myself, like, being like lazy and on my phone a lot that I like, get myself together. And say, like, yeah, just use a safe, and you’ll be fine after. So I used to weekly. But sometimes even daily, if I’m really like very serious about like a work goal, or maybe I want to get back into the gym more like very important stuff to me, then as daily, but sometimes I don’t even use it for like a month. It depends on the goal and situation. But it’s such a good tool for me personally.

R Blank 11:30
So you, you and I were introduced by AJ, who was also on the podcast this season. And my understanding is you were at at the retreat in Bali. Is that correct?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 11:46
Yeah. Yeah, that was

R Blank 11:50
you sound like that brought up some very nice memories.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 11:54
It was it was the most peaceful I’ve ever felt because obviously, the rules was, then there is no phone. No, not even physical communication. So it was a good mix for sure.

R Blank 12:09
So I, so let’s get into some of some of the learnings that you had from that experience, right? Because that’s that’s obviously, I don’t know if extreme is the right word, but it’s a more extreme detox, and then this daily or monthly one that you were just talking about. So you you weren’t allowed you you say you weren’t allowed to touch your phone for 10 days, I assume that also included computers?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 12:38
Yeah, that’s correct. Yeah.

R Blank 12:41
So and obviously, you were doing a lot of other stuff at that retreat, because it does sound kind of amazing. But when it comes when it comes to technology, what what what was your experience, you know, during during the detox, and again, specifically around the relationship with technology by not using it for that period of time? What did you learn about your relationship with technology?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 13:07
Oh, that’s a good question. I would say that it’s yeah, my relationship with technology was pretty bad actually, like, of course, I was doing all these small faux fest before, but still, after, after, and during that retreat, I realized that I was still pretty attached and addicted to this device. And, yeah, it was very eye opening, because you notice that when you don’t use it for a while, like extended periods, just like to retreat that you’re like, completely fine without it. And you actually feel way better, because there’s actually time for your, your thoughts to come to you without even the unpleasant thoughts will come up. But also, you get great ideas, because your mind is like, you remember when you were like a child and you got bored, and then you’re like, oh, let’s build a treehouse. Let’s do this. Let’s let you get super spontaneous. But because always bombarded with emails and messages and notifications, like it’s hard for your brain to come up to get bored because it’s the moment people or I feel bored, you can just reach to your pocket and have like a nice dopamine hit or whatever. So that was one of the biggest benefits. I get so many great ideas. We learn a lot about yourself about your thought patterns, your the things you think about yourself or the world so I think that’s the biggest win from Yeah, the digital detox at the retreat.

R Blank 15:00
Was there a point in that 10 days where you maybe you noticed, like you, like, as soon towards the start, there are some times where you’re like, Oh, let me get my phone and then you remember you don’t have it. And then I assume as the week went on, those became fewer and fewer did that. Did you experience that? Did they ever go away?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 15:21
Yeah, they definitely went away. Definitely went away. And beginning it was, yeah, it was like, felt like rehab a little bit. But it was very cool. Because the thing is, like I said, you get a lot of great ideas, a lot of great insights. And at one point, I was just like, so that Tuesday gastic, about sharing them with my friends. But I couldn’t text them, obviously, because I was allowed. So I started like, picking up good habits, like writing and journaling again. So like a big one, for sure.

R Blank 16:01
So once that retreat was over, what, how did you feel like when you touched your phone for the first time?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 16:09
Oh, man, it was so so different from how our experience normally is. Because normally, to be honest, I would just open my mail and be a bit stressed because maybe somebody wants money from me or I forget their invoice. Or maybe I got a lot of money from someone, but usually I attach my email to like more important, stressful messages, I guess. Totally. And with like WhatsApp, for example. Like, I noticed, I will always hold my breath before I open WhatsApp, because maybe I forgot about something or maybe I want to be feel like love or because yeah, your friends or family or on WhatsApp, if you use it. And that was like such a big contrast after the retreat, because after a retreat, after the retreat, I opened my whatsapp for example. And I felt like so peaceful, like, I felt like, whatever message would come in, we’ll be fine. We’ll just handle it without stress. And normally, I always felt this pressure to reply the same day if it was even just casual catch up with friends. And now it’s like, even if I reply in three days, like it’s no worries, like, it really resets your relationship with how you use your device. And that’s a big win. For sure.

R Blank 17:45
So then, yeah, how did you know so that was like turning on your phone for the first time then moving forward in the next few weeks? What what changes did you notice in your relationship with your phone? And? And the resulting mental state? Um, like, did you use your phone differently after the retreat than before the retreat? Did you use it? You know, more or less? Did you feel more focused in your intent? You know, what were their changes?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 18:14
Yeah, definitely use it less at the beginning. beginning it was like, I was like, Yeah, I really like this this piece, man. Like, I don’t want to have this piece. quotation mark ruined my phone, all the notification, so I kept the phone use low. But the funny thing that was happening was once I was using it more like normally if I go on WhatsApp, and I would have like, just an example like 20 unread messages, I would be like, Okay, let’s reply to everyone, etc, etc. But now it was like I was I became way more strategic like, way more conscious like because there was less stress. So it’s like, maybe I should reply to people that want something from my business first, then the family and then to to survive random hoarder but and normally it was just like all very like, triggered by stress, you know, like, business first family after like, now there’s way more control but the funny thing is like, after a couple months, I was back to square one or how do you say it square zero?

Unknown Speaker 19:40
Yeah, square one. Yeah.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 19:43
It’s it’s you have to stay conscious of your use because then I found myself like waking up again grabbing my phone. So it’s a constant process, but when you when I step out of the Heavy use is like, always, I always say to myself, like, why didn’t I do this earlier? It’s so good.

R Blank 20:08
So in that process, have you because you went through the detox and then you came out and then you were describing, you know, sort of sliding back a little bit as time went on into your into your habits? Do you other than locking your phone in? inaccessible safe? Do you have other other strategies to help make to maintain the mindfulness in your use of your phone? And perhaps other devices?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 20:39
Yeah, definitely. Like, personally, I use an iPhone. But I, when I opened my phone, there is like an option to put your screen time on your backgrounds. First thing after a lock your phone. So it always reminds me like, oh, still, I was already using my phone for two hours, maybe there’s a bit more than I wanted to. Because it’s so easy to just, like, get stuck in this routine, a routine of just opening your phone, going to WhatsApp come to Facebook, or whatever. And then never really assessing like, how much actual time that I spend on my device. So that’s one thing I like, like. Just that reminder, as soon as you open your phone like screentime widget being there. And that’s a great one. Yeah. Yeah, I like that one. And also, when I’m not like, super addicted, I turn off my phone before I go to bed, and then I just put my phone on the other side of the room. So it’s like, more steps to just look at your phone. Because when it’s next to you on your nightstand, it’s not even on airplane mode or whatever.

R Blank 22:07
Yeah, don’t get me started on that. Yeah.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 22:11
Of course, for the radiation and stuff. It’s important. But yeah. So the step is like, so easy to just tap your finger on screen, and you’re back into this digital world.

R Blank 22:23
Yeah. That’s tell you one thing I do, which doesn’t get you well, you know, it’s just a small step. But one thing I do is I, as soon as I consider it sort of nighttime, like not just after work, but maybe after dinner. And then throughout the whole weekend, I put my phone into Do Not Disturb mode. Which means I get no notifications at all, which means people can’t reach me with stuff sometimes. You know, they can be a little annoyed by it. But But I found that disabling all notifications on my phone has really helped address issues of anxiety from from

Yannick Francisco-Smits 23:05
from the phone. Oh, it’s powerful word like that.

R Blank 23:10
Yeah. I mean, again, it totally, it’s like a hammer. Because you can’t, you know, you’re silencing all of them. But I mean, it’s it. It really, it, you know, it helps me kind of create my personal space, I guess. So. So, stepping back a little bit there and I don’t know, you know, how much of this you use, but one of the questions that that I talked about with with AJ was had to do with the ballot, right, because it’s a digital detox digital detox as part of the retreat. But then he also makes use of health tracking tech in the retreat. And it was it was this discussion about sort of balancing you know, digital detox with actually using technology to optimize the the the detox experience. Did did you make use of any of that sort of technology when you were there?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 24:12
No, I didn’t, I guess sleep tracking devices, but I chose to be like 100% Naked very good during this retreat, like no devices, but that’s actually cool. I might do that. The next time.

R Blank 24:27
So do you use any of that in real life? Any of that type of technology?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 24:33
Oh, yes. I use an aura ring for sleep tracking.

R Blank 24:36
Okay. So and so you you you were that you were that every night? Yes, overall all day because I know some people wear their auras all day.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 24:50
No, I don’t use it during the day. I just like to keep it just for sleep.

R Blank 24:55
And has that has it has the aura ring and I talked to a lot of people By the way, who used the aura ring? And really like that product it has, what have you found from your experience with that

Yannick Francisco-Smits 25:05
product? I really like it, it’s, for me personally, the the biggest thing I like about it is that it could like kinda gamifies your sleep. Like, always, when I wear it, I feel like and I checked the stats or whatever I feel like more motivated to turn my phone on Do Not Disturb or something like, or just make sure I don’t use devices one hour before I sleep or turn off the lights, dim the lights like for me and motivates me, but I feel like there’s also a downside about using this because I feel like when I check my sleep stats in the morning, and they’re not that good. I feel like I’m also having more thoughts during the day like I slept bed, even though I didn’t. Like, I don’t know how to say properly. But I feel like I take it too seriously. Because sometimes you had a bad night of sleep, but you still feel great. You know what I mean?

R Blank 26:19
Yeah, no, I do know what you mean. Sometimes, actually, if I if I try to get eight hours, but sometimes if I wake up after five, even if I’m a little tired, I feel much more productive during the day. And I haven’t figured out what it is about me that makes me feel. So how do you view an aura as like, because you obviously you have a certain view of your phone? Do you view your aura ring as a kind of tech that from which you might need, you know, to take a break or to focus on the nature of your relationship?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 26:59
Yeah, definitely. I did it. To be honest, I did it unintentionally, unintentionally. Because I was moving, I was traveling a lot. And then at one point, I just got lazy and I forgot to put it on before I went better than I tried to stop doing it for a while. And then I realized how nice it is to also listen to your intuition in the morning. Like, did I actually sleep good instead of basing it off the sleep stats? Which I was doing before? If that makes sense? Yeah.

R Blank 27:37
So what is it? And how do I? How do I ask? Very, because you clearly think a lot about your relationship with technology. You think it’s important to use technology, you also think it’s important to take a break from technology? What is how would you say describes your approach to technology the role it should play in your life?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 28:08
That’s a good question. I like to think as it of this, like as in a really good quote. As much as technology can empower you, it can also destroy you may sound a bit dramatic, but like, so I like to keep balance. I like to remind me of myself that. But to be honest, it’s pretty hard. Like, like, a couple of weeks, I’m super disciplined. And then it’s like always like very cold mornings. And before nighttime, like notifies us but then a couple days later, I’m back to the square.

R Blank 28:54
So, so you’re talking again about, you know, disabling your phone or making it accessible for for periods at night or maybe perhaps on the weekend. What does this do to other people in your life? You know, kind of understand that that’s what you do? Or have you gotten pushback maybe from relatives or friends who are saying, you know, why couldn’t I reach you?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 29:22
To be honest, I’m very lucky that people always let me do my thing. They’re not very concerned. When I do reply for maybe a couple hours or a day because I used to be like that with replying. Always like, not very, I’d like to be very reachable if that makes sense. You’re totally

R Blank 29:45
you’re talking I’m preaching to the choir.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 29:50
Because of course there are exceptions, like something important in private lives going on or business but I feel like if you always like constantly, like I know, like so many people there. They’re so accessible, so reachable that all the people around them get used to it like they used to, if I sent this and this person a message, I’ll probably get a reply in five or 10 minutes. But I don’t want to be perceived as that person, because then it’s just going to be a letdown for them. So I just to be honest, I do it for myself, because I just like to control my energy. And if you’re always replying to people, always online always connected, I think you lose the sense of control unless you have so much energy, which sometimes I’m a bit jealous of people that can be on their phone and laptop all day and always on calls, always messaging without getting dream. But I don’t think is my style person. Oh,

R Blank 30:59
yeah. No, I’m not jealous of those people. I’m jealous of people with tons of energy, but not to use it that way. So it sounds like you’ve trained, you’ve trained the people in your life, just through your behavior, to have certain expectations so that when you throw your phone in, safe for 24 hours, no, one’s terribly surprised.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 31:19
Yeah. And also helps to just not tell them to be honest.

R Blank 31:27
So yeah, I mean, the one of the things I find really interesting in your stories, because, you know, I hear I hear about in from people who go through digital detox, but a lot of you know, I don’t hear from many people, you know, responsible for running a business, doing it for for, for extended periods of time. Because when you’re running a business, you know, the business relies on you. And I know you said earlier, and this, this quote, really stuck out. And I’m pretty sure Stephanie and I are going to talk about it later in the in, in the wrap for the episode. But you said there, there are almost no real emergencies. But at the same time, running a business, it might not be an emergency, but something something can be really important without being an emergent emergency. So how, how do you balance that? That mindset of of hustle with with the mindset of silence?

Yannick Francisco-Smits 32:27
Oh, yeah, that’s a good question. And to be honest, that’s something I’m still working on. Because like, for example, if employees need you like right now, because the website is crashing, and you miss sales, like there’s something that’s a nightmare for most entrepreneurs, I think. So. That’s, that’s the reason why I do most of my entrepreneurship solo. So I can be in control of these moments of peace and silence without devices. But that’s a good question that makes me think be honest.

R Blank 33:10
So, how, earlier we talked about the frequency with which you you do these, I guess we’ll call them the mini fasts as opposed to the extended detox. You know, it sounds like you really want to go back and do another one of those detoxes though.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 33:27
Yeah, we’ll miss it a lot. And

R Blank 33:31
yeah, for someone who’s never been through one, what would you say in terms of, you know, what could you say, to help set their expectations? And then what why would you encourage them to,

Yannick Francisco-Smits 33:49
to do it? Yeah, as far as expectations, I think you should expect having thoughts like, Hey, I came up with this idea, or, Hey, I should fix this. And this should probably text my friend. But then you’re like, Oh, but I can text like, really start to analyze your thoughts more consciously. And then you get way more insight in how your thought patterns are working. And maybe I didn’t have this problem personally, but maybe for someone else. It can be like, Oh, maybe I’m too concerned about this type of opinion of someone or, like, personally, I had, like just a handful of people I wanted to reach out in my mind. Like, oh, I want to send this friend a message or once a mama message, for example. And then I realized like, oh, that probably means you He gets so many insights basically, it’s, it’s like a constant stream of insights instead of notifications from

R Blank 35:14
so and and, and, and you would strongly encourage people to at least try it. So, you know, obviously flying to Bali and going to AJs or, you know, retreat isn’t isn’t practical for everybody, but you gave examples of, of, you know, the what we’re calling these mini fast as a good starting point. Yeah.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 35:37
Yeah. Yeah. So that’s a good that you brought that up, because I think it’s not for everyone to do like, such an extreme retreat. But for some people, that works more to be, like more gentle. So maybe just one hour, no phone, we even 30 minutes, like, like, it’s just about the step about stepping out of this routine of always being connected. And even for me, like, sometimes even too big of a step to do half a day, no phone, because I know, it will be too much like, then I’ll just promise myself to do one hour just put in a safe. So it depends on the person. I think being gentle is also good, but not being too gentle. Because if you’re too gentle, you probably don’t do any manifests. You know what I mean?

R Blank 36:36
Yeah, no? Yeah. So it’s, you got to feel that you’re doing it, but you don’t have to overdo it. I guess. I’m hearing you say, yeah, exactly. And what I’m also hearing you say is that this is a sort of a lifelong effort. Right? It’s not like you just go to a detox. And, and then it’s done. And you’ve detoxed because once that’s over, you still have to come back to real life. And you still have to re establish boundaries and balances and behaviors with all of these devices. And, and over time, those those those lines blur again. And so it’s it’s kind of a, it helps reset your perspective. But it’s, it’s never a completed process is what I’m hearing you describe.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 37:22
Yes, that’s very true. But I would like to say, a big event, like a longer detox of the device, like not a manifest. So let’s say maybe half a day or a day, or even a couple days. For me personally, it like truly changed my relationship with my phone, like, like now, I’m always remembered of how good that felt. And some people never did an intentional detox of their devices. And I think just getting one longer detox in can truly change like, the relationship with with a device like, then you’re probably more prone to do it more after.

R Blank 38:11
That’s great. Yeah, no. So just just as to wrap this up, I’m wondering if it might be possible for you to give a little more detail on when you say, because I think that’s, that’s, that’s, it’s inspirational, but it’s also insightful, right? What you say an extended detox can really change your relationship with your phone. What changes

Yannick Francisco-Smits 38:41
the biggest thing that changes for me is that you remember feeling when you’re like, scrolling on Facebook or Instagram. And you kind of catch yourself, like Mindlessly scrolling, and like clicking on a bunch of stuff and being very curious or bored or whatever. But you, you kind of do it on autopilot. And the thing that happened for me is like the barely happens anymore, like before used to happen all the time. But now it’s like you get way more conscious because you step out of your, your normal way of using your phone and then we can see what a helicopter view because we aren’t using it. And then when you come back, you realize all these like unconscious habits you have like maybe you keep clicking on people’s stories or people’s in the comments. And they’re like, but now you’re like me way more conscious. Like why am I actually curious, and why did I come on this app in the first place? Wasn’t I supposed to do research or text someone on this app and you get way more conscious? He’s so cool.

R Blank 40:01
Who am I? Why am I here?

Oh well, Yannick, thank you so much for coming on the healthier tech podcast and sharing your experience, I really appreciate having the opportunity to have you to share this because this is something I feel. And I’m really glad that you talked also about the, these, what you and I were talking about as many fast because those, those are the kinds of things that are, you know, actionable within within reach of most people a lot of the time, but then also the the the insights of your experience going through a real extended digital detox, because I think that is a I think that’s, that’s, that’s a valuable perspective, as more and more people start to realize that their relationships with technology maybe aren’t what they want them to be. So I really appreciate you coming on the show to share to share your story.

Yannick Francisco-Smits 40:58
Yeah, my pleasure. I love this show, man. Like, I think it’s a good cause for sure.

R Blank 41:02
Thank you so much.

As always, I’m joined by my co host, Stephanie, Stephanie, that I really enjoyed that interview. What did you think?

Stephanie Warner 41:16
Yeah, I absolutely loved hearing Yonyx experience and perspective with digital detox. It, it struck me when he first started the interview that he’s, you know, he’s 26. And I immediately thought, well, he’s probably, you know, most of his life has probably been with phones with digit, you know, with with smartphones and the like. And even so, it’s really nice to hear his awareness of the, of the addictive qualities of of our phones, and how easy it is to get on autopilot and create some of these, like, bad habits that that that we get into just just automatically.

R Blank 42:04
Yeah, that’s a good point, I totally actually didn’t put two and two together when I was talking to him about his age, and what that meant for his upbringing around all this technology. You know, one of the I actually called it out during the interview itself, but one of the lines that really stood out, and it reminds me of a line from last season, from Dr. Deborah Davis, but he said there are almost no real emergencies. And Deborah had said, Life is not an emergency. And both of those hearing that it, it helps you kind of put things into a type of perspective, that there’s constant notification stream sort of hypnotizes you into thinking it life is a nonstop emergency. But in reality, it’s the exact opposite.

Stephanie Warner 42:54
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think that you, we talked about this a little bit in the last season two about a tech addiction. It’s that anionic Younique brought this up the dopamine hit so and, you know, we talked about how a lot of the services and companies that have apps on our phones, they want you on all the time, so there’s this constant stream of of notifications, there’s a constant stream of busyness and, and it does create this false sense that everything is really important. And I absolutely loved it when he said that there are almost no real emergencies. Because it’s true. I do believe that that’s that, that we have a false sense of, of emergency. When we’re constantly bombarded by information and data. And everything is a click away every passing thought we can look up on Google, every, you know, if we want to waste time, or we’re not, you know, not motivated or focus to do what it is where we want to, we need to do, there’s a place, you know, we can just write, read or write in our hands where we can, you know, fill that space where we can distract ourselves, we can get that dopamine hit if especially if it’s like time to do the dishes or something we don’t want to do. There’s something there we have this device that will take us out of that. Take us away from that need. And yeah, I think it’s Yeah,

R Blank 44:28
yeah. So his, he talked about a few times through the episode, he talked about, you know, this notion of control that after a detox, he feels way more control. And that is as much as technology can empower you, it can destroy you. So you need to do you really need to enforce control over it and but I got it I gotta say, one of the enforcement mechanisms that he described, I thought was was great, but also kind of hysterical, which is the safe where he

Stephanie Warner 45:02
I don’t like where can I put I need to make some space on my Yeah, I

R Blank 45:04
just imagined, like, you know, he realized halfway through that he, you know, he forgot something super important. And he goes on this like Mission Impossible level mission to open the safe and he realizes he can’t. But it that that’s that’s a that’s a pretty strict enforcement mechanism to to to exert that kind of control over that device. Have you ever heard of anybody doing something like that?

Stephanie Warner 45:30
And no, no, I mean, I’ve definitely more heard, you know, people putting, you know, putting it in silent mode, or, you know, do not disturb or airplane mode or, or whatever. But I feel like there’s still this this attachment to the concept that I need to what if there’s an emergency? And, you know, I think I think that’s one of the reasons that almost

R Blank 45:52
no real emergencies,

Stephanie Warner 45:54
I understand that, but but I think I think that a lot of people stay more connected. And that may be an excuse that they use, is that a while like I would if something happens, you know, and I remember a time maybe I’m dating myself, where if you wanted to, you wanted to talk to somebody that you weren’t standing in front of you had to be there when they called. And then a little later, after that you you know, we had the opportunity to leave messages, but you still had to be home to listen to your messages.

R Blank 46:29
Yeah, I think I think you could get a version of that safe, that you can actually open early, but just the act of putting it into the safe and putting a timer on some

Stephanie Warner 46:39
serious intention setting. Yeah,

R Blank 46:43
I don’t think you need the version that that won’t open early in order to have that kind of device work for you. You know, for me, one of the changes that reminded me of is keeping the phone away from me, like when I’m watching him. Yeah, that is yeah, he mentioned that. Yeah. So like making sure it’s at least on the other side of the room, if not in a different room. And when I first started doing that, I was actually shocked at how much better it made me feel. And it wasn’t like a high or anything like that. It just, it was just better. I just felt better not having that darn phone anywhere near me while I was trying to enjoy a movie.

Stephanie Warner 47:22
Yeah, and, and doing that with conversation at dinner. You know, I always have my phone in somewhere near but not not i I’m not a reactive responsive person when it comes to my phone. So I do tend to keep it kind of away, don’t I did notice, there was a time where I noticed that I was using it all the time for distraction, and I was using it. You know, I’m like, frustrated with something. So I’ll just look at my phone, which, you know, if I’m being really honest and aware of my use, it only increases my, my, my level of stress because you know what, you know, people posting politics and all these things that are being entered into my world that I really don’t want, especially when I’m when I’m feeling already kind of feeling a little, you know, stressed. Yeah, one thing that he said, and I love this, he was talking about the how much more heightened his awareness was after the retreat of how he was feeling when he used his phone, which, you know, he said he felt more stressed, he woke up in the morning, and he would go to his phone. And you know, depending on what notification was there. He was kind of held hostage, it was a gamble. It was a gamble of what what he was going to see in his phone and how that was going to set up his day. He didn’t say those words. But um, but that’s kind of what he was getting at. You know, you’d hold his breath before he turned his phone on and looked at it in the morning.

R Blank 48:52
I still I still do that, you know, and I when he was talking about anxiety from email in the morning, I mean, I don’t know exactly what set of changes I did in my life to help address that. I mean, it’s much better now but, but I used to have that in just all the time. And it was an awful feeling checking email first thing in the morning. But I still get a little bit of that, you know, because I mentioned in the interview, I put my phone into Do Not Disturb mode, all evening all night, and then in the morning, you know, I’m exercising and stuff. So then when I’m ready to sit down and start work, one of the first things I do is enable notifications of my phone. And I just steal myself for like some crazy, stressful Skype message from from one of the team or one of the vendors, you know, like, oh, you know, the website died last night. You know, it’s been offline for 12 hours. Where have you been? totally relate to that.

Stephanie Warner 49:47
Yeah. And I have to ask when you allow yourself the space to turn off notifications for a good chunk of time do you find yourself more able to handle that stress? The answer’s yes. I mean, I mean,

R Blank 50:05
I obviously I feel like I don’t know, I don’t think that’s the I think turning off notifications leads to exerting that control over my schedule and my personal attention is is part of an overall set of lifestyle choices, that leaves me more prepared to have less anxiety when working and to work more effectively. And to have much less much, much less anxiety and those points of time when I’m not working. So that bad is that bad is my answer.

Stephanie Warner 50:46
That’s in that’s, that’s, that’s total that’s that’s a great answer. You know, if you’re more prepared that’s that’s a you know, that’s great. Yeah, but it’s still less anxiety in the times when you’re not working is paramount. I mean, that’s paramount to your good mental health and to you know, preserving what’s important, which is your personal time that’s sacred and I think that we forget sometimes how sacred that time is and that we do sometimes need to fight for it by you know, making some hard changes there you know, like keep the phone away

R Blank 51:22
well Steph, I you know, if if our listeners engaged in discussions as good as this one after listening to this episode, then I know it was worth it. I I’m really glad we covered this topic. And I really, I was just I want to thank once again eonic for coming on the show.

Well, that does it for today’s episode. Remember if you like this show and want to hear more, please subscribe to healthier tech podcast available on all major podcasting platforms. And if you have a moment please also leave a review reviews are really critical to help more people find this podcast and learn about the important and undercover topics that we discuss. Also, you can learn more and sign up for our mailing list to get notified when we have new interviews, webinars, ebooks and sales at shield your body calm you can also just click that link in the show notes. While you’re there at shield your body calm you can check out our world class catalog of laboratory tested EMF and 5g protection products. Don’t forget to use promo code pod to save 15% On your first order from shield your body comm with free shipping throughout North America and Europe. Until next time, I’m R blank. And I want to thank you so much for tuning into the healthier tech podcast. Always remember to shield your body

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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R Blank

R Blank

R Blank is the founder of Healthier Tech and the host of “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available iTunes, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.

R has a long background in technology. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel.

In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering where he taught software engineering, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He has spoken at technology conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author of “AdvancED Flex Development” from Apress.

He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Connect with R on LinkedIn.

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