Many of us would like to spend less time online engrossed in our screens, but how can we break the habit? Journalist Jocelyn de Kwant offers three tips for avoiding the internet temptation.
- Turn of notifications
Everything that rings, beeps or flashes is a distraction – not only to you but also to those around you. We tend to make new information a priority and, on top of that, it’s hard not to be curious or to think: It might be important. Keep your phone on silent and only peek at it every once in a while.
- Designate time
To end your phone-checking habit, start splitting your day into online and offline blocks of time. “The capacity to think about our own behavior is limited,” says Ap Dijksterhuis, a Dutch social psychologist. “Most of our behavior is determined by routine – devoid of critical thinking.” Choose a time when you’d like to be offline an let those around you know. They’ll quickly get used to it (and so will you). For extra support, you can use the Freedom app – tell it how long you want to be offline and it blocks everything (except for phone calls).
- Clean up your social media
When you look through your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram do you see people or companies who you don’t really know or who annoy you? When we like something a few too many times, an algorithm sends push notifications to our feed and we see those posts instead of the updates from our real friends. If we occasionally make sure that what we see is what we want to see – by adjusting our notification settings – we can remove a lot of unnecessary information. WhatsApp group chats can also be looked at in the same way: Which chats occupy too much of your time and can easily be left? You can always send a friendly, ‘I’ll talk to you guys later!’ instead of just leaving with the automatic message, ‘[your name] has left the group’, which is always a little upsetting to read.
*You can read 12 other tips in Issue 20.
Text Jocelyn de Kwant