3 Buffet Strategies That Can Help Cut Back Screen Time

Tips for reducing your time online.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@pineapple

Imagine walking into a restaurant and seeing the biggest buffet ever. There are tables and tables of food, as far as you can see. And they are covered with everything imaginable — from American BBQ to Indian curries, from fresh and healthy to sinfully decadent, and everything in between. You see so many of your favourite dishes and many others that are unfamiliar but tempting all the same. And best of all, it’s all-you-can-eat!

Now what do you do? Most people would dive right in, start with a little of this and a little of that until their plate is practically overflowing. Then they would go back for more, plate after plate, because it tastes so good and there are so many options, until they leave having overeaten and feeling disgusting. What starts out as an enjoyable experience could easily turn into a gastronomic nightmare.

I liken this experience to the Internet. Instead of food, it offers an unlimited amount of information on an all-you-can-eat basis. It’s up to us to determine what our limits are and too often we can’t control ourselves. We go online for one thing, see something else that looks interesting, follow endless links and completely lose track of time. While this doesn’t leave us feeling disgusting like overeating does, it definitely can have a negative impact on our relationships, productivity, sleep, and general emotional wellbeing.

Now admittedly, I’m not a big fan of buffets. I find the volume of food overwhelming so I prefer to order off a menu but sometimes they are unavoidable. So, over the years, I have developed a few strategies to help me cope with the vastness they offer and walk away feel satisfied, instead of sick to my stomach. I think these strategies could also be helpful in reducing our Internet consumption, so we spend less time online.

  1. Have an intention: At buffets, I specify an intention or a goal that I focus on achieving. For example, when I took a cruise a few years ago, I had to navigate my way through a breakfast buffet every morning. I chose to focus on eating a certain mix of protein and carbs so my body was prepared for the workout I was going to do at the gym after. Before you go online, be clear about what it is you’re going online for. If you need to, write it down so you can refer to it if you find yourself wandering off on a tangent. Once you’ve achieved what you originally set out to do, stop and unplug.
  2. Limit yourself: If available, I will choose a smaller plate at buffets and if I go back for seconds, they must be healthy options. As for dessert, I only allow myself one — it can be one serving of something I love or two half servings. With the Internet, you can impose limitations in a number of ways. For example, only go online during certain times of day or for a specified period of time. Consider setting an alarm so you know when your time’s up.
  3. Know yourself: After some rather unpleasant experiences, I have learned that my stomach just can’t handle rich foods. I keep this in mind as I work my way through the buffet so I make choices that won’t make my stomach churn later. You may not think about it much, but you probably have an inkling about what distracts you online. For many people it’s social media, a game or their In Box. So keep that in mind and navigate the web with intention, avoiding or resisting those distractions whenever possible.

I hope these strategies help you both online and on the less frequent occasions when you happen to find yourself facing a buffet. Bon appétit!

Originally published at www.vigeo.ca.