You wake up to the light of the sun shining through your curtains. You reach your hand out of your bed towards your nightstand and grab your phone. You quickly browse your e-mail, Instagram, and direct messages. You get out of bed and walk towards the kitchen to make yourself a pot of coffee. While it's brewing you scroll through your feed and double tap here and there.
Does this sound familiar to you?
When you work online, being online is a necessity. Just like being at the office or commuting. The problem is that the internet, computer, or your phone aren't exclusive to work. We use them all of the time to connect with friends and family and watch movies all on the same devices.
Let me share some other examples. I know for a fact I do these and so do some of my business babes!
- Content Creation: Setting time aside to get ready, go on a mini-adventure, and take photos. Only to spend the rest of the day looking through them, editing, and posting online.
- Engaging: One of the best parts of online work is connecting with other users. From looking at cute Instagram photos or reading intriguing blogs, it takes time to process and comment individually. But it's important to take the time in order to be a supportive member of the online community as well as being genuine.
- Mindless Wondering: Out of habit you find yourself reaching for your phone and scrolling. Later you have to stop yourself once you realize it's been 10, 20, even 30 minutes. This happens a few times a day.
Although we are our own bosses online we are employees of the internet.
The more time we spend browsing the web and apps the more we adhere to the goal of the internet. Stay on and stay long.
What's the secret to a healthy and long online life? Moderation.
Like everything else, the more you do something the more susceptive to burn out you are. Did you know spending significant time online also causes changes in your brain?
The brain lights up the same section of the brain as cocaine does
As humans, we officially think differently than we did in a time before the web and computers. Previously, this happened with the creation of books. There is now speculation that books will become a thing of the past due to all the web browsing and information available online- including literature. Nicholas Carr writes about this and more in his book The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains.
If you find yourself with a shorter attention span or feeling anxious and excited at the thought of somebody responding to a post or comment on your social media, this book might explain what is happening. The concept that the world wide web is actively changing your brain may challenge your beliefs on your time online.
While this may sound scary it is up to us to create boundaries and solutions since getting off the internet (a.k.a. not working) is not an option.
How To Get Our Brain Back
Let's be truthful here: while it will be easy to talk about the solutions, actually doing it may be hard. If you read Nicholas Carr's book you will know- we are addicted!
1. Set a schedule. When you have a 9-5 office job you work the 9-5, leave the office, and rarely get home to work some more. Some jobs are different than others. But when you work online you are connected 24/7! What if you set a routine for online work? Here are a couple of examples:
- Tim Ferris in the 4-Hour Work Week mentions he has specific e-mailing times. So instead of refreshing the page or checking back every so often, he checks it three times per day- in the morning, in the afternoon, and before calling it a day. Most e-mails do not require immediate attention and if you missed one, you will reply in a couple of hours. Tim mentions that if you must, you can include a footer in your e-mail stating your e-mail replying times.
- Andee Love, a spiritual success coach, has 3 specific Instagram times per day. In the morning, afternoon, and evening. She says she limits her time to 1 1/2 hours or so on Instagram per day.
What these leaders are demonstrating is how to be purposeful with your time online.
2. Find ways to be efficient. Is it setting up a posting schedule through Hootsuite? Creating all of your content for the week or month on a lazy Sunday? How about applying Tim's strategy and responding to e-mails three times a day?
3. Dedicate time for self-care. Only you will know what this is. Some examples are cooking a meal at home instead of take-out or fast food. Working out or going for a walk. Set aside 30 minutes in the morning to ready (offline).
If you made it this far and read through all of it- congratulations! Your attention is pretty sharp. You managed to read through the links, photos, and other pressing life matters. If you have reached this point after glancing over certain keywords and skipping to the -bulleted, bold, and large text - congratulations! That is what most, if not all, people do.
If anything, I hope you learned one thing from today's post and begin thinking about the implications of being online mean. Can we find different ways to get the same outcome but limit our internet time? Would that affect our business and revenue? Or would it make it better?
There is a lot to talk about and ponder. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on this. My excitement and anxiety longs for it! As a fellow online business, it is a learning process but one that we must go through if we want to stay in the game for the long run.
*Disclaimer: All Amazon links are affiliate links which means that if you buy the product through the link, West Canada Co. will earn a small percentage of that sale.