As per the statistics, there are 4.1 billion internet users in the world as of December 2018. People spend an average of 5 hours per week shopping online.
Content has been at the center of our lives these days. The advancements in technology and the affordable data prices have made sure that we are streaming content like never before.
Gone are the days when we had to think so much about streaming any content online due to low bandwidth, huge prices for the data. Nowadays, anything you want to stream is available online. We live in the most exciting times of human history.
As much as this has been a blessing for us, there are also pitfalls. There are so many apps and services that are fighting to grab your attention.
If you are not being careful, it is not long before you get hooked into one of these. It is very easy to get addicted to online content and very hard to get out of.
1. Limit Casual browsing
Has this ever happened to you – You get up in the morning and pick up your phone to check notifications from the last night and you end up spending 30 minutes?
This is most of us on a daily basis! Whatever plans you have for the morning goes down the drain.
If we allow ourselves to indulge in casual browsing, then we lose track of the time and shift our attention from the important tasks of the day.
You start off browsing, thinking you would stop after 10 minutes and you get up to see that you have wasted 30-40 valuable minutes. And the worst part is you will not get any value out of this.
Many people have reported a huge swing in their moods when they check social media apps on their phones first thing in the morning. Mornings should be used for the most important tasks of your day.
Refrain from using your phone after the first thing you get up. If possible, keep your phone further away from your bed so that you will not reach out to your phone whenever you get bored. Keep a book instead.
2. Spend more time on quality content
“Ordinary people seek entertainment, extraordinary people seek education and learning” – Benjamin Hardy
In his book, Digital Minimalism – author Cal Newport argues how one can lead a better life with less technology. There are numerous examples of people who have embraced a more conscious approach to the use of technology in everyday life.
We spend most of our time on the content that can be best described as junk.
We mindlessly browse one video after another on a Facebook/Instagram feed. This becomes an endless loop. We rarely get any value out of this.
Instead, watch any value-driven content available on the internet. If you are interested in learning a new skill, then spend some time watching videos related to that.
When you are watching any content, ask yourself – “Is it the best utilization of my time?”. If you think the answer is No, it’s time to move on.
Take a look at your phone and uninstall the apps which do not give you any value. If all the app is doing providing meaningless entertainment, then it does not deserve a place on your phone.
3. Schedule a time
Have you experienced you get a lot more work done if you schedule it for a particular time?
If you schedule a specific time for work out, then chances are you would make it more often than not. If you schedule that lunch meeting with your friend, then you would not miss it easily.
The same goes true for browsing or watching any content on your mobile or laptop. Instead of browsing whenever you feel bored, it would do you a world of good if you schedule a time of the day for it.
If you want to watch an episode of your favorite show, then make sure you schedule it beforehand. If you want to read articles from your favorite blog site, then schedule a time for it in a week.
I usually watch an episode of my favorite show in the evening. I also read all the articles related to personal finance on Sunday morning. This way I do not end up wasting a lot of my time on a daily basis.
This serves 2 things: I can enjoy the content guilt-free since I know this time is blocked for the specific task. And it also frees up other time which would be utilized to pursue other quality things in my life.
In fact, scheduling a specific time makes me look forward to these things.
“If you are not paying for a product, you are the product” – Metafilter
We live in an era where there is no escaping from the circle of internet content and streaming.
It is our responsibility to choose the content which is both informative and value add to our lives. Countless hours are wasted daily watching things on the internet which does more harm than good.
Even if we spend 50% of that time nurturing the relationships in our life, then we would have done quite a successful job. Imagine cutting down on your YouTube or Netflix binge-watch and spending time with your little one at home!
With all the noise and distraction around us, it does seem like a very impossible task to escape from the clutches of internet streaming. But with the right mindset, conscious behavior and a bit of lifestyle change, we can definitely create a more enriching life for ourselves and for the people around us.