Stop bad internet habits and find more time

Stop bad internet habits and find more time

“How can I stop wasting time on Facebook and 9GAG (a meme site)? Because it’s ruining my life.” someone asked me. Bad internet habits are a common problem.

We’re social beings and Facebook is connecting with the core of that so don’t hide in shame, it’s only natural to spend hours on social media – but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

We all seek approval from those around us, but where those around us 10 years ago were our closest friends and family, it’s now hundreds, even thousands of periphery acquaintances. Strangers. Not healthy, beneficial relationships that can lift your life.

Because Facebook relationships don’t lift you up when you’re sad. Real relationships do.

And it steals our time as well. Time that isn’t spend productively. You’ll get to see the newest cat video, or even get a hundred “likes” on a picture from your holiday but you won’t be any closer to happiness. You won’t be any closer to reaching what you want in life.

A Danish study from the Happiness Research Institute about Facebook’s impact on happiness found that people who gave up Facebook for a week(!) had a measured 18 % higher feeling of being present in the moment, as well as an overall increases in well-being, than before they gave it up.

And I had a similar experience. I used to have both Facebook Messenger and the Facebook app installed on my phone so every time I had one second of nothing to do I pulled out my phone and opened Facebook. When I deleted the apps, it didn’t take long before I felt less stressed and more productive.

We have so many distractions in life that keep us from growing and living our lives, we don’t need more.

Browsing meme sites is a guilty pleasure for me as well. And it makes sense that we find our way back to everything we find entertainment, pleasure or solace in.

You should work. But you don’t want to so there’s a negative feeling surrounding it. Or you can look at funny pictures of puppies – not a difficult choice if you ask your emotions.

But as with anything in life, if we only allow our emotions to determine what we do, we won’t get anything productive done. A balance is needed.

In other words: bad internet habits are… well, bad.

More time in a busy day means more happiness. Stopping bad internet habits gives you more time.

In short: It’s easier than ever to get distracted. There are thousands of websites that fight and claw at each other to steal away our attention and click through their articles. Some are so ferocious they’ll even blatantly lie and cause damage to society to increase their clicks.

But they rarely give you any news or input that benefit you in your life. They’re mainly entertainment, and they’re not that entertaining.

Spending your time on things you want is more productive than going zombie mode, doing what is easy, clicking through mindless (fake) entertainment.

It will make you feel better about yourself, and about your life.

 

Make it more difficult to choose the path of bad internet habits

One way to give up or limit these timewasters is by making it more difficult to escape from what you should be doing.

Uninstall the apps from your phone

Your phone is always within reach, and with it these greedy thieves of time follow.

It might be difficult but after a while you’ll see that you don’t NEED to answer Facebook messages immediately. If someone is trying to contact you and it’s an important message they will call you. If it’s truly important people don’t text. They call.

You can also tell your friends and family to contact you on other media like text message or WhatsApp, to cut away the worst of the clutter. The people who aren’t important to you will most likely continue to contact you on Facebook, and those messages you don’t need to answer immediately. They can wait until you check them in the evening on your computer.

No problem is so bad it doesn’t have an answer.

Install other apps to help you 

You don’t have to give up Facebook completely. There are still many advantages to it. I travel a lot and Facebook is a great tool to keep track of everyone I’ve met or keep in touch with them.

But spending hours each day is too much and you don’t need that. You can download apps or extensions to your browser that limit your access to those sites to stop you from mindlessly accessing your social media for no reason other than to procrastinate.

Same goes for any other sites.

I use an extension for Google Chrome to block a football news site and 9gag, because I was spending (wasting) two hours a day scrolling through it without any real benefits… I stopped watching football years ago, why should I continue to read about it?

Short (and not at all extensive or well researched) list of apps and extensions you can use:

  • Forest. An app and Google Chrome extension, where you plant a tree and if you go on Facebook it withers and dies. I haven’t tried this myself, but it sounds amazing.
  • Block Site. A Google Chrome extension that blocks whichever site you want it to. This is what I use.
  • Offtime. An app that allows you to decide which times you want to be able to access certain sites.

 

Ask what you get out of what you’re doing right now

Another way to limit the raiders of Chronos (timewasters) is to ask yourself what you gain from what you’re doing in the moment, and what you would gain if you were doing something else.

If you’re doing something constructive it won’t be difficult to find a reason to continue, but if it’s not (like watching cat videos) it becomes clear to you that you’re wasting your time.

Let’s say you’re watching cat videos instead of preparing yourself for the next day, be it work or studying. You ask yourself “What am I gaining from watching these videos and what would I gain from preparing for tomorrow instead?”

It’s clear that if you continue watching cat videos, you’ll be mindlessly entertained, but you’ll also suffer the following day.

You knew that before you started watching videos, but the dark magic of procrastination shrouds your judgment in the moment and a wakeup call, like asking yourself what you gain from your actions, can help you make a better decision.

 

If you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day, quitting your bad internet habits can be a great way to find more. And there are tangible remedies against it. You can fight technology with technology or you can become more aware of the consequences of your procrastination.

If you have an internet addiction or a bad habit, try out these tools and see if they work. If they do, share them with someone close to you who’s also a victim of the timewasters, so they can find more time in their day, and feel better.

 

All the best. Take action. Make a change.


2 Replies to “Stop bad internet habits and find more time”

  1. I love this article, thank you! It’s so true, we are all so used to the instant gratification and connections that social media gives us. I love the sound of the Forest app, I might have to try that one out.

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