If your New Year’s resolution is to spend less time online, congratulations: you’re about to embark on an extremely daunting journey.
Frankly, cutting out the internet completely is unrealistic and maybe unwise. It’s how we communicate with others, how we get our hopefully real news, how we keep up with film and music. (Yes, streaming services like Netflix and Spotify still count as “online.”)
But if you’re looking to decrease your screen time whether you want to spend more active time with loved ones, exercise a little more or just stop buying weird sh*t on Amazon here are a few realistic ways to do so. Maybe they will even be fun.
We don’t know. Just close Chrome and keep an open mind.
Get an actual alarm clock
If the first object you hear and see in the morning is your phone, you’ll be more tempted to look at it first thing. Pick up a real alarm clock instead whether it’s the digital kind that jolts you awake to some sick talk radio or a cool lil retro clock like the examples below.
Find a messy hobby
Hobbies that do not coat your hands in some kind of powder, gunk or fluid mean it’s easy to pick up your phone for an Instagram break. Take up pottery, collaging, baking bread or doing those hot wax hand masks to reduce your risk of internet-using.
Or pull a Tom Ford and just get really into baths it is extremely risky to take your computer in a bath. This is good advice, right?
Accept that multitasking is a bad idea
Doing two things simultaneously is also a great way to do two things badly. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), researchers have found that the “brief mental blocks” that happen when you switch between tasks can actually rob you of 40 percent of your productivity. Guess what? When you shift your attention to a notification, that counts as a brief mental block.
So if you’re reading a book, switch off your phone for an hour and just read the book. Try not to watch HBO Go while you study, lest ye accidentally incorporate a quote from Westworld into your term paper. If you are watching Westworld, close your other tabs. Don’t live-tweet your breakup. There are so many things to not do and so many ways to not do them.
Leave your phone at home a few times per week
This doesn’t have to be for a whole day of work or class. Instead, leave your phone at home for small intervals, like when you:
go to the grocery store (bring a paper list instead)
meet up with a friend for a drink
head to a coffee shop to read
swim at the local pool (please)
take a walk around the block
see a movie
Just look at Harry and Sally, for example. They don’t check their email on their walks. Instead, they just use those big corded phones in their apartments to yell at each other.
Bonus: leave your phone at home for a while and you’ll get have all kinds of ego-boosting notifications to sift through when you get back. Like when you finally switch off Airplane Mode after a long flight.
And if you do not come back to any messages, we’re sorry, but we didn’t promise anything.
At the end of the day, write down everything you did online
Everything. And be completely honest. Before long, the terror of having to type “looked at 250 photos of ex’s new dog” for the 18th day in a row will overtake you, and you will hopefully cut down on looking at photos of your ex’s new dog.
Plus, you get to buy or make a cool journal.
Go forward and stay offline, friends.