You win some. You lose some.
Five ways I spent less time online in 2021.
1. I quit social media (again)
After three glorious years without social media, and seven years away from those IG streets, I signed up for Instagram in mid-2020. Why? To share the most important message of our time: Unplug and spend less time online. Instagram won. I was spending way too much time on the app, trapped in a vicious cycle of mindless scrolling. #Fail.
Something had to give. So, I deleted my account towards the end of the year. Although I do wish that I never broke my three-year no social media streak, I’m glad for the experience for one very important lesson: I prefer life off social media.
Priorly, I just hated social media. I didn’t like how much time I spent on it. I didn’t like the self-comparison. The brain rot. Blah, blah, etc., etc. Now, my desire is towards something I like, something I prefer, which is a life disconnected from social media. The life itself. I know now it is better for me to be off social media than to be on it.
Social Media: 0
Goal for 2022 (and forever): say no to social media.
2. News? I don’t know her.
What a year to not care about the news!
Each year, I’m grateful for quitting the news a few years back. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. I don’t know and I don’t care. Ignorance is bliss.
Goal for 2022 (and forever): It’s okay not to be ‘informed,’ read a book instead.
3. A dumb smartphone
I turned my iPhone into a dumb phone. If you’re too lazy to read the article I linked, I basically used parental control to block browsing and app download on my phone. Admittedly, I sometimes begged whoever set the passcode so I can access browsing. When it worked, I immediately regretted it.
It’s amazing how quickly I would revert back to the.same.old.shit of mindlessly browsing frivolous content online. So much time wasted. Out of sight, out of mind is the only approach that has worked for me when it comes to not being glued to my phone 24/7. It’s tough being a weak b!#$h.
Goal for 2022: Keep smartphone dumb.
4. #52Books challenge
I failed (again).
But I read twenty nine books this year; a lot more than I would have read without challenging myself to read more.
Truthfully, it is much easier than we think to finish a book a week. Life’s distractions get in the way, but a book you can get lost in is one of life’s simple pleasures.
Most importantly- *drumrolls please*- I quit the self-help genre. It has been a great choice for spending less time online. I used to spend a good amount of time reading ‘how to [self-improvement]’ articles on the internet. Not anymore. You can learn more from fiction than self-help anyway.
Favourite books of 2021
- Wonder – R.J Palacio
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Ishmael Beah
- Weapons of Math Destruction – Cathy O’Neil
- In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction – Dr. Gabor Maté
- The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
- The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo
- Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir – Eddie Huang
Goal for 2022: #52booksin52weeks again, baby!
5. Less apps, more connection
If there is one really, really, good reason for spending less time online- disconnected from the digital noise and distractions- it is the real life connection it forces you to seek out. Unplugging leaves you with lots of time and mental energy. It gets pretty lonely pretty quickly without consuming the life updates of everyone on your tiny screen.
The good news is there are still people around. It’s just that real life requires more effort. It’s easy to click the like button, hard to listen. But it is so worth the effort. I feel so much more closer to the most important people in my life.
Goal for 2022: Find more reasons to spend more time with people IRL.
Bye, bye 2021.
Until next year,
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