I get sucked into the Internet and news abyss, too. A “quick check” for a Facebook status from an ill family member turns into 10 minutes (or more) of watching cats in funny hats ringing bells for food and smart dogs doing chores. (You just clicked the links, didn’t you?)
It’s so much more interesting and less frustrating to watch these than to research health insurance or whatever you’re supposed to be doing, and it’s so hard to resist the distraction. Those darned algorithms are so smart!
Maybe it’s the news that gets you. That Trump! What is he up to today? Oh! And look! Two people you don’t know—and will probably never meet—are getting married, having a baby, splitting up, or dating!
Stop clicking on the links, if you have been. I am baiting you, just like other sites do because I want you to think about what causes you to click on a link. You might not know yet, but I can almost guarantee that Google, Facebook, Amazon, and a few hackers know. Who do you trust most with that data?
I’m not saying most of the companies collect data are going to harm you with their knowledge. They’re just going to try to sell you stuff and help other people sell you their stuff. If you know what they know, you might not make the same choices. (But it’s okay if you still do.)
As for the hackers, I’ll save that discussion for my Cybersecurity course.
This month, we’ve been clearing our minds (Choice #5), and I realize that I probably failed miserably to facilitate that after mentioning cybersecurity. But, hopefully, you are seeing that your consumption of media causes some of your overwhelm, or cluttered mind. From E-mail and text messages to TV and everything else you can get on a device in your hand or a monitor in the back of a taxi, your mind (like mine) is probably frantic with “FOMO” (fear of missing out)—if you’re not controlling it. And it’s easier to control it when it’s “clear”. So, this week, we’re going to turn off the hoses filling us too full. Are you ready?
- Turn off all social media notifications. Unless your full-time job is to manage social media, you don’t need the distraction of pop-up, text, E-mail, banner, or sound notifications. You’ve probably been well-trained to check Twitter regularly. Don’t worry that you might forget. And what would happen if you didn’t check? Let’s find out!
- Do not read any printed news in any form. Reading letters from family or an E-mail from a friend is okay, but especially avoid the inflammatory headlines and click-bait (assuming, of course, that your job or other vital relationship does not require knowledge of current events).
- Put your smartphone on silent and in your pocket, purse, or desk whenever you are with other people (except when you must be available for emergencies). There is rarely something more important than being fully present with the people near you in a given moment. You could miss a signal that saves your life, an opportunity for your dream job, or a chat that reminds you of your late parent.
Give yourself lots of space for your mind to process all the data it is constantly downloading. Allow yourself to be bored, if boredom arises. I am confident you’ll come us with something to do.
Let us know how it goes, and what we can do to support you. We remain committed to making 2018 your best year yet!