It is somewhat impossible to switch off when your life is literally online. Think about it. I work online and spend most of my free time online in some sense. Just note, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. I feel that’s just the way society is evolving. However, there are certain questions we face in day to day life. How much time online is too much time? What’s healthy and what’s not?
Since I started working in digital marketing, I’ve been really conscious about how much time I’m spending online. A few month ago, I started to get this strong desire and need to balance my online and offline time a little bit more evenly.
I’m not entirely sure why or what moment caused it, but it just started to creep up and become and continuous thought in my mind. However, saying you want to do something and then actually doing it are two different concepts. I can tell you right now, one is incredibly more challenging than the other.
But, I remember sitting there in late March, thinking about ways I could manage my time effectively and allow my brain and body to have that offline time it had started to crave. Then, three things started to happen.
3 steps that helped me change
One, I decided to set myself the challenge of coming away from my laptop and only occasionally looking at my phone after 10pm. I decided to be really realistic with this. While I would love to come off my phone completely, that really not the lifestyle, that myself or my surrounding friends live. However, I only looked at my phone to set an alarm, and I would only reply to a conversation if it was really needed. Needless to say my communication went down loads, and I would spend the last hour or so before bed occupied with non-digital things, It was my gentle wind down before bed.
Taking a walk
Two, I actually got a Fitbit for my birthday. Completely random but it’s actually been really helpful for getting me outside. So as I’m sure you know a Fitbit helps track how many steps you walk etc. So I decided that I had to do a least 10,000 steps a day. Anything less was just not acceptable. So in the evenings around 7pm, if I still have a little way to go to hit my target, I’ll take a little walk around my neighbourhood to bring my count up. We actually have a really lovely little nature park where I live so it’s really nice and therapeutic to get out.
I’ve been doing this every week night and have really started to notice a slight change in my mood once I come back from my walk, I’m no longer as tired as I usually am in the evening and I feel slightly more productive. I do listen to music or call a friend while I’m out walking, but I’m technically not online, which works for me.
Three, I started to plan ahead. I know some of you won’t like this one but I was born to work alongside a plan. I feel I perform better and more efficiently if I know:
- What I need to do
- When I need to do it by
- How it needs to be done
Even if it’s just me planning a leisurely day, I’ll like to have something to work through. It’s also rewarding for my personality to see how much I’ve done and realise I’ve not wasted a day.
Planning ahead has also made me see what I need to get done online before 10pm and my no phone/computer rule sets in. That has been an amazing incentive to not waste time on the internet. I’m no longer refreshing the same page or jus blankly waiting for a boohoo page to load, just because, (boohoo I still love you)
How I feel now
So let’s summarise. I’ve been practising these three things solidly for the last month or so. So far I’ve learned a little about myself and my mindset, which has actually made me really happy. Lastly, I’ve learned that if I Push myself to be a little bit more organised, I can accomplish everything I need to while still giving my body and brain that much needed time off in the evening.
While I know I haven’t quite got the balance I’m looking for, I do also know that I’m on taking the right steps to get there. I’m really happy with that. My mood is lighter yet I can still enjoy my life online. It’s a win, win right?