Someone once said that time is one of the most precious assets in life. Everyone’s time is limited, and I shudder to think about how much time I’ve wasted mindlessly on the internet.
Don’t get me wrong, the internet has allowed me to connect with individuals who I wouldn’t have known otherwise, it’s allowed me to take online classes and read some great blogs. Many people rely on the internet to generate an income. The internet is not all bad, but when used mindlessly, it can certainly suck up your time and your life.
I am making a conscious effort this year to be more mindful about my internet use.
For the past decade, I’ve spent essentially half of my life on the internet. As a result, I’ve developed a pain in my neck, poorer eye sight, disrupted sleep patterns, poorer habits and increased stress.
I’ve spent less time with my family, been short with them because I was too deeply involved in the happenings of the internet world, instead of the offline world, which is more real. I’ve neglected my hobbies, including writing and ironically blogging. Although I’m slowly picking up blogging again, I’ve been away from the blog for a while. Yet, I haven’t been away from the internet.
Mindless internet use may mean something different to everyone, but generally this is what I consider mindless internet use:
- Endless hours on social media, checking status updates
- Online shopping and browsing without a purpose
- Searching random things online
- Watching junk, trashy reality shows on streaming websites
- Anything that doesn’t enrich the mind or add value to your life
- Anything that doesn’t have a purpose or end in sight
- Going on free online dating websites with the hope of meeting a quality mate (lol!)
- Anything that is not beneficial to overall well being (for some people this may include watching destructive, racist YouTube videos, unknowingly reading false news stories or conspiracy websites, watching violent/degrading pornography or casual sex websites)
Can you relate to any of these mindless internet time wasters? I certainly can.
I don’t want to live my life and think back on how I spent it mostly on the internet doing nothing and neglecting the things that really matter in life. Yet, most people need the internet for work or to take online classes, to view cooking or instructional videos etc. Sometimes the internet can be a good tool for connecting with friends who live a distance away.
Initially, I attempted to go cold turkey and cut out internet for a while, but this backfired because I couldn’t benefit from useful resources, like educational documentaries, online classes etc.
So now, I’ve set a goal to develop a mindful/ digitally minimalist internet mindset. To aid my journey, I will be reading the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.
I’ve set the following goals for myself:
- Spend more time with my family
- Indulge my hobbies, like the arts, crafting, writing, playing the piano
- Get out into the world and enjoy nature
- Develop real intimacy with real people
- Give my eyes and neck a break
- When I go onto the internet, have a purpose, such as to watch an educational documentary or a wholesome movie, take an online class, do professional tasks or connect with friends/family
- Set time limits on non-essential social media use
My start up plan:
- I’ve already set up my phone and computer to give me downtime for 30 minutes before bed.
- I’ve blocked certain non-beneficial/ addicting websites.
- I’ve started reading before going to bed, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- I will be reading Digital Minimalism.
- I will schedule time where I just focus on my non-internet hobbies.
- I will develop guidelines/ a schedule for internet use.
So, I will be doing some book reviews in the coming weeks and this will include tips and a review about the Digital Minimalism book.
- Do any of you struggle with mindless internet use? Do any of you have any suggestions for how to curb neck pain from computer/looking down at a screen constantly?
- Do you ever long for the days before cell phones, WIFI, social media and being constantly wired up?