When technology permeates every facet of our lives – both for work and play – how do you switch off and avoid digital overload?
Hey guys, happy Sunday! Today I thought I’d write about something that’s on my mind a lot, especially as someone whose hobby and job are so digital-centric.
But first, let’s talk about this lovely little dress. Had Boohoo not kindly sent it to me as their ‘Dress Of The Month’, I have to say it isn’t something I’d have chosen ordinarily. I wasn’t sure how the gingham print would work for autumn, but I think with knee high boots it’s the perfect little dress for this time of year. You could also pop a turtleneck underneath for a little extra warmth. I really love the playfulness of the sleeves as well as the wrap fit of it – super flattering! Snap up your own here.
Now, onto the matter of screen time overload. A few weeks ago I chatted about why I blog, how it compliments my day job and fuels my creativity. Whilst I love that there’s a slight overlap between my day job and blogging, I can’t deny that all that digital can get a bit much at times.
The digital world can be a truly wonderful source of inspiration, creativity and knowledge, but it can also be a source of procrastination, anxiety and negativity.
Whether you’re a blogger or not, it’s no secret that too much screen time can take its toll mentally and physically, so here’s a few little changes you can make to ensure you’re giving yourself the break you need. Try and implement one each week!
Switch off push notifications
This may surprise you, but I only have notifications switched on for WhatsApp and Facebook Page Manager. I don’t get pinged by Instagram, personal Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. Think about it – do you really need to know every time you receive a ‘like’ on Instagram? Chances are, you check the app at any free moment you have anyway. It can wait.
A ‘no-screen’ rule after 9:30pm
Admittedly I’ve been a bit slack on this one lately, but I’ve always noticed a stark improvement in sleep quality when I switch off all my screens by 9:30pm (or sometimes 10pm). Yes, that means no phone or laptop. It can be so tempting to crawl into bed with your phone, but we all know where that leads. Watching some beauty blogger apply contour with a piece of fruit when you intended to be asleep 2 hours ago? Been there.
Make it easier to resist temptation by switching it all off – put your phone/laptop in another room if you must! Unwind with a book or by journalling instead.
Get an alarm clock!
When your phone’s an extension of your hand for most of the day, does it really need to be the first thing you see when you wake up? When I used my phone as an alarm clock, I used to have this awful habit where I’d reach out, switch it off, then proceed to stay right there in bed reading pointless articles, scrolling through Twitter and god knows what else.
You might not be as bad as I was, but the FOMO on whatever had happened overnight was real. The reality? There’s never anything that major that happens overnight that warrants starting your day with your phone. Except for when the EU Referendum result was announced.
If you like to start your day with the news or music, get a radio and stick that on!
Be strict with yourself on tasks that involve technology.
We’ve all fallen down those internet holes. The ones where you opened your laptop to do some online banking or picked up your phone to post on Instagram, yet 2 hours later you’re reading UFO conspiracy theories. It’s crazy how much a simple task can suddenly get stretched out unnecessarily thanks to the lure of everything else out there on the internet (I should know, I should have finished writing this post about 30 minutes ago lol), and then suddenly you feel like you’ve done nothing but look at your phone or laptop all day.
To try and remedy this, I’ve started to circle tasks on my to do list that involve my laptop or phone and set rough time limits for each. For example, if I’ve got ‘write blog post’ and ‘respond to that email’, I know that the blog post shouldn’t take more than an hour and the email say 10 minutes – if I don’t get distracted. Making yourself conscious of how long you spend on tasks helps stop time running away from you, meaning you can take a break from your device and go do something else!
Add-ons & extensions
It’s easy to feel guilty for spending so much time absorbed in digital, but the reality is it’s a pretty inescapable part of our lives today. Thankfully, most people feel the same way, and a few have come up with some clever little devices to make life easier for us!
Strict Workflow: This beaut of a Chrome extension was my best friend at uni. It basically adopts the ‘Pomodoro’ working technique – you work for 25 minutes, enjoy a 5 minute break, then get back to work. But the best part? This nifty tool blocks any distracting sites during the 25 minute work period so you stay focused! It blocks the usual culprits (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc) by default, but you can add your own as you wish!
Kill News Feed: Another Chrome extension. This allows you to access Facebook, but removes the news feed! Because I mean, how much of it is really news?
F.lux: Did you know that our screens emit a blue light by default, which your brain automatically thinks is sunlight, thus making it more difficult to fall asleep? This software removes those cool-tones which keep you awake and adjusts the display to mimic real time lighting. A game changer!
Find activities/hobbies that don’t involve a screen
Now that you’ve streamlined your screen time to the absolute essentials, what are you going to do with all that extra time? It could be exercise, painting your nails or just devoting some time to self-care. Either way, no-screen time in today’s world is sacred so find something that will let you switch off.
Debbie Gingham Volumised Rouched Shirt Wrap Dress – Boohoo* // over-the-knee boots – Stradivarius // cuff – Tory Burch // tassel earrings – ebay // mini bag – unnamed brand, Madrid
How do you avoid feeling the digital overload?
Thanks to Sanj for these photos – especially on such a windy day!