How to Prevent the Internet From Taking Over Your Life

How I get back on track after overindulging in the wonders of the internet

Sobaan Saeed
ILLUMINATION

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Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

Time is the most valuable resource that you have and very few of us seem to remember that.

We spend so much of our lives now connected to the internet. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’m really grateful for what the internet has contributed to my life.

I do think we have to learn how to manage and maintain our digital spaces much as we do with our physical spaces.

A quote from the book “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday really stuck out to me,

Endless pleasure becomes its own form of punishment.

Today I want to talk about having the right habits with regard to technology. You may not be able to apply all these rules to your life depending on what you do.

But I think we can all do at least some of these things. So let’s dive into it.

Do not check social media or email until noon

This started off as fun, I wasn’t expecting the incredible impact that this had on me.

Having a parameter, like this allowed me to focus on myself and start off my day in a calm and centered way.

Before doing this, what would happen to me was that I would be scrolling through social media or emails, and then 5 minutes turn into hours.

So with this rule, I spend the first 5 to 6 hours of the day not even thinking about what’s going on online.

I love this because I can say that the morning is mine, I can do whatever I want at that time. One minor exception to this is the fact that I do sometimes post content on social media in the morning.

Do not check social media or email while in bed

In an attempt to differentiate what I do for a living from my personal life, which by the way the two got completely blurred.

Creating boundaries is huge, that’s how I came up with the idea of this rule. A physical location where the chaos that happens online cannot follow me is a really comforting thought.

Either my phone is on Do not Disturb when it’s next to me on my nightstand or I’ve been experimenting with placing my phone on the other end of the room, so there’s an extra bit of added distance.

Look at your food while you’re eating

Far too often, I sat down to eat and pulled out a video to watch, and before I knew it the food was gone and I didn’t get a chance to enjoy it. My focus was elsewhere.

Food brings me a lot of joy and I just feel like it was such a shame that I was doing that.

This is just something that I’ve been doing and I like to think about where the food came from, what went into preparing it, and everything that took place for this place to end up in front of me.

Once again, it’s another opportunity to practice mindfulness.

Track and limit your time on social media

I recently tracked my time throughout an entire week.

More than anything, it gave me perspective on where my time and energy are going, and to be perfectly honest with you, the results were pretty disappointing.

Since then, I’ve been a lot more intentional about limiting my time on social media and email to at most an hour a day.

It’s pretty incredible to think about this but almost none of the messages that you receive require an immediate response. At least for me, it’s easily under 5%.

So what I started to do is to take a couple of minutes a day to respond to all of my messages. This has been spectacular. I would highly recommend trying this.

Set a deadline every day

This is really important to me because I find that if I don’t do that I go to bed with my mind still wired up and it makes falling asleep a lot more difficult.

Now, I would treat these guidelines like a list of suggestions. Make it a personal experiment, and see what works for you. These might be difficult changes to make at first, but trust me it does get easier.

Just remember this: Endless pleasure becomes its own form of punishment.

I think that’s a fantastic reminder when I get a little bit off track with things.

I’ve been sharing all the things that I’ve done to organize my life and have a healthy relationship with my digital life.

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