How to Keep Internet Technologies from Becoming Time-Wasters

Email, social media, and blogs are useful for staying in contact with loved ones and for entertainment, but they can easily become significant time-wasters.

Email, social media, and blogs are useful technologies, but they can easily become time-wasters. What does it look like to use these technologies sensibly?

Thankfully, by being judicious in our use of these technologies, we can reap their benefits without being distracted from the many important tasks before us. What does it look like to use these technologies sensibly? Here are my thoughts.

Keeping technologies from becoming time-wasters

  • Limit how many “friends” you have and how many people you follow. How many of your Facebook friends are actually your friends in real life? If you’re like most Facebook users, then you only have genuine friendships with a fraction of your Facebook friends. If this is true for you, then do you really have time to read status updates, view pictures, and see every link shared by all of these friends? I certainly don’t! The same is true when it comes to following others on various social media platforms. We don’t have time to view an unlimited number of pins or tweets! It is okay to decline friend requests and be selective about who you follow.
  • Minimize how often you post on social media. If you’re updating your status, posting pictures, and sharing links or anecdotes multiple times each day, then it’s quite possible you’re distracted by social media. I’m pretty sure my friends and followers don’t want to see my updates that often and, quite frankly, I’ve been known to unfollow others because of their uber-frequent social media updates. Ask yourself if it’s really important that you share something. If so, then share it. If not, then use your time for something that is important.
  • Restrict how often you check email, blogs, and social media on your smartphone. Many of us have our phones with us all of the time, so it’s easy to grab them and view email messages or recent pins all of the time. Often we need to spend this time on something else (helping our children, cleaning our kitchens, making grocery lists, etc.). Personally, I have found it useful to avoid accessing Facebook on my phone. I simply don’t need the distraction. However, I will sometimes browse Pinterest while nursing my daughter (I did this often during feedings in the middle of the night). At times when I have a free moment or two I also check my email accounts, though I don’t respond to emails on my phone. I set aside limited time to do that on my computer.
  • Don’t try to read every blog that contains interesting posts. Several sources estimate that there are well over 150 million blogs on the internet today. That’s a lot! We will find worthwhile posts on many of these blogs, but we can’t read every one that interests us. At the risk of losing you as a reader, I must say this: Read a few blogs that you really benefit from, but unsubscribe from the rest. There’s no reason to put a strain on your schedule because you are reading too many blogs. Stick with the few that really make a positive contribution to your life.
  • Use a timer when you’re on the computer. Because it is so easy to get carried away while on the internet, it can be useful to set aside a specific, limited amount of time to check your email, read blogs, and utilize social media. I accomplish this by setting a timer. I log off as soon as the timer sounds.
  • Don’t access the internet while in bed. The portability of smartphones, tablets, and laptops makes it easy to do a “quick check” of your email or newsfeed before getting out of bed in the morning. Of course, this quick check is often anything but quick! Additionally, your focus on these devices can harm your relationship with your spouse by interrupting your personal time and the light from the devices’ screens can wreak havoc on your sleep.

Do you ever find yourself wasting time on internet technologies? What do you do to get your focus back on more important things?

Shared at the following link parties:

The Art of Home-Making, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tuesday Talk, WholeHearted Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, and Monday’s Musings.

Comments

  1. Great reminders, Shannon! I especially like your idea about using a timer. I need to do that. Okay, fine! I’m getting up to set one right now. (Done. Ticking away.) Thanks for helping me focus this morning. Stopping by from Facebook! 🙂

  2. These are great ideas! I like how you bring up “don’t read every blog that contains interesting posts”-I recently started unsubscribing to a couple different blogs. Yes, I’d read them every once in a while, and they seemed really fascinating, but mostly, the notifications were just filling my e-mail inbox and making me feel obligated to read all of them! Something else that has helped me is spending minimal time scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook. I might do a super quick scroll or two throughout the day, but other than that, I try to keep Facebook time focused on answering notifications or writing to people. Something else that I’ve started doing is realizing that I don’t have to answer every e-mail ASAP. I’ve found myself spending loads of time on the internet before, and one of the reasons was because I felt that I needed to respond super quickly to every form of contact that people made with me online. But, I’ve realized that I don’t need to do that. I think it’s perfectly fine if I let an e-mail sit in my inbox for a couple days before responding, unless there’s something that needs to be urgently addressed. This has helped me feel less pressured to check e-mail all the time and take all of that extra time to respond to things! A final way that I have been helping myself limit internet time is by having non-internet activities ready and waiting for me-like books, knitting (or crocheting) projects, or whatever DIY I’m working on.

    • I really like your approach to email, AnneMarie! I often feel like I need to respond to emails as soon as I read them. You’re right, though, that they can sit in our inboxes for a few days. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Internet in bed almost kills me! An hour will go by and I won’t even notice! Great post!

  4. Perfect tips, Shannon. I totally agree with you. Our society is so plugged in, that it’s often difficult to keep technology at bay when we need to. Your tips will certainly help, though. Especially the one about checking social media on a smartphone. I’ve been known to waste time on my phone as of late that I uninstalled most of my social media apps on it, and have kept it solely on my tablet. It’s a small gesture, but it’s been so much better. I’m more productive and more focused during the day. Thanks so much for sharing. Glad I found you on Tuesday Talk today

  5. These are great tips! Thanks so much 🙂

    Colletta

  6. Shannon,
    Great ideas here! I only recently got a smart phone, so I’m doing my best to NOT get started on lots of apps.
    I have to admit, tho, that, as a blogger, it’s hard setting time limits! So much of my time on the computer these days is writing and then promotion… I don’t even look at Facebook the same way anymore – it’s all part of my work/office hours!! (And setting THOSE up really does help create natural limits…)
    Thanks for sharing this at Coffee & Conversation this week 🙂

    • Hi Pat,
      It is particularly hard when you’re a blogger! One thing I have had to learn is that I don’t have to respond to comments immediately.

  7. Great list! I especially love the last 2! Thank you for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! 🙂

If this is your first time commenting or if something in your text triggers a spam filter, then your comment will be held for moderation and will not be visible immediately. It will be visible as soon as I am able to approve it. Thanks for joining in the conversation!

Join the Conversation

*