2020 was a challenging year for all of us. Having to live through a unique event in our generation has shifted our perspective massively. But the truth is, I was a shut-in long before COVID. A mixture of health issues and crippling anxiety meant that I’ve been working from home for over 10 years. Yep, over a decade. So, when the pandemic came around, I had a bag of tricks ready to go. Today, I thought I’d share some of the stuff I do to keep myself from burning out on the digital world. Here are my 3 best tips to overcome digital burnout.
1. No Social Media Apps on My Phone
This is a big one for a lot of people, but hear me out. I did an experiment last year. I set up a counter on my smartwatch, and every time I reached out for my phone, I added it to the tab. It came to over 50 times a day! When I told friends about it, they told me I was using my phone too much. But subsequent testing with my wife and my friends (using the Digital Wellbeing feature on Android phones) has revealed that this is about average for a person my age (35 years young). Now, I wasn’t looking for a top online casino or trying to save a kitten by jumping off a tree. I was just reaching for my phone. Constantly.
I decided I didn’t want social media, or my phone, to rule my life. So, I deleted my Instagram account, and uninstalled Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter off my phone. I can only access social media on my computer. This simple change has brought an immense sense of peace to my life. And I have not lost touch with the people in my life who mean the most. On the contrary. I now have time to call them, or visit them. Or video-conference with them. I no longer satisfy my hunger for interaction with the quick fix that is social media. My phone usage has decreased by half, and I now use my phone for secondary income (stock and cryptocurrency trading). I spend more time with my family, and the time spent is of better quality, too.
2. No Paid Subscription Services
I love Netflix. I really do. But I realized more and more that I was spending way too much time idly scrolling through it rather than enjoying the amazing content that I found there. Before I cancelled my subscription, I was watching mostly comedies. It was funny to watch The Hangover series while thinking about the best usa real money online casinos. Or revisit old travel documentaries while browsing classified ads for a good deal on a motorbike. But it was fluff. It was entertaining, but it wasn’t enriching.
We now use Kanopy, a service which is tied to our library card. It provides high-quality content (including horror films and documentaries), for free. It has a 10-credit limit per month, but I’ve never ran out. We also watch a lot of original content on YouTube, and for everything else, we use Tubi. Whenever we sit down to watch something together, it is with purpose. Not only do we enjoy it more, but we’re also saving money. And to top it off, we’re more productive at work because we’re not distracted by browsing the endless pit of Netflix content.
3. Non-digital Hobbies
This is probably the thing that has helped me the most. It will be different for everyone in terms of specifics, but just unplugging from the digital world and doing something physical, with your hands, will always be good for you. For me, it comes in the form of restoring old vehicles and working on my yard, or that arcade build I’m still working on. I swear my lawn has never looked as good as when I’m under stress from my digital media job. I love playing video games and watching films and documentaries, but when it comes to digital detox, nothing beats the physical realm.
If I had to give not multiple tips to overcome digital burnout, but just one, this will be it. Find a hobby that you can do without any digital gadgets. No phones, no computers, no MP3 players, no music. Just be in the moment. Clean your house, declutter your closet, mow your lawn, groom your pet, restore a car, paint a shelf. Anything. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, how clear your head is, how crips your thoughts, after a good sweat doing something like that.
What Are Your Tips To Overcome Digital Burnout?
Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for ways to minimize that burning feeling in my eyes, and that heavy feeling in my head. Humans have lived without digital devices for hundreds of millions of years. We’re just not built to handle this many stimuli coming from screens. A lifestyle that is lean on digital stimuli will be tremendously beneficial to any brave soul willing to say no to Zuckerberg and his cronies.