Get in control online

Is the internet creeping up on you? Are you looking at screens more than you would like? You are not alone, we all deal with it! I've prepared 7 steps to get into (digital) well-being and tame online. Choose one of them or load gradually all. Incidentally, this is the answer to the question: And what do you do?

Being in control online is simple, but definitely not easy. Technologies are designed to entertain us and they were easier and more pleasant than reality. Try to remember that when you're consumed online again.


Step #1 – Limit notifications

Switch to active mode, use tools when you want to, not when they require your attention, and get your time back by turning off notifications.

Do you really need all the notifications? Wouldn't it be better to turn off the unnecessary ones? Keep only those notifications turned on that are of some use to you.

The red color of notifications immediately catches our attention. When we see that the other party is writing something (flashing three dots), it keeps us in suspense of what is to come. Why? Chance? Putting psychology to work, baby!

You can turn off notifications in Settings / Notifications / Specific applications / Enable notifications


Step #2 - Set your limits

80 % of us gets up with a mobile phone. In a day, we run our thumb over the display almost three thousand times. We look at our phones from the moment we wake up until we go back to sleep. In the bathroom, on the toilet, on the tram, behind the wheel, at work, all the time.

Set yourself up usage limits – for example, a window when you are online (mine is between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.), when you are "at work" or a limit a maximum of 2 hours per day on the mobile phone. Your mobile knows how much time you spend in front of the screen. See Settings / Screen Time (iPhone) or Digital Balance (Android) for information.

Introduce order and routine into your life, it helps the psyche. Maybe in the morning instead of Instagram and email go walk out. Just a little bit. You clear your head, come up with different thoughts, gain perspective and peek out of your bubble. Or fall asleep at a similar time. Or introduce a digi-free evening with your partner and family. What's more than giving someone your undivided attention.

What about the insurmountable problem of needing a cell phone in the bedroom for the alarm clock? Get it old school alarm clock. Or a smart bracelet with an alarm clock function. Vibrating only wakes you up, not the whole family. And maybe you already have a smart watch, right? So you can use those, but without notifications from applications.


Step #3 - Reduce the flow of information

Do you really need to track everyone and everything on the internet? The flow of information can be endless. Where do you stop him? One would drown in the flood of information. Information overload is one of the most common topics we deal with.

It is human nature to be curious about what, who, where and why they are doing. Watching other people's lives is easier than living your own. But a situation can arise where we focus so much on what is happening around us that we there is no time, energy and patience left to deal with one's own life and own difficulties. And we all have them. We just don't show them to each other on social media.

Choose what is important to your life, and think about what you give your attention to. With each click, we vote on what is and what is not successful and what will spread further on the Internet.


Step #4 – Disconnect once a week

Disconnecting is a great way to meet yourself and to perceive the people around you. Your attention is not constantly fragmented and partially occupied by what may be happening on your phone.

Unfortunately, at the beginning you will experience some withdrawal symptoms, but then inner peace and satisfaction will come. Can you disconnect for more than one day? Cool! Can't give a single day? Neva, try it in the afternoon and see what happens.

Pick a day of the week and go for it. Ideally, however, tell your loved ones in advance. You will avoid unnecessary inconveniences. Being suddenly unavailable (in contrast to the usual constant availability, by the way) is a sign these days that something has happened to you. The ideal option is, of course, that someone close to you will join you.


Step #5 - Stay positive

If you receive 99 positive comments and 1 negative, which one will you focus on? Our brains have tendency to focus on the negative. When you leave home, your journey doesn't start with thirty neighbors telling you how good you look. This is what happens with a photo on Instagram through likes and hearts, but not in real life.

We live in difficult times. I hear that because of corona, politics or god knows what there is no light at the end of the tunnel, that this is no life, that there are no masks, there is no vaccine, it is a mess. Choose the one from the list that is close to your opinion. we are often isolated far from what we love - friends, colleagues, evenings in the pub or the gym.

But after every storm the sun will rise, after every trouble there will be improvement. Even if it looks like it, the world is not ending. It's just that someone constantly convinces us of it. And if it really ends, I'd rather be smiling these last few days than annoying those around me like a cockabus.

Negativity is contagious and attracts much more attention than positivity. And what is online primarily about? Yes, for attention. Who cares about good news? The truth is boring and doesn't sell. Shock or frighten people and you are king. Unfortunately.

What with this? Just choose to be positive. Faith in a good ending can reduce our stress by up to 60 %. At least Mrfrom a 2002 study by Messrs Atienzi, Stephens and Townsend. Or use gratitude journal: write down every day what made you happy or what you achieved that day. When it seems to you that everything is worthless and that you are just surviving and not moving anywhere, then you will see in black and white that it is just a feeling and it is not true.


Step #6 – Uninstall toxic apps

Delete apps from your mobile that eat up our time. All Facebooks, LinkedIns and Instagrams. They often use emotions like envy and fear to keep us connected. And they collect data. Lots of data.

Just try to think: What are they giving you? And what do they take from you? If social networks give you more than they take, feel free to use them. They rather take me, so I simply don't go through the content there and only use them as a communication channel. When I see how mine is there often unhappy familiar faces happily and successfully, so it seems like a useless fake that I don't need in my life. I prefer to invest that time in creating something that gives me meaning or that I enjoy. Maybe until writing this text.

The only place I can access social media is from my laptop. Consciously and when I want to. Newsfeed is blocked by an extension in my browser everywhere i can If I didn't have to, I scroll and scroll... And I don't want that.


Step #7 - Download digi helpers

Addressing digital balance through apps is like driving a wedge with a wedge. But at least in the beginning they will help you find motivation. Gamification, in turn, ensures that you will have fun.

The easiest step is eliminate the influence of blue light, which affects sleep. There are several tools – the Night shift function in the settings (iPhone), the Twilight application (Android), the night light function (Win 10) or the application Flux. Also, set dark mode wherever you can. Your eyes will thank you.

The next step is track your screen time and change your habits. There are several applications that help with this. For example Moment, Forest, Freedom or RescueTime. All of them are paid and can't do much more than the apps you already have on your phone. You can find them in settings and there are two – Screen time (iPhone) / Digital balance (Android)

Interested in more?

I wrote some time ago all the apps and routines I use to keep my digital balance. You can also look at mine article about little digital helpers.

And if you want to learn as much as possible about digital balance and life offline, I would love to meet you at one of my courses Digital wellbeing.