My offline kit for when the internet becomes too loud
There’s a line somewhere between remaining informed with current events and spiraling into dark holes the internet.
I recently read that just three minutes of negative news in the morning can increase your chances of having a bad day by 27%.
At the risk of losing my sanity these past couple weeks, I’ve created an “offline kit” for myself. But even regardless if the news is daunting or not, I know that the days that I feel the best are days when I have little screen time.
Here’s what I’ve done so far:
I stopped using the notes section on my iPhone.
The notes section has essentially become a dark abyss on my phone where thoughts and ideas go to live only to be never reread.
Instead, I started carrying around this great notebook that I picked up on our trip to England in August. I’ve always held a great appreciation for nice notebooks and new pens and pencils. It brings a sense of nostalgia with it.
Most importantly, it keeps me from using Notes then mindlessly switching to other apps.
I group all my internet time in one sitting (or at least try).
Since we walk most places, B and I downsized to one car almost a year ago. Rarely do I need a car anymore, but when I do I group all my errands in one trip - library, grocery, appointments, etc.
It’s more effective, but it also makes me more intentional in planning. I started applying the same concept to my time on the internet. I try to do all my “internet trips” in one go... answering emails, paying bills, uploading writing.
Otherwise, I’d be in the middle of something, stop what I was doing to Google something or send an email and then I would find myself 26 comments deep in an angry twitter thread.
I wear a watch - a good old fashioned one.
When I take time to write, I usually write in 30-60 minute blocks of time; then I take a “focused” break of 5 minutes.
I set timers on my watch to beep when I’m finished; otherwise I regularly check my phone for the time and get distracted by messages.
Or, an hourglass is a great way to quietly mark time in the background. The sand softly descending to a stop is much nicer than having your phone aggressively chirping at you when the time is up.
I always have a book nearby.
I’ve never been one to get into the Kindle or other e-readers, so reaching for a book has always been a great way for me to get offline.
I throw one into my bag too so if I ever find myself waiting in line somewhere, I pull it out instead of my phone. Still mastering the whole walking-and-reading thing though.
While so much of my work is done behind a screen, this offline kit is a work in progress for me; I’m definitely still fine-tuning it.
What steps do you take when you feel like you need a break from the digital world?