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An Actually Useful Guide to Spending More Time Offline

Use your phone for its main purpose: calling people

Even if you love a good text conversation, it might mean that you are more online than you otherwise might be.

One solution is to treat your phone like a phone. If you feel uncomfortable phoning, consider informing your friends that you will start calling more often, so they don't assume the worst when they hear your voice.

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An Actually Useful Guide to Spending More Time Offline

An Actually Useful Guide to Spending More Time Offline

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qj4xvm/an-actually-useful-guide-to-not-being-on-your-phone-all-the-time

vice.com

7

Key Ideas

Reasons you’re on your phone

Our phones, especially social media apps, may drain our time and energy. Scrolling often starts when you're responding to a message, reading an article, or looking at a few pictures. Then, four hours later, you feel nauseated by the wasted time.

To avoid this, get specific about the reasons you're online. Go through the apps you use most and think about the core reason you want to check each app, the reason why you overdo it, and alternative to help you stick more closely to your core reasons. You may decide to limit your social media to 20 minutes a day, talk one-on-one with friends, or unfollow or muting half the people you follow.

Consider posting less

If you find yourself posting a lot, ask what specifically you're seeking and if there are other ways that would leave you feeling better.

It's worthwhile to consider what you are posting to the world. Posting stories, tweeting, and messaging lead to back-and-forth responses that glues you to your feeds.

Use your phone for its main purpose: calling people

Even if you love a good text conversation, it might mean that you are more online than you otherwise might be.

One solution is to treat your phone like a phone. If you feel uncomfortable phoning, consider informing your friends that you will start calling more often, so they don't assume the worst when they hear your voice.

Find creative ways to keep in touch

Apps are not necessarily the best way to communicate personal or semi-private info, nor is it adequate to learn about your friends.

A weekly family FaceTime or a weekly email might be better to stay in touch and is less draining.

Managing notifications

We often open apps more out of muscle memory and not a desire to see what is happening.

  • The most effective way for logging off is to rearrange your home screen so that theses apps are a few swipes away.
  • Consider not allowing any notifications beyond phone calls, and maybe text sounds for the most important people in your life.
  • If you need to get work email notifications, use a different mail app for your personal email.

How to catch up on the news

While you want to be informed on the state of the world, catching up via social media is exhausting and time-consuming.

Consider limiting your news to once or twice a day in a more concentrated way, like listening to a briefing podcast or signing up for an EOD newsletter, or going directly to a newspaper homepage.

Get a hobby

If you find yourself picking up your phone out of habit or boredom, find alternative ways to spend your time.

If you don't have a hobby, now is a good time to find one. Recommendations would be reading books, making art or gifts for friends.

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How you can stay social

Instead of triggering more anxiety by rehashing your quarantine situations, think about what you can do to make your friends feel good and how to be there for them from a distance.

Tell them they matter to you and that you miss them. Then keep the conversation focused on things that make you both feel good.

Conversation suggestions
  • What’s something that made you smile or laugh this week?
  • What was the highlight of your day or week?
  • What have you been watching recently?
  • Have you read any good books or articles?
  • What’s your favorite podcast right now?
  • What have you been enjoying about working from home?
  • What have you been cooking?
  • Have you ordered out from any good restaurants lately?
  • What is making you feel most productive right now?
  • What is making you feel most at peace right now?
  • Have you found any fun ways to be creative?
  • What’s the most absurd thing you’ve seen on social media recently?
  • Where are you finding a sense of purpose right now?
  • What hobbies are you leaning into?
  • What are you doing to relax?

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Aches and pains
Aches and pains

With the 2020 pandemic, many people are required to stay home.

If you're one of these people, you may be noticing new aches and pains you did not experience at the office.

Ergonomic furniture

Many companies follow an ANSI-HFS standard in the design of their computer workstations, which incorporates ergonomic furniture and accessories.

Most homes don't have the space to accommodate ergonomic office furniture, nor do most people invest in it. If you're working from home using your computer on a regular table or you sit in a lounge chair or on your bed, chances are you aren't in a healthy posture. It could potentially lead to musculoskeletal injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, or even deep vein thrombosis.

Your computer screen

View your computer screen with a straight neck. Put your screen in front of you at a comfortable viewing height. Don't look down at your screen or angle your screen, so you must twist your neck.

You may have to put the screen on a pile of books or on a cardboard box to raise it to a comfortable viewing position.

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Digital anxiety
Digital anxiety

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Set boundaries in regards to your screen time

Whenever you feel like you are spending way too much time on your screen, consider setting clear boundaries: it is not the same to work and to just waste your time by watching things that might even end up increasing your anxiety.

Therefore, try using a separate device for work and personal activities and, the most important, make sure to set a limit to the amount of time spent while checking news on social media.

Choose quality over quantity

Whenever you choose to spend your time on checking social media, make sure this is not a wasted time.

So why not trying to learn something useful during the days when you cannot leave your house due to different reasons?

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Everyone should know why they've gathered
Everyone should know why they've gathered

Set the agenda for the meeting. It can be summarized on a handout, written on a whiteboard, or discussed explicitly at the outset.

While it may seem obvious to set an agend...

Start and end the meeting on time
  • Start at a predetermined time. Not a minute later. Sitting around trying to guess when the meeting will start is a waste of a precious resource. Busy people should be able to discipline themselves to be there on time.
  • Ending on time is just as important. It will help ensure you accomplish what's on your agenda.
End with an action plan

Leave the last few minutes of every meeting to discuss the next steps.

This includes deciding who is responsible for that task and what the deadlines are.

Taking breaks is key to better productivity
Taking breaks is key to better productivity

The harder and longer you work, the less productive overall you'll be. Research confirms that taking breaks before you're mentally exhausted is essential for productivity.

Setting healthy boundaries

Set your personal boundaries, so you have dedicated time to take care of yourself, your family or household, and your professional responsibilities. You won't be any good to your family if you regularly jump up to respond to work.

The key to success is deciding on expectations, then communicating those to others. You need to get clear in your mind what hours you will be attending to your work. Perhaps dedicate a space in your home as the "office," letting everyone know that you need privacy. Decide when you are "on" and when you are "off."

Technology and productivity

We all have tools in our pockets to help us.

  • For example, consider using your phone's built-in alarm for taking breaks, or giving yourself a reminder to eat lunch, or taking a screen break to reduce eyestrain.
  • If you find it challenging to work, consider a productivity method like the Pomodoro technique, where you work deeply for about 25 minutes, then take a short break. Repeat four of the cycles, then take a 30-minute break before starting again. There are many Pomodoro apps to help you.
  • Don't forget to use the same technology to turn off notifications and distractions while you're working.

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Tsundoku
Tsundoku

Many of us have a desire to read. We buy books, but then the demands of work and family catch up with us, and we never get round to reading the books. The Japanese calls it tsundoku

Finding the time for books

To give books the attention and time it deserves in your life, you need to make it a higher priority. It means you have to change your habits and routines to allow more reading.

Sometimes, your reading needs only a little encouragement to displace something that should be lower down on your list. For example, to forgo watching television and reading a book instead.

The reading habit: Succeeding long-term
  • First consider why you want to read more books. Reading should be enjoyable for you because you find them entertaining, calming, stimulating, and fascinating. Once the habit is set, you can also read other things you "should" read.
  • Change your surroundings to make it easier for you to grab a book. Reading apps can be prominent on your phone. Physical books should be in places that you most often frequent.
  • Create modest reading goals. Permit yourself to start with reading one page a day. Once the habit is established, you can increase it.
  • Once you have laid the foundation for your new reading habit, create an action association, such as reading on the train to work or with your mid-morning coffee or dinner.

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First impressions

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Know your context

It’s important to first consider where you are trying to make a good impression—whether it’s a formal job interview or a dinner date. 

Context matters. It gives you cues as to how you should dress, speak, look and behave, in a way that matches the setting you are entering to. That is a key aspects of making a good impression. 

Adjust your attitude

Try not to look bored, rude or hostile.

A useful attitude is welcoming, curious and enthusiastic: smile, make eye contact long enough to notice the color of that person’s eyes, sit without crossing your arms or legs. This project a positive, open warm impression.

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