Go offline and get a life

Photo credit: Unsplash

Photo credit: Unsplash

If you want to get more from your life, it's time to put your digital devices away. (Just for a while.)

The exponential growth of technology has significantly reshaped the way we live, work and communicate in the last 30 years.

On average, we own three internet enabled devices, have 297 friends, contacts or followers and spend 8.5 hours per week on social media sites, according to the Sensis Social Media 2015 Report. Their research found over 50% of us use the internet five or more times in a day with most of our social networking taking place in the morning and evening.

It goes something like this:

  • 45% first thing in the morning
  • 20% during commute 
  • 32% during work
  • 40% after work or in the evening
  • 41% before going to bed. 

Overall, 92% of us say we use social networking sites to catch up with family and friends - yet seeing our online friends in person is on the decline.

Another report conducted by ZenithOptimedia found we are spending more than 490 minutes a day consuming media. That's OVER eight hours spent watching media, shopping, surfing, searching and sharing stuff online. Every. Single. Day.

Now imagine if you continue doing this for eight hours EVERY day for an entire year. That's 2,848 hours - or 118 days - of your life spent in front of a screen, gone forever.  

Do you really want to lose over one third of your existence to shitty online habits? 

Like it or not, technology is here to stay. And like any tool, it's effectiveness and value comes down to how we use it. 

For me, my smartphone is a gateway to the world. It's my personal assistant, accountant, sleuthhound, creative agency and DJ. It's convenient, educational, entertaining and can be a real time saver. I love being able to pay bills, book a restaurant, respond to email and check in with family 15,670km away in the short time it's taken me to cross the street and order my coffee. 

But I also love the art of unplugging in the evenings and on weekends. Because I don't need to be nor do I want to be contactable 24 hours a day and let's face it no one dies regretting the email they didn't open. 

Every time I put my digital devices away for designated periods of time, I get to do something I love instead, I get to appreciate time, I get to be present for the people I love, I get to meet new people and try new things. I get to inhale the world around me and feed my curiosities. 

I get to take part in my life thoughtfully and intentionally. And when I go back to my online activities, I go back with renewed focus.

I challenge you to go offline for an evening, a day, a weekend, a week.

I encourage you to make smarter choices with your time and resources.

I hope you shake up your wired senses, get inspired and reconnect with life. 

If that feels like a stretch - start small. Try swapping one hour of your screen time for something more relaxing, exciting, or invigorating.

If you are still not sure where to start, start here:

35 ways you can disconnect to reconnect with your life

  1. Get up early and watch the sunrise
  2. Strengthen important relationships by reaching out to someone you've been neglecting 
  3. Go outside and choose a fun activity you enjoy or have been wanting to try
  4. Define your personal mission statement
  5. Do one thing that will move you closer to your goals
  6. Handwrite five thank you notes to the people who inspire, encourage and support you
  7. Plan and plant your first veggie patch
  8. Visit your local garden nursery and get inspired to create your own oasis
  9. Treat yourself to an indulgent facial
  10. Get a massage 
  11. Enjoy a long lazy lunch with a friend
  12. Make a list of all the places in the world you would want to visit
  13. Go for a walk, run, or bike ride
  14. Hike in the national park
  15. Practice compassion, kindness and giving by volunteering for a cause you believe in
  16. Raise a sweat (of any kind)
  17. Spend an afternoon in an art gallery or museum
  18. Get dressed up and go to your favourite restaurant
  19. Plan a weekend away
  20. Beautify your home one small space at a time
  21. Take a nap
  22. Get lost in a great book
  23. Try a new recipe from an old cookbook
  24. Prepare a soothing bath to calm and rejuvenate your mind and body
  25. Make your own heavenly scented bath bombs
  26. Play with a furry friend
  27. Create a mouth watering breakfast for family/friends
  28. Discover and listen to new music
  29. Start practicing a new skill
  30. Try a new hobby or get back to the one you miss
  31. Sit and focus on your breathing for 15 minutes
  32. Plan an intimate and romantic evening
  33. Look for new and old treasures at your local markets
  34. Go somewhere you've never been before
  35. Make something with your hands

Where will your clicking take you? 

Pay attention to how much time you invest and how much of it you waste absentmindedly online. You only get 1,440 minutes each day - how will you spend it?

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