I won't apologize for often reminding myself that I used to be blog & internet obsessed. It's an easy thing to become wrapped up inside of and it's often hard to find a way out if you are always immersed. The summer of 2011 was my breaking point where I was able to finally break free and get away from it. Since then I have learned some things about balance and I thought I would share my thoughts. Simple thoughts.
1. Your online life is not just on your computer screen.
Online life is so much more than your computer and keyboard. It's on your tablet, cell phone, and in almost every restaurant or building you enter. There is always some sort of wifi everywhere which enables us to connect, download, and share even faster. Sometimes it's hard to understand that even zoning out on our cell phones while standing in line at the post office, at the grocery store, or while laying in bed at 11:30pm is STILL being connected.
2. Junk email is still email that your checking.
I always used to get this little "blip" alert on my cell phone to tell me that I had an email. I would/will always check it and when it's junk I get a little peeved. I don't like getting spam or junk email yet it somehow always infiltrates my inbox. So, maybe 10 times a day I was checking my email like "Hey! I got an email... blerg.. it's just crap!" What a waste of time.
3. Leaving too many tabs open is like having all your drawers open.
When we have too many things to focus on at once it can be overwhelming. Isn't it nice to walk into your kitchen and see everything put away nice and clean? It would be sort of anxiety inducing to see all the cabinets open, drawers open, waiting for something to happen. So why do we accept that as the norm when browsing the internet? Get one thing done at a time. I've read many articles on how multitasking with tabs is actually less efficient than just focusing on task at hand.
4. Window shopping is a good way to spend money.
Your internet browser is just like a giant window to the entire shopping world anyone could ever hope of dreaming of! It's easy, fast, open all day and all night... it's truly a shoppers wildest dream. However, with sources available such as Pinterest, Amazon (so amazing), and eBay... (did I forget Craigslist and online Facebook garage sale sites)... oh wait.. did I forget TeeFury, Woot... what else am I missing? Zulily? Fab.com? Gilt... hmm... I'm sure I left a ZILLION other websites out (Etsy). SO MANY DEALS! Don't miss out on them. That is the consumers mindset and it's reinforced by the idea that we are missing out on something SO fabulous. It's easy to get sucked in and start spending money. Also, with so many online bloggers, magazines, articles, and "wish lists" it's easy to find unique items that lots of people have. It's easy to get sucked into thinking we really want that too.
5. Social media can be more harmful than we'd like to think.
Do you keep up with blogs? Facebook? Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram? They are fun. You get to see people and their lives and what's more fun than peeping in on hundreds of lives everyday? It's fun to watch people change, grow, and add to their families. No lie about it, I love it and follow a fair share of people online. However, sometimes it's hard to compare, isn't it? Some people have the most amazing lives, they look perfect. Their photos, outfits, bodies, families, food, style, children, pets, vacations, stuff.. is coooooool. Too cool for school sometimes and that can make us feel like we aren't good enough. Like we aren't good moms, or we aren't doing enough to make our lives fantastic. How disfunctional! Even reading on Facebook via a constant stream of updates, photos, complaints, praises, arguments, political/religious arguments and so.much.more. It's hard to process it all. It's information overload. Not to mention the mindset that it requires to live like that. It's very hard to separate living from "creating a post" and that's where living becomes complicated.
So, you know what I like to do to keep from being overwhelmed by all this? Balance it all and make sure I'm not leaning too heavy on one side or another.
- Turn your phone on silent. Put it in another room. Leave your phone in your purse all day. Only check it when you get a call or message. Stop playing games (my weakness) and turn off all your alerts & push notifications so you aren't bothered all day by a buzzing phone in your pocket.
- Unsubscribe from all the emails that you are deleting without reading. Just click it and get it over with. No reason to be wasting all that precious time just *sighing* about how annoying it is.
- Close up your tabs. All at once if you have to! Just keep one open at a time. Finish each task and then move onto the next. You will get things done so much quicker. Like tabs? Then bookmark stuff and come back to it later. It's not worth jumbling everything up by having too much stuff. You only have 2 eyes, and 1 brain. Take it easy and stop overwhelming yourself.
- This could go hand and hand with #2. Unsubscribe from daily emails you get from shopping websites, uninstall the apps on your phone that alert you to new deals, if you must check certain websites then just bookmark them (in your browser) and check them when you are on your computer. Shopping on your phone or tablet is a surefire way to impulse buy, but if you think about it and come back to it later you may have less of a chance of spending money that you'd rather spend on necessities instead. I even go so far as to fill up my shopping cart with things I like and then when I'm done and looking at that horrendous grand total I just close the tab. It's bittersweet, but it's easier than buying that stuff and I'm a whole lot richer (yeah, right...) and I felt good because I looked at stuff I liked.
- This one takes a lot more self control. When you choose to stop looking at blogs & social media it takes your own personal restraint. There is not much you can do to stop doing it (besides getting rid of the internet completely) and that's just how it is. If you want that change, you have to make it for yourself. I find it the easiest to ONLY follow the people online that I really really like. I don't just follow someone because they follow me, I don't just like popular photos because everyone else does. I just follow who I like, people who make me happy, and I like to surround myself with positive friends.
Those are just my 2 cents regarding living more simply offline. Sometimes it takes removing some online preoccupations and obligations to feel less stress in your daily life. It's amazing how free you will feel once you decide to give it up and how giving it up doesn't affect you as much as you would think.
Freedom is bliss!