Every now and then I like to take an internet break. I love to completely unplug from the virtual world and connect with family, friends and the environment. My best ideas and creativity come when I’m away from technology, and too much time online makes me feel busy and restless.
I haven’t been online very much of late. It wasn’t intentional, I just got swept away with a book and the fresh air of the Cotswolds (see photos). We all know too much screen time isn’t good for us, but it’s not always easy to find the perfect balance. Especially when, like me, you have a blog and a day job.
I’m always looking for ways to simplify my time online, and after a little internet break, I thought I’d share what I do to push back. Don’t get me wrong, I love the web, it’s just good to have a digital detox once in a while.
I ruthlessly filter every email that arrives in my inbox. By taking a few moments to unsubscribe, or mark as spam, I’ve cut incoming emails by roughly a third. I also set a little time each day to check and respond to every email, and when this is complete I file them. It’s a little obsessive, but I love a clear inbox!
2. Simplify notifications
The only phone notifications I have activated are texts and tweets. That way I’m not tempted to pick up my phone every time it flashes. And when I’m out my mobile tends to stay in my bag to stop me aimlessly scrolling through social media, and missing the world around me.
3. Limit sharing
This year I cut back on what I post and share. In the past, I’ve certainly posted and tweeted things that weren’t necessary. And there’s enough random online noise without me adding to it! Although I love to be part of the online community, I no longer feel I have to participate all day long.
4. Limit following
As much as I’d love to follow every newsfeed, blog and inspirational Instagram account there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
5. No internet before 9 am or after 10 pm
When this is possible it makes a huge difference. The early hours are precious and I like to plan my day without distractions. I prefer a slow paced morning, and if I see what the world is doing before I’ve even got out of bed I can feel completely overwhelmed. I also like to fully unwind before I go to bed, and that means unplugging. Sorry, internet.
6. Enjoy internet free days because they’re invigorating!
Although my recent digital detox wasn’t intentional, I try to have time away as often as I can. Taking a step back makes me assess what I miss and what I don’t. And I’d rather my ideas come from my relationship with the real world than the online one.
And finally, when I’m online I try to take plenty of breaks. Looking out of the window at something in the distance is kind to my eyes.
Have you reached a happy internet / life balance?
This post is in collaboration with White Stuff.