The Internet is driving us all insane. Social media is a toxic thought-toilet. As stated in October’s newsletter, here are my “good practice” tips for digital sanity. I’ll add to these occasionally, so feel free to comment or suggest your own.
- Delete as many social media accounts as possible. Think how much time you’ll free up! How much less anxiety you’ll feel!
- If you can’t face deleting all your social media accounts, pick one or two platforms that you get most benefit from, and try to work out how best to enjoy them. For instance, I have a Facebook page (to promote my writing, chat with people about philosophy), but not Facebook friends (so avoiding getting drawn into online dramas, spats, toxic news sharing). On Twitter, I use uBlock Origin, which is an add-on for most browsers, acting as an add blocker, privacy protector, but also allowing you to filter out bits of page content you don’t like (such as trending topics on Twitter).
- Block or unfollow annoying people, and mute people whose posts you don’t enjoy (even if only temporarily – they won’t know). Try to interact more with positive and interesting people. Consider making your Twitter account private, so that you only connect with those you really value.
- Limit your time online. Check email/social media at a certain time of day or week. Notice how you feel before and after – you may be surprised what a difference it makes.
- Replace online time with things you want to achieve or spend more time doing. To motivate you, have a look at these apps that tell you how long you spend on certain sites, as well as the Humane Technology Project’s Moment app. Things you could do with that time: learn a language, work out, read a book, write a book, draw, paint, go for a walk, have a conversation, play a board game, garden, sing, bake, sew, play music, listen to an audio book, listen to the radio, knit…
- Have more routine. Switch off your phone or computer at a certain time of evening to allow your mind to settle. When doing something on the computer that doesn’t require internet connection, switch off wi-fi so you’re not distracted by notifications or the temptation to browse idly. There are certain apps that even do this for you.
- Try to go online with a purpose, as opposed to out of mindless habit – even if that purpose is just to browse idly for half an hour. If you go on YouTube, then don’t let the algorithm dictate what you watch. Develop intent, make lists of things to watch or read. Set aside time to do those things.
- Don’t use your phone in bed. Switch it off at night, or set it to “priority only” in case of emergency calls or messages from friends or relatives. Avoid taking your phone in the bath or the toilet!
- Reduce email clutter. Archive everything in your inbox that you may need, and delete everything else. Only keep those things that need action (hmm, I think that may be what “inbox” means…). It’s a lot of initial effort, but it really makes a huge difference.
That’s all for now. Feel free to email me suggestions.