give it a rest!

Give it a rest!

I am the first one to admit it… I have a problem. I am on the internet WAY too much! Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, online forums, email, “news” (does Eonline count?), or just about anything else, I am constantly on my computer.

Some of you have probably made New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, get healthy, or quit smoking/drinking/eating processed sugar. Those are great goals! But what if we added one… clean up your internet act.

I know, I know, it’s a little ironic saying this when I’m spending my time blogging about it and then probably posting it on Facebook and Twitter. But I’m hoping that I can take a little break sometimes from the swirling mass of the internet after this. Here are some ideas I’ve been working on, and I hope to implement… as soon as I finish writing this post!

1) Media Blackout Day – other than total essentials, like checking your bank account or checking your email if you’re waiting for an (actually) important message, what if you tried having a Media Blackout Day? I’ve been making certain days certain blackout days. For example, on Sundays I try not to read the news. I check just about every news site that’s out there, and sometimes it’s depressing. Or, if it’s celebrity gossip, sometimes I can get snarky about it. “Why is she wearing THAT?” “Why would he date HER?” I try to have one day a week that I just ignore the news. I’m also trying to wean myself off of Facebook and Twitter one day a week. How about Facebook Free Fridays? Or Twitter Timeout Tuesdays?

2) Just check one thing – this one is SO hard to do! If I want to make dinner reservations online, I go to Open Table and two hours later I’m researching menus for restaurants in Maui. Yeah, I don’t know how it happens either. But it seems like every time I go on Wikipedia or IMDB, my time gets sucked up in a black hole. I don’t ever actually check just one thing. So, that’s what I’m resolving to do. The next time I need information, I’m just going to try to check the one thing I need information on and then log off.

3) Get out in the real world – emails and Skype and online forums are so handy when it comes to keeping in touch. I think they kind of make us all a little lazy though. So, get out there and do some things in the real world. I just sent my Grandpa and actual paper thank-you note for his Christmas present. Thank-you notes are a big thing I have to get better about! But I also try to make time to hang out with my real world friends too. Volunteering can help with this also. I’ve found so much joy in volunteering and it helps you connect with people on a very real level. I encourage ANY kind of volunteering. Saying that, I love keeping up with my online friends, but it takes balance. Also, when you are in the real world, try ignoring all the texts you might get or checking your Facebook status. I see this all the time when people are having dinner, at the movies, you name it. I’ve also been on the receiving end of this! Sure, if you’re a teenager and your parents drive you up a wall and the only escape from them is to tweet, I get it. But as an adult, emergencies aside, I think it’s kind of rude to conduct your online life when you’re spending time with real, live people.

4) Clean up your act – This might require more internet time at first, but I think it’s really worth it. Take a look at your profiles, whether on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, whatever. What ideas do people get when they see you online? If all of your pictures are with you and a margarita, wearing swimsuits or are old, out of date or unflattering, you might want to spend time editing. There are definitely some funny pictures I’ve kept up on Facebook, but I keep those to a minimum. I also have deleted tags of myself from time to time. There are some pictures that nobody needs to see. Also, keep a close watch on what you actually upload. My theory is that once something is on the internet, it never really goes away. Your personal information is a good thing to make over too. I’ve taken out a lot of things, like my hometown, city where I live, and year of birth to make my profiles a little more private. Ok, maybe I’m paranoid, but if you keep posting on Facebook, “I’m in Switzerland for a month now!” people have a pretty good idea of when you are and aren’t home. I’d rather post something fun when I return from trips than let everyone know that I’m not home and I have… well, I don’t have many valuable things, so I guess it doesn’t matter!

5) Be professional – I used to waste way too much time at some of my jobs on the internet. When you’re only answering phones and have basically nothing else to do but make sure the plants are watered, it’s very tempting to get sucked into to surfing the internet. It’s probably a good idea to spend that time with a few extra projects at work and leave the internet for lunchtime. Sure, we all need a break from a busy day, but it’s good to spend time talking to your coworkers and getting things done too. Schedule in mini breaks during the day, but don’t let it take up too much time. Bosses love you asking for extra work and if you fill your day with that, it only puts you in a better position for a raise or a promotion. This rule also applies to socializing with coworkers. Leave that for Happy Hour or little breaks throughout the day, but don’t make it the bulk of what you do at work. I know, common sense advice, but I guess it’s always helpful to have a reminder.

I think all of this is the essence of micro living. Simplifying your life and spending your time and energy on things that really matter to you are what micro living is all about. Let me know if you have any suggestions for simplifying your online life! I always love to hear about it.

And for now… signing off!

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