In a hurried, over-connected world, there are simple yet effective ways to help you regain control of your online experience and live a more balanced and meaningful life no matter what device or platform you use or where you are.
1) Schedule your life on paper
A pen-and-paper schedule may seem old school, but it can help you reclaim control by giving you an at-a-glance view of what’s happening throughout your day. Digital devices are great, but they’re also sources of distraction—you might check Facebook too often during an important meeting or fall down a YouTube rabbit hole and waste hours watching cat videos.
2) Take Time Away From Social Media
Social media can be a wonderful tool—but when you have your phone on you at all times, it can also become a source of stress. If online life is too stressful for you, take time away from your social media accounts and focus on real-life interactions instead. One way to achieve that? Shut off your phone and spend an hour or two with friends or family, turning off all devices during that time. If you want to learn about digital detox, read our full article here.
3) Deal with all your tasks and emails once per day at the same time
This way, you won’t waste time going back and forth between projects. Commonly known as “context switching,” you will be able to move forward with your tasks and activities each day. Try working in intervals. For example, divide your time into three parts: focus on emails for an hour; get down to work on that big report or white paper; take some “Me Time,” during which you can relax or hang out with friends.
4) Turn off notifications for social media, games, and apps you don’t need
This is hard for me, and I’m sure it will be for many of you, too. However, you need to remember that your time is limited. You have only 24 hours a day—and if you use social media and play games too much, you’re taking away from more important things (like being with family or friends).
Be aware of how often you open Facebook—and then consciously try not to open it for an hour or two.
5) Be your “Offline Self” Online Too
Digital Natives are a new type of human- as they have been online since they were toddlers. But, because of their experiences, they have already adapted better than most to take on adult-like responsibilities as teenagers.
This means they are more ready for college and possibly entering corporate life while having less exposure to actual interactions with real people and experiences that involve physical labor or other aspects of real life (since when you go online, you’re offline), that is all part of growing up.
This is especially true for those who are still growing up. If you have children, don’t allow them to have devices or accounts until they are at least 12 years old. Then, if you allow them online, hide their social-media apps in subfolders and ensure they only use their devices for an hour or two each day (or less).
6) Maintain Life-Work Balance
Most of us (digital natives) work and play online more often than not, but reclaiming your sanity in an increasingly digital world is possible. In what ways could you get offline and take a break from your devices? Here are ten ideas:
- Turn video calls into phone calls
- Avoid second-screening
- Physically write down my to-do list
- Check email less often
- Set limits on my devices
- Schedule downtime
- Work from a local coffee shop
- Unplug for at least 24 hours each week
- Find ways to manage my devices
- Plan my digital detox ahead of time (and stick with it)