We live in a digital era. In today’s world, we manage most of our record keeping and communication through our computers, tablets and phones.
We can communicate with someone who lives on the other side of the world with just a few keystrokes on our computers. Thirty years later, we can find a grade school friend who moved out of state when we were 10. The digital age has opened the entire world for us.
But while it’s a convenient way of doing things, it has come with a price. We’re always on our phones or catching up with someone on Facebook. If we aren’t careful, that can cause a big dent in the quality of our family time. Here are a few tips that will help us stop our devices from taking over our lives.
Set a Timer
We use clocks in other aspects of our lives – we set alarms to stop us from sleeping too long and we use timers when we’re baking something in the oven to prevent it from overcooking. Using a timer is also a quick and simple way to regulate our online time.
If you are the type who wants to check texts, emails and Facebook multiple times a day, setting a timer is even more crucial to avoid wasting too much time. When you are online, give yourself a certain amount of time you can afford to spend, whether it’s 15 minutes or 30 minutes. When your timer goes off, you’re done, end of story.
It’ll be difficult at first, but as you get used to it, you’ll find it helps you prioritize your most important tasks.
Make a List
Use your time strategically when you’re online. Make a list of all the tasks you need to get done – like wishing your aunt a happy birthday on Facebook or doing your online bill paying session. As you do each one, check it off. You’ll be surprised at how efficient you feel as your cross each one off your list. It will help you stay on target.
Getting drawn in by those online ads or the latest clickbait celebrity story is one of the biggest time busters you can face online.
Try to ignore the sensational headlines and go about your business. Is reading the latest celebrity dirt, which may be inaccurate anyway, really worth the 10 minutes of time you’ll lose with your child?
Cut Down Your Friends List
If Facebook is your obsession, take a hard look at your list of friends. Do you really need 1,000? Or would you be able to weed some of those old acquaintances or coworkers off your list?
Having a smaller list of friends ensures you’ll be only reading about the ones you are really interested in to begin with. Not having so much junk cluttering up your newsfeed will save you precious minutes of your time each day.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.