When I decided I was going to embark on my own Happiness Project, one of the things I decided I wanted to concentrate on initially was how I was spending my time online.
In January I was made redundant from one of my jobs as a social media manager and although it was initially a bit of a shock to go from working almost 60 hours a week to less than half of that, I knew something needed to change. The lines between work and my supposed down time are very much blurred. And I spend so much time online that I never truly switch off.
Instead of a more traditional digital detox, I decided it was the way I spend my time online that needed to change. And having made a few adjustments, the last few weeks have been so much less stressful.
I’ve been able to concentrate on what I’m doing in that moment without notifications pinging up on my screen. And I’ve been able to decide when I read about current events, rather than having sensationalist articles popping up on my screen and dragging my attention away from what I’m supposed to be doing. In short it’s been a revelation and quite frankly I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.
Here’s the simple changes I’ve made so far:
Have you ever found yourself signed up to a million and one newsletters you’ve never even registered for? You’re not alone. Over the last few weeks I’ve unsubscribed from newsletters every time I’ve received an email from a company I don’t want to hear from. To date that’s over 100 separate companies that have been filling my inbox with emails I don’t want or need.
Just clicking that unsubscribe button makes me feel lighter. And I’m no longer spending my time hitting delete seventy billion times each time I go to my inbox. It also has the benefit of eliminating all those annoying notifications. Now I only get notifications for emails I actually WANT to receive.
In the same way that I’ve unsubscribed from emails, I have also unfollowed a number of pages on Facebook. Local news channels have gone. The articles read as though a child has written them and the comments section sends my blood pressure through the roof. Deleting them alone has made Facebook all the more pleasant.
I’ve also unfollowed a number of pages no longer relevant to me. My youngest is 5, so I no longer want to follow baby related pages for example. Equally I no longer want to belong to expat groups in Spain where I used to live. And of course there’s those friends whose every post is Juice Plus or politics related. All have been unfollowed (rather than unfriended) and not only am I spending less time scrolling through my feed, it’s now a relatively ‘happy’ feed.
The last thing I’ve done is to go through all of my digital files and have a good old fashioned sort out. You could say I’ve Marie Kondo’d the crap out my laptop. If I didn’t need it, use it or it didn’t ‘bring me joy’, off it went to the recycle bin. I’ve also updated the files, folders and programmes I do have, organising and updating them as I went.
Although detoxing my digital space wasn’t exactly the highlight of my life, it has definitely made me feel that little bit better. My laptop is more organised and I only see things online that I really want to. Allowing me to tackle some bigger jobs as the year goes on.