My digital life and self, feel overwhelmed. This happens from time to time. It is usually a result of spending a lot of time looking at screens. You know the exercise — scroll, double tap, type and do it all over again. This isn’t the first time I’ve come to this point. I’ve been thinking about what I’ve done in the past when digital sucks life out of your life.

When We Do Nothing About It

When we don’t do anything about the screens that are always in our hands and eyes, we lose out on a lot. We lose valuable time to do more productive things. Social media is a distraction. It is not only a thief of time out of life. At the end of my lifetime, I wonder how much time I would’ve wasted on social media.

One of my greatest fears is living an insignificant life. I have no doubt that not managing my online activity can lead me down that road.

I’ve had to deal with this before. As I revist this I decide to make some notes to self. True to the unwritten rules of bloggers, I think documenting it might also be hepful for others. So, just in case, here are some thoughts about dealing with digital when it sucks life out of your life:

Stop, and Replace

Telling myself to stop it isn’t enough. Is your social media use (this includes Netflix etc.), unhealthy? If your answer is, “Yes”, it means you’re losing out on time and life elsewhere. Time is finite. For everything you do, there are others you can’t.

To deal with unhealthy social media you have to start by stopping. The first step is stop. And, when you stop, immediately replace the screen glow with something else.

When digital sucks life out of your life, it’s time to stop and replace (Click to Tweet)

What should or could you have been doing before you squeezed it out of your life with your screen time? Was it exercise, a hobby, time with friends, reading books or reflection or meditation? Whatever it is, do that. Decide in advance what you’ll replace that time with.

Simplify

I’m sure it is now obvious that you have to be deliberate. Now it is time to think about what you do when you’re on your device. What exactly are you up to? When digital sucks life out of your life it is time to simplify.

When digital sucks life out of your life it is time to simplify (Click to Tweet).

Email

This is one of the worst vices of our time. To spend less time on your emails, make sure you’re receiving and responding to emails that matter. How many email newsletter are you signed up to? How many of them do you read?

I’ve fallen into the trap of signing up for many newsletters because I was afraid I would miss out on something. Before I know it, I’ve wasted time scheming through or deleting them. At the end of the day, I’ve spent more time on emails than I needed to.

If you haven’t read the last three newsletters from someone, unsubscribe.

Apps

One of the things that makes it easy for me go down the slippery slope is the scourge of convenience. Because my email is active on my phone, I get trapped in “quick check”. It is sad how the “quick check” ends up full-on work at inappropriate times. Remember: there is a time for everything.

Deactivate email from your phone and delete apps. I’ve found life better when I’ve been restricted myself to checking social media on my computer. Even then, I’ve restricted the number of times I log in.

Some people use apps to minimise their distraction when they have to be online. They lock themselves out of apps or functions on their devices.

Packing a book to read in the lines or commute is a great alternative. What about ‘taking in’ your surrounds? Give your brain a break. After, all when we are playing, or at rest, the great ideas find us.

Outro

We’re meant to use our devices and social media, not the other way round. It is important for us to be conscious of how certain things dominate our lives. Don’t be passive about it; be deliberate.

#NoteToSelf

image: Tim Gouw

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world View more posts

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