How to Spend More Time Offline Even if You Love Cute Puppy Videos

What could you accomplish by reclaiming all the time you spend online

While the internet makes it quicker to find a recipe or driving directions, it can also cost you time. Checking emails for a few minutes stretches into a half hour of watching You Tube puppy videos or reading Facebook updates.

Imagine what you could accomplish by reclaiming all that time. Try these suggestions to help you disconnect and get more out of life.

Benefits of Spending More Time Offline

  1. Experience more happiness. Studies show that Facebook intensifies our natural tendencies to make social comparisons that leave us feeling like we’re missing out. When you focus on your own achievements, you’ll have less time to envy your friend’s exotic vacations or job promotions.
  2. Boost your confidence. How much time do you spend editing your selfies? Learn to love the image you see in the mirror, even on bad hair days.
  3. Strengthen your relationships. Research has also found that online contacts differ from real world communications. Face-to-face interactions create more intimacy and trust. Having a few people who are willing to help you move into your new place beats having a thousand Facebook friends you barely know.
  4. Know your own mind. It’s easy to get caught up collecting friends and fans. It’s more satisfying to be authentic and express your true feelings. Be willing to take an unpopular position if it means standing up for your values.
  5. Communicate more tactfully. Anonymous comments often sound harsher than private conversations. Chatting with your friends over coffee will make your speech gentler.
  6. Get better rest. Brightly lit screens and information overload are causing widespread sleep deprivation. Enhance the quality of your sleep by turning off your devices and focusing on truly resting.
  7. Become more productive. Reduce the distractions in your life. Clean out your garage instead of reading about the latest celebrity divorce or newest reality TV show.

How to Spend More Time Offline

  1. Set a curfew. Start by shutting off electronics a couple of hours before bed. You’ll fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
  2. Enlist support. Let your family, friends, and coworkers know you’ll be online less.
  3. Serve as a role model for your kids. Encourage your children to use technology more constructively. They’ll learn from your example. Wait until dinner is over to check your email. Stay off the phone while you’re driving.
  4. Ban the worst offender sites. Are there a few sites that eat up most of your time? Maybe you need to suspend your Reddit account, deactivate your Facebook page, or reduce your addiction to Pinterest.
  5. Time yourself. Decide in advance how long you’ll spend at the computer and stick to that schedule. Push yourself away when the hour is up.
  6. Schedule weekly dates. Fill your free time with regular appointments for getting together with friends. Host a Friday night poker game, a Saturday night potluck dinner, or a Sunday morning brunch.
  7. Switch to phone calls and visits. Pick up the phone instead of sending an email. Plan a trip to see your parents instead of relying on Skype.
  8. Go outside. Outdoor activities will help you forget about your smartphone for a while. Take your children for a hike in the nearest state park. Pack a picnic lunch. Sketch the scenery instead of taking photos.
  9. Exercise regularly. Exercise can take your mind off technology. Visit a yoga studio each morning or sign up for Cross Fit classes after work.
  10. Reward yourself. Reinforce your new habits by congratulating yourself on your progress. Buy some new sports gear or cook your favorite meal.

Take a break from your browser and explore the world firsthand. Your children grow up quickly, but those puppy videos will still be there when you get back.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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18 thoughts on “How to Spend More Time Offline Even if You Love Cute Puppy Videos

  1. It’s just incredible how much time being on line wastes – previously, the TV was the big time-waster, now it’s the Net – you raise very valid points!
    I find using an app to time myself to do a particular task, helps a great deal. Whether it’s checking my mail / social media or writing an article, knowing there’s a “deadline” helps me to focus and keeps me away from “quick”distractions.
    Thanks!
    Clare – EcoFriendlyLink.com recently posted…Green Tea Benefits the Whole FamilyMy Profile

  2. I agree with your assessment of spending more time offline. I like the part about face-to-face interactions create more intimacy and trust. Just having a few people who that you can directly interact with sure beats having a thousand Facebook friends you barely know.

    That brought to mind a commercial I saw where a adult daughter who was sitting all alone in her room connected online and was worried about her parents since she had thousands of Facebook friends and they only had a few. Then it showed her parents out with friends riding on trials, going out to dinner and having fun in real time. What the parents were doing was obviously the better choice. Thanks for sharing these pointers.
    Michel Snook recently posted…4 Parts to Affiliate Success Step 1My Profile

  3. It’s tough medicine you’re serving up, Mike. The benefits are definitely worth the time away from all of the distractions online. Thanks for the tips and the warnings. Great stuff as always.

  4. Great tips Mike, and just love those cute puppies! It can be so easy to spend way too much time indoors, and it often does take you the energy and effort to make a point to get outside. As you say visit friends and family in person instead of sending texts or using Skype. Thanks!
    Sue recently posted…SEO LeapfrogMy Profile

  5. Thank you mike, some good reminders I do think I have a good balance although I am very guilty of my youngest saying stop messing on your phone mummy.
    I totally agree with the reminder about real connections. My best friend is not on line she doesn’t even have an email account. Last night I spent an hour on the phone with her the best therapy for a long time and we didn’t spend time speaking about what was “trending” we spoke about real life.

  6. When I moved to the Netherlands a year ago, I quickly joined an International Women’s Club, and the various activities each month kept me busy and offline. With the summer holidays, less activities have been planned, thus I’ve been spending more time online! This post is quite timely for me, since just last night I hosted a scrapbooking session, and pulled out all of my photos that I’ve been meaning to organize for years! I left them on the dining room table last night, and am going to continue today!
    Michele TravelwithMrsT recently posted…Instagram and Related Apps: My Honest OpinionMy Profile