By the Team a Matte Black







So you’ve decided to get help? You have a nasty habit and you need to kick it. You look at your phone, C O N S T A N T L Y. I don’t know how to type that to explain to you how much you are looking at your phone, computer, iPad. A digital detox is the perfect solution. Get away from the devices, even just for a few hours, to gain some perspective. 


A few things to do before you dive in:

Plan your detox a few days in advance so everyone can adjust their workload accordingly.
Consider a Friday afternoon as things should be slower towards the end of the week.
Finalize what ideas or concepts you want to brainstorm during your detox.
Set up music options before you go on detox! I can not stress this enough, we forgot that we couldn’t just play music from our computers so we were back from lunch and realized we were going to enjoy some silence together.









From Twyal Tharp’s Creative Habit, this is a great exercise for your whole team to fill out. Once complete, have everyone place theirs in a sealed envelope with their name on it, and redistrbute to the group in 6 months to one year. It’s amazing how far everyone will have come! Question #2 (“What is the first creative moment you remember?”) was shared by everyone in the group, but the remainder is kept private.


2:30PM-3:00PM: PLAY A GAME! 

We played “The Golf Ball Game”. Split into teams of two. Each team is given 12 straws and 18” of tape. The teams then have 10-minutes to create a structure using these tools that has the ability to catch a golf ball from a 6’ drop. After the time is completed, each team has three opportunities to drop the golf ball into their structure. If the ball is kept from touching the ground (that means it doesn’t bounce out either) they win! BRAINSTORM. There are a lot of different ways to brainstorm, some great options 


There are a lot of different ways to brainstorm, some great options actually come from the team over at Post-it. They have an ideas section full of options for problem solving forwards, backwards, and every way in between. Our personal method was something called a “Fishbone Graph”. These are all about creating a process by solving a problem backwards. You are going to want some nice wall space to accomplish this. First you select the final product you want (i.e. Content planned 4 weeks in advance). Put that idea on a piece of paper on the far right side of the wall. Then run painter’s tape from your goal extending a few feet back to the left. Then identify the different processes leading up to this goal, or bottlenecks that get in the way. For each of these put a piece of tape extending about one foot coming off the top or bottom of the main line leaning back at a 45-degree angle. Along each of these smaller lines, note what new process or changes you need to make to help bring you towards your final goal. After about five or six of these points coming off the time, you will see it resemble the skeleton of a fish. Hence a “Fishbone Graph”.


5:00PM-5:30PM: HAPPY HOUR!
Celebrate some good thinking time with either drinks or some snacks together. Take your last 30-minutes away from your devices to get to spend a little more quality time together.


Besides being able to unplug in the first time in who knows how long, 100% engagement is the real benefit of this exercise. It means your team can actually pay attention to one another while you are eating, focus fully internally when doing something like the creative autobiography, and not shy away from conversation during a brainstorm. 


The latter of these I believe to be the biggest benefit. If you have a process in your office that seems to be a point of contention, or a conversation you have always shied away from, this is the way to talk about it. 


No one can dive into their phones to avoid a hard conversation, no one is distracted by emails, ideas actually get shared. 


I cannot recommend taking time to detox like this enough. Spend some quality time as a team, give your eyes a break, get some real work done.




“While I was prepared to feel crippled and anxious without all my typically convenient comm touch points, I found myself less than an hour into going off the grid speaking and thinking more clearly. Wow much?” 

I reached for / thought of reaching for my phone 10 times. 10 times. God damn it.


“I didn’t miss is as much as I just get inconvenienced without it. Music, directions, communication, telling the time, you forget how much in your life hinges on access to devices until you can’t pick up your phone.”


“I loved not having the opportunity to go for our phones because it gave us all the chance to really be present and aware in the conversations we had. In this age of social media, it’s so easy to “op-out” of conversations when we feel like they aren’t interesting or beneficial to us, but by taking them away we are able to not only be more candid with each other but delve a little deeper into what we actually want/need out of a conversation.” 

I reached for my phone 1 time.


“It’s amazing how after the first two hours, you begin to forget about the ‘need’. You just get immersed in the people you’re around, and excited for the process. What unfolded was something really valuable, and really timely, that our team needed to address and work through - and the end result is something I feel so solid about. Instigating monthly digi-detox’s may just be a must going forward!” 

Went for my phone about 7 times, mostly before during and post lunch. When we were brainstorming, I barely thought about it.


“Real human interaction without the obstruction of a phone? What a novel idea. I think the conversation was fresh, honest, and the best I’ve had in awhile.” 

I reached for my phone 6 times.


“I didn’t miss having my phone at all, it was actually nice to be disconnected, but I could tell when I was losing interest in a conversation because I would have the urge to reach for my phone to scope what was happening digitally. A sad, sad habit.” 

I reached for my phone 4 times.