In case you didn’t read my last post, I’ve just attempted to spend twenty days without internet. The only exception is school and music (I play instruments, so online sheet music is my saviour).
In today’s post, I wanted to discuss my experience, some lessons I learned and my new approach in future.
(Oh, and by the way, I’ve decided to start doing a 30-second recap at the end of all my posts. Scroll down if you’re in a hurry, but still want to read this)
Let’s start with a little background. I’ve been getting into some bad habits recently, and the worst one was getting stuck in the black hole that is YouTube. I’d log on just to watch a new video I’ve been wanting to see, or do some research, and end up clicking onto 45-minute vines and suchlike. It was useless, it was mindless, and I was losing an hour or so almost every day to YouTube videos.
I was hoping that by taking time off the internet, I could get back into productivity, and perhaps learn something from it. I have to say, I was astonished by the amount of time I had. Homework was done quickly, I could exercise and then do an hour of music practice.
If I had to use the internet, I went online with a purpose. Yes, I didn’t fully stick to my plan, because I did watch a YouTube video once, but that’s because I wanted to find out information. So I suppose it was educational. And if I used the internet for something not related to school, it was usually because I needed to find out something, for example an event that was on, or the like.
Yes, I slipped up here and there. A fun game my little sister wanted to play on my device lost me twenty minutes one Thursday afternoon. But as far as I’m concerned, this was my first time doing such a challenge, and I did better than I thought I would.
Coming back on the internet
I had originally planned to go back on the 16th of April, but I hadn’t realized that it was a Monday. I had seen notifications come up when I used the internet for school, so I knew there were over a hundred emails waiting for me in my inbox. Sorting through them quickly on a Monday wasn’t going to happen, so I made the choice to get a head start and catch up on what I missed today, instead of on Monday.
But I’m fine with that. I will be away later this week, and will only be bringing my Kindle to read, so there’ll be no internet on those two or three days. I’ve caught up with my emails now, and intend to finish all my catching up by Sunday night.
Lessons I’ve learned
We all need to take break from being online. I didn’t realize how much I needed it until now, and I’m so happy I did. If you’ve been finding yourself slacking recently, or being lazy, shut down your devices and turn off your phone. You’ll thank me for it.
And if you have any FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) – chill. Instagram will survive without you, and your blog isn’t going to lose its traffic. Well, mine didn’t, anyway.
Use the internet with a purpose. This has been a complete breakthrough for me – I never realized how much of my internet time consisted of mindless scrolling and watching silly videos, rather doing proper things like writing a blog post, or working on projects.
Try writing out a list of what you need to do before opening your browser. This is a good idea to try, as you set out with specific tasks in mind, and will at least get these done before the funny cat videos.
(If you’re still having trouble, install a website blocker. Chrome users, head to chrome.google.com/webstore and go to “Extensions.” Type “website blocker” into the search box. Personally, I like the extensions Forest and Website Blocker)
Turn off your notifications. All they really do is distract you if you’re doing a task, because they immediately prompt you to see a new email, who followed you, or who liked your post. There’s really no sense in that. If you must have them on, make it rule not to check your device every time there’s a little ding or pop-up.
Still unsure? I’m a case study – turning off notifications was the best decision I ever made. Now, the only time I see my emails is when I actually set out to check them all in one go, usually mid-morning on a weekend, or after homework in the evening.
Have a set time to check email. This ties in with turning off notifications – rather than constantly check every time there’s another pop-up, do everything in one go.
Once you open your inbox, have a first quick scan, and immediately delete anything you won’t be opening. Next, go through each email, and if it requires an action, do it immediately. I for one am not an advocate of archiving or moving to “Action” folders. Get it done, now. This also includes responding to emails.
When you’ve taken action, trash the email (unless you need to keep it, of course). The key is to pretend you’re a robot, and just go through each email quickly and efficiently.
So, I’m back. And I’m full of fire and energy, ready to start bring meaningful content to your inbox/Reader once again.
Some posts you can expect soon:
- My spring capsule wardrobe
- Minimalism online + on your computer
- Online intentions (using the internet intentionally)
Plus I have other ideas about minimalism, natural-makeup-that’s-not-makeup, harnessing lunar energies, and more… click SUBSCRIBE (sidebar) and you can be notified when I have new posts up.
Yesterday was my two-year anniversary on WordPress! For anyone who’s been with me since I began with Of Pens & Paper, thank you for your dedication. And indeed, to everyone who’s even visited my Homepage: thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to discover so much about myself, share advice, and learn an incredible amount of information.
As great as my digital break was, it’s nice to be back blogging again. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss all my new posts coming. Oh, and let me know in a comment: what topics would you like me to discuss? I’d like to get some reader opinions.
- An internet detox is something everyone needs – I don’t regret mine at all…
- …but it’s okay if you slip up. Just keep going.
- Use the internet with a purpose!
- Turn off notifications.
- Check email at a set time, and go through it quickly, properly, and efficiently.
- It was my 2-year WordPress anniversary yesterday…
- …thank you for all you’ve made possible.
- Let me know in the comments what topics you’d like to see discussed.