Many experts and psychologist are now taking serious a new disorder that they are beginning to call communicative enslavement. With the easy accessibility of the internet, we can find ourselves slave to the internet, email and even texting.
While it is not inherently bad to use a tool that easily put you in touch with others, many of us find ourselves spending hours a day enslaved to the internet. The information age has become the over-stimulated age. We are bombarded on a regular basis with messages, products, videos, and news.
I realize this might comes across hypocritical from a blogger, but I am speaking to myself as I type this. Over the past few weeks, I have become increasingly aware of the need to go on an “internet diet.” It is so easy to start out online with a useful task and find that you are so far off in left field wondering how you ever ventured to a YouTube video on “cool dog tricks.”
I believe that there are 3 areas that can become potential problems if we are not careful:
- Internet Addiction – as I have already eluded to this addiction is becoming wide spread at a rapid pace. There are now internet addiction treatment centers that you can go to for help. People of all ages have become addicted to online videos, gambling, gaming, and much more. Bottom line is there is help for internet addiction if you need it.
- Email Addiction – this is an area that I constantly have to check myself. I even have a few different email address to complicate the matter even worse. There was a time when I was willing to get on any and every email list so that I could learn as much about blogging and online business as possible. What ended up happening was that I was getting further from my goals. I was now having to sift through all the hype and junk that was sent to my inbox. Meanwhile, important email was getting buried by accident.
- Texting Addiction – If you do not think that this has become a problem than why all the TV ads telling people to stop texting while they are driving? Is your life worth getting that text off in the next 5 minutes? Many automobile accidents and deaths have been related to texting while driving. Not only that, but I know a mother and daughter who text rather than talk in their own home!
5 Ways to Stay Sane in the (Always on) Digital Age
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If you want to stay sane in the “always on” digital age, then here are 5 things I’d recommend you try:
1. Take a 24 hour internet siesta
I have been doing this weekly and it has been so beneficial. This was initially difficult for me to do. I have several active blogs that I am adding content to on a regular basis. There are important emails from blog readers, clients and customers that I want to see the moment they come in.
Instead of looking at the negative side, I choose to look at the upside. The upside is that after 24 hours I get to check in and see all of the exciting emails that I haven’t read in 24 hours. The bottom line is get outside, go for a walk, throw football with your kids, enjoy sitting on a park bench, and read a book on your front porch. Take a 24 hour technology fast once a week and refresh your spirit.
2. Set hard guidelines about checking email
I once had a very bad habit with email. I would check it first thing in the morning. When I say first thing, I really do mean first thing (the moment my eyes open). It was pretty bad.
What happened was that I quickly found myself heading down a rabbit trail I really didn’t want to go down. An hour later I am wondering where my time went. Now, I will not check my email in the morning until I complete 3 important tasks for the day, which is normally writing new blog posts.
3. Add SaneBox to your email
For the past several months I have been using SaneBox and it has completely freed me from email overwhelm. It wasn’t unusual for me to spend 30-45 minutes in the morning working through email. Because of SaneBox, I’m done in less than 10 minutes.
SaneBox helps you train the emails you want to see now versus those you want to see later. I have a SaneLater folder that collects a majority of my email. At 4:00 every afternoon, I receive a summary email that lists all of the new email that has been sent to my SaneLater folder. I can’t tell you how much time this has saved me.
4. Use a service like AwayFind
AwayFind is a service that will help you to better unplug from email even further. One of our biggest excuses is that if we do not check our email often we will miss an important email.
With AwayFind, you can let them know which names, subject lines, or email addresses are the most important to you. When you get an email from them, it will send you a text message. I have used this system with great success. Now, I have the peace of mind that I need.
5. Find a healthy habit to replace it
We often get pulled to our laptop, tablet, or iPhone because we don’t know what to do with our time instead. This is why “on purpose” you need to have some healthy habits to do instead.
When is the last time you sat on your porch and got lost in a good book? Grab a novel and enjoy reading. I love reading biographies. It can be incredibly inspiring to read about the lives of other people.
Whether you try one of these 5 tips or not, you need to have a plan. If you don’t have a plan you will fall into a terrible habit some experts have called “screen sucking.” Wasting hours a day staring at your computer screen.
Question: What ways have helped you to unplug from the “always on” digital age? You can leave a comment by clicking here.