10 Ways to Spend Less Time Online

Think you don’t spend that much time online? Think again! The average American who uses the Internet for fun spends 100 minutes a day on it. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot – but that’s time we used to spend on necessary basics like sleep, conversing with others and housework. And let’s face it – if you clicked on this article, chances are, you already think that you’re spending way too much online and don’t know how to stop. Luckily, we have 10 tips to help you get back in touch with the real world.

1. Know how much time you’re spending online.

The vast majority of us don’t think we spend that much time online – which is why we need a major reality check. There are several tech tools that will tell you exactly what you’re doing on your computer. Try timeStats or RescueTime. Want to stay low-tech? Get an egg timer, set it for 30 minutes and get surfing. You’ll be shocked at how little time flew by and be forced to confront how much time you really spend on the a Internet.

2. Cut yourself off.

If you were shocked by the above sentence, you’re a prime candidate for this tip! Basically, you need to remind yourself that there is life outside of the Internet. So pick a day and spend all 24 hours of it offline! You can use your computer as long as you don’t go online, and your phone only for texts and calls. Notify your contacts and consider setting up an out-of-office email alert. Sure, this will be tough – but you need to remind yourself it’s still possible. For best results, take note of how many times you wanted to check your phone or email and compare the number to your next digital detox. (Yes, we recommend making this a regular occurrence, although the frequency is up to you.) Sound too hard? Try checking your phone for one minute. Then, leave the phone face-down in plain sight for 15 minutes! Over time, doing this will train your brain to relax even when you’re not constantly checking your phone.

3. Make it hard to access.

One major problem with the Internet is that it’s constantly available. You can get online with just a few swipes of your finger – so make the process as difficult as possible. Turn off your devices when you’re done using them. Leave your phone at home when you run errands or hit the gym. And type in your passwords to log into social media websites, instead of saving the passwords on your browser! Doing so will also protect your online privacy, too.

4. Schedule it.

A great way to limit your web-surfing time is to schedule it. You could say that you’re only allowed to go online for 2 hours after work, for example. Another possibility is to go the opposite route: instead of deciding when you’re allowed to go online, decide when you can’t. Why not ban online activity before 9AM and after 10PM? Do you need the web for work? You can’t get offline totally, so instead establish scheduled breaks, like 10 minutes off for every 50 minutes online. And for best results, stand up and move around during those breaks! You’ll be healthier, and the breaks will help you be more efficient and productive during work time.

5. Get an offline life.

Far too many of us waste time on the Internet when we don’t know what else to do. That’s why it’s crucial to fill up the free time you used to spend on the Internet with offline activities. Call your long-distance BFF instead of liking her Instagrams. Write a list of people you’ve been meaning to talk to and make concrete plans with them. Go to the gym. Get a hobby that doesn’t involve your computer – like coloring or playing an instrument. You’d be surprised at all you get done when you stop watching Netflix.

6. Use technology.

Technology professionals spend hours on end on the computer, so it’s no surprise they’ve developed several tools to prevent you from procrastinating online. Some of our favorites include site- blocking tools like Self Control, StayFocusd, and Leechblock. You can also get Facebook Purity, which streamlines your newsfeed so you only see what you want to.

7. Move your devices.

It’s easiest to accidentally spend far too many hours on your computer when lounging in bed or on the couch. Avoid this by moving your devices! Like browsing Facebook as you watch TV? Move your laptop to a desk and only use it while you’re sitting there. Do you check email as soon as you wake up? Get a real alarm clock and move your phone to the other side of the room. If you make it more uncomfortable to be online, you’ll naturally spend less time on the Internet. You might also consider setting Internet-free zones in your house – like no smartphones at the dinner table.

8. Ask real people.

Remember when you used to ask real people for directions, or when you could have a debate about which actress was in that movie without immediately knowing the answer? Leave your phone in your pocket and retrain yourself to deal with real people instead. This is great for your brain for several reasons. First, it encourages conversation and socialization. And secondly, you’ll be forced to remember more and reduce the onset of digital dementia.

9. Be mindful.

One reason it’s so easy to get distracted online is because we’re not paying that much attention. That’s why it’s crucial to be mindful when you get on the Internet. Write down a list of the websites you want to visit, then keep that list near your computer to help stay on track. Avoid having more than two tabs open at the same time – leaving all that information out will only distract you. And before you read an article, ask yourself if it’s information that will improve your life in some way. If the answer is no, why waste your time reading it?

10. Simplify notifications.

The human brain is wired to respond to new stimuli – which is why we have so much trouble ignoring notifications. Make your life easier by getting less of them. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Turn off your email notifications – no email is so urgent that it can’t be left alone for a couple of hours. And reset your phone so you only get push notifications about texts and phone calls, so you’re not tempted to pick it up constantly over trivial matters.

Liked this? Check out 10 Things I Learned from Techweek!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Think you don’t spend that much time online? Think again! The average American who uses the Internet for fun spends 100 minutes a day on it. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot – but that’s time we used to spend on necessary basics like sleep, conversing with others and housework. And let’s face it – if you clicked on this article, chances are, you already think that you’re spending way too much online and don’t know how to stop. Luckily, we have 10 tips to help you get back in touch with the real world.

1. Know how much time you’re spending online.

The vast majority of us don’t think we spend that much time online – which is why we need a major reality check. There are several tech tools that will tell you exactly what you’re doing on your computer. Try timeStats or RescueTime. Want to stay low-tech? Get an egg timer, set it for 30 minutes and get surfing. You’ll be shocked at how little time flew by and be forced to confront how much time you really spend on the a Internet.

2. Cut yourself off.

If you were shocked by the above sentence, you’re a prime candidate for this tip! Basically, you need to remind yourself that there is life outside of the Internet. So pick a day and spend all 24 hours of it offline! You can use your computer as long as you don’t go online, and your phone only for texts and calls. Notify your contacts and consider setting up an out-of-office email alert. Sure, this will be tough – but you need to remind yourself it’s still possible. For best results, take note of how many times you wanted to check your phone or email and compare the number to your next digital detox. (Yes, we recommend making this a regular occurrence, although the frequency is up to you.) Sound too hard? Try checking your phone for one minute. Then, leave the phone face-down in plain sight for 15 minutes! Over time, doing this will train your brain to relax even when you’re not constantly checking your phone.

3. Make it hard to access.

One major problem with the Internet is that it’s constantly available. You can get online with just a few swipes of your finger – so make the process as difficult as possible. Turn off your devices when you’re done using them. Leave your phone at home when you run errands or hit the gym. And type in your passwords to log into social media websites, instead of saving the passwords on your browser! Doing so will also protect your online privacy, too.

4. Schedule it.

A great way to limit your web-surfing time is to schedule it. You could say that you’re only allowed to go online for 2 hours after work, for example. Another possibility is to go the opposite route: instead of deciding when you’re allowed to go online, decide when you can’t. Why not ban online activity before 9AM and after 10PM? Do you need the web for work? You can’t get offline totally, so instead establish scheduled breaks, like 10 minutes off for every 50 minutes online. And for best results, stand up and move around during those breaks! You’ll be healthier, and the breaks will help you be more efficient and productive during work time.

5. Get an offline life.

Far too many of us waste time on the Internet when we don’t know what else to do. That’s why it’s crucial to fill up the free time you used to spend on the Internet with offline activities. Call your long-distance BFF instead of liking her Instagrams. Write a list of people you’ve been meaning to talk to and make concrete plans with them. Go to the gym. Get a hobby that doesn’t involve your computer – like coloring or playing an instrument. You’d be surprised at all you get done when you stop watching Netflix.

6. Use technology.

Technology professionals spend hours on end on the computer, so it’s no surprise they’ve developed several tools to prevent you from procrastinating online. Some of our favorites include site- blocking tools like Self Control, StayFocusd, and Leechblock. You can also get Facebook Purity, which streamlines your newsfeed so you only see what you want to.

7. Move your devices.

It’s easiest to accidentally spend far too many hours on your computer when lounging in bed or on the couch. Avoid this by moving your devices! Like browsing Facebook as you watch TV? Move your laptop to a desk and only use it while you’re sitting there. Do you check email as soon as you wake up? Get a real alarm clock and move your phone to the other side of the room. If you make it more uncomfortable to be online, you’ll naturally spend less time on the Internet. You might also consider setting Internet-free zones in your house – like no smartphones at the dinner table.

8. Ask real people.

Remember when you used to ask real people for directions, or when you could have a debate about which actress was in that movie without immediately knowing the answer? Leave your phone in your pocket and retrain yourself to deal with real people instead. This is great for your brain for several reasons. First, it encourages conversation and socialization. And secondly, you’ll be forced to remember more and reduce the onset of digital dementia.

9. Be mindful.

One reason it’s so easy to get distracted online is because we’re not paying that much attention. That’s why it’s crucial to be mindful when you get on the Internet. Write down a list of the websites you want to visit, then keep that list near your computer to help stay on track. Avoid having more than two tabs open at the same time – leaving all that information out will only distract you. And before you read an article, ask yourself if it’s information that will improve your life in some way. If the answer is no, why waste your time reading it?

10. Simplify notifications.

The human brain is wired to respond to new stimuli – which is why we have so much trouble ignoring notifications. Make your life easier by getting less of them. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Turn off your email notifications – no email is so urgent that it can’t be left alone for a couple of hours. And reset your phone so you only get push notifications about texts and phone calls, so you’re not tempted to pick it up constantly over trivial matters.

Liked this? Check out 10 Things I Learned from Techweek!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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