I got an email today. Like I got emails all through this day. I see a little envelop thingie appear below in my screen, I am distracted, I open my email program, I read it, I print it, I delete it.
We live in an information age. There is so much information. There are so many triggers. We read so much. We all have our so-called filters, but really all the information just keeps coming. We don’t go online, do just the thing we need to do and log off… Who does that? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, newssites, they just keep feeding us and they are all interesting to check, check, check again every minute almost… There is an emotional price we’re paying for doing so. ‘Data stress’ I call it… Productivity, creativity and the quality of relationships suffer. Ooh. We can never really handle all this information! But… there is happy news… ”that feeling of being overwhelmed online isn’t an inevitable consequence of living in this internet society - we can change how we behave when we go online.” Yay!
The tips below will help you be more present when using the Internet, improve your online efficiency, and reduce the stressy feeling that all this online data gives you.
1. Only ever visit tuneintoluke!
Just kidding - but get the point… Reduce the amount of things to ‘check’ online. What is really important? Focus on your target and don’t read irrelevant information!
2. The STOP technique
This technique is especially helpful when you find yourself “lost” online, or you’ve forgotten what you were searching for. The steps of the technique are:
S—Stop your online browsing or put your e-mail checking on hold.
T—Take a normal, full breath. “Breathe naturally and follow your breath coming in and out of your nose.”
O—Observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
P—Proceed with something that will support you in the moment, whether that’s talking to a friend, taking a two-minute break from what you were doing online.. The key is that you need to feel good about the very next thing you do, and then you can get back to what you were doing after a couple of minutes.
3. Distinguish Between Work-Oriented and Personal Tasks
Many of us blur the distinction between “working” online and “having fun” online. One way to stay mindful is to keep a reminder in sight of whether you’re concentrating on work or pleasure. Simple Post It notes on your monitor work just fine.
4. Set Time Limits
If we’re receiving information 24 hours a day, we give our brains no time to relax, to change modes, to just have fun. It just isn’t good to always be “on-call” for new information in every moment or situation. You have no need to be online 24/7.
5. Chunk Your Information
If you take in every bit of information with equal attention, it becomes harder to sort and track. Our brains don’t process large amounts of random information well, but we can take in more if it’s grouped—what psychologists call “chunking.”
These suggestions won’t stop the (over)flow of information from invading our lives—only we can do that. Remember that change takes time, but with some patience, and a lot of repetition, you too can find yourself using the Internet in a more mindful manner. Wowwww. Check. Breathe. Print. Delete.
Sources: Alternet.org, Odemagazine