The internet without doubt a very valuable tool and when used correctly can be a great boost to productivity. But when used incorrectly it can cost the user a lot of time. Many people find that whilst they are online doing the things they should be doing such as checking emails or doing some job related research, they find themselves reading their Facebook updates and watching cute cat videos.
What could you achieve with the time you waste online? The suggestions that follow will help you get offline, become more productive and enjoy life more.
Why spending less time online good for you
Be Happier. Research has shown that Facebook plays on our natural tendency to compare ourselves to others which sometimes leaves us feeling as though we aren’t good enough. Look at your own life and focus on what you have achieved, rather than the achievements of online friends.
Boost self esteem. Do you spend time altering your pictures so that you look your best before putting them online? Look in the mirror and appreciate the image you see, even if it happens to be a bad hair day.
Enhance your face to face relationships. In case you aren’t aware your online contacts differ from your real world contacts. Face-to-face relationships are more intimate and trusting. Having a few real friends who are willing to help you in times of trouble beats having thousands of Facebook friends that you barely know.
Be Authentic. Whilst online many people use the amount of friends and fans that they have as a confidence booster and often become a person that they aren’t. It’s more satisfying to be the real you, expressing your true feelings and standing up for your values.
Communicate with more tact. It is easy to post comments online without really considering how they may be received as there is a certain amount of anonymity. We are more inclined to think of the consequences when chatting with your friends over coffee.
Sleep better at night. Sleep specialists are writing more and more about how the brightly lit screens of your computers, tablets and phones are causing widespread sleep deprivation. Spending more time offline or at least turning them off earlier will help to enhance the quality of your sleep and focusing on truly resting.
Become more productive. Reducing the distractions in your life will help you to become more productive. Why not consider tidying the office rather than reading about the latest celebrity divorce or newest reality TV show.
How to Spend More Time Offline and become more productive
Set an evening curfew. Switch off your electronic devices two hours before you go to bed, you’ll fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Tell others. Let your family, friends, and coworkers know you’ll be online less, that way they won’t get upset when they have to contact you via phone rater than through the latest social media message.
Become a role model for your kids. Help your children to be more constructive in the way they use technology. Set an example, don’t check your email whilst at the dinner table or answer your phone whilst driving.
Deactivate or suspend some social accounts. Do you spend a disproportionate amount of time on a few sites? Maybe you should suspend your LinkedIn account, deactivate your Facebook page, or reduce your addiction to Twitter.
Set an online Timeframe. Make a decision in advance about how long you will stay online and stick to it. Be strict with yourself
Schedule time with family and friends. Fill your free time with regular appointments for getting together with friends and family. Schedule a date night or day with your partner. Arrange a Sunday morning brunch with your children.
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.
Enjoy the outdoors. When completing outdoor activities, leave your smartphone at home once in a while. Pack a picnic lunch and take your children for a walk.
Exercise. Taking part in exercise can take your mind off technology. Take a yoga class a few times a week or sign up for Cross Fit classes after work.
Reward yourself. Once you start to implement these new habits and become more productive don’t be afraid to give yourself a reward, cook yourself a meal or maybe go out for a meal.
Taking a break from technology will allow you to become more productive and also to enjoy the world firsthand. Don’t be so engrossed with technology that you miss the things that are going on around you, such as your children growing up quickly, you can always watch the cute cat videos another time.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor