8 Ways to Cope with Technology Overload
We live in a world of super speed and instant gratification. We have instant connection with all the people we love through our smartphones but still we feel lonelier than ever. We have everything we “need” one click away but still we feel restless and unfulfilled.
Technology has of course brought us many amazing things, but it has also brought us so many unimportant things that continue to steal our time and make us feel like we wasted a lifetime watching cat videos.
Recently I’ve taken a few steps to conquer this thing, that seems to have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. So here we go!
Admit that you have no self-control
I’m telling you this with my whole heart. Self-control is overrated! So actually, admitting that you don’t have the self-control you tell yourself you have is the most important step. You have the need to click that link. When you start, there is no going back and the websites are not helping us, auto-playing the next video or showing you all kinds of interesting articles to read next. You don’t have what it takes to stop yourself, till way to late, after spending way too much time in that loophole.
Design your environment to your advantage
This article sums it well up! Our choice of what we do is highly influenced on our environment, and making it easier for us to do the stuff that is good for us, than the stuff that is bad for us, is a good start. I have changed the whole set-up of my phone, putting Pocket on my front page, where I’ll read all kinds of nice articles, meanwhile Instagram and Facebook are hidden away in a folder far back called “Timewasters”. And it works! The past week I’ve read more articles and spent way less time scrolling up and down social media (where you always end up seeing the same things over and over again and get bored anyway!).
Do you need all these notifications?
This is possibly my most powerful change so far. I turned off ALL notifications on my phone. Yes, all. Now my phone only makes a sound if somebody calls me or an alarm goes off. And how refreshing it is! Yes, maybe I’m not as up-to-date as I used to. I probably answer messages later than before, but does it matter? If there is something that needs to be fixed right away people will call me. I do not need to answer all messages and emails instantly! (or check out the “this one posted this!” meaningless notifications from some other apps). Which brings me to the next point.
Do you need to have your phone by your side all the time?
At this very moment, my phone is right next to me. It would take me less than a second to grab it. Why? I don’t know really, I don’t have any notifications anymore and I can see the time on my computer. There is absolutely no need for my phone there. Would it be so horrible if I needed to stand up to answer, if so would happen that anyone would call me? Don’t you think that because my phone is so close I am more likely to open it just to do something, just anything, to procrastinate a little bit? I believe so. Or I know it because before when I was attempting to study, I was constantly opening my no-notification phone, and I know I would never walked across the room to do the exact same thing. (And the fact that I had Messenger open on my computer made this all the weirder, there was absolutely no need for my phone there, habits have immense power!).
Take some time without the internet
I would not be writing this article right now if I had the change to meaninglessly scroll up and down Facebook, that is a fact! So, make some rules and stick to them. From now on I turn off the internet on my computer and phone at 9 pm. You could look at this as something bad, that you are taking something away from you, but I see it the other way. I am giving myself time. Time to do whatever I want, for myself. I will write, I will read, I will crochet, I will yoga and I will, without a doubt, go to bed earlier. This internet-free time will not be broken until tomorrow morning, AFTER I’ve gone out of bed, done my yoga and gotten dressed. (That is the biggest trap I fall into, and hours can pass on my phone in the morning, without me leaving the bed).
If needed, make drastic measures
Imagine taking a whole day without internet. What would you do? I know that a day without the internet would be a very productive day for me, that is if I don’t need the internet to achieve these things. As a Masters student, I don’t have the time (yet!) to take a whole day without the internet or technology in general, but this will happen, I’ve promised myself that. If you have the chance, challenge yourself to an internet free day, and see what happens! I´m sure you won’t regret it.
Use technology to your advantage
Ironically, there are a lot of options out there to use technology to stay away from it. Currently I am using a Chrome plug-in that will block access to the web at 9 pm, and that way help me to keep to my promise. I literally cannot access the web until 8 am tomorrow morning, which feels quite relaxing, actually. It can feel very relieving to disconnect from time to time, making time for other things. That leads me to the last point.
Connect to actual, real-life people
Try to do more of actual meet-ups with the people you love in your life. And when technology is needed, use video calls or voice messages instead of writing. Make an effort to connect, using the internet to your advantage. Feel blessed to be connected to all these beautiful people just one click away, but at the same time be mindful of how the social media is affecting you, making sure that you feel more connected, not less.
Well if you reached the end of this post, congratulations! Thank you for staying with me all this time, apparently, I had much more to say about this subject than I expected to.
So over to you! How is your experience of technology, and how do you make sure that you control it, rather than it controlling you?