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Get a handle on your digital life quick. It’s much easier than dealing with a mouthful of stress-induced ulcers later on.
Technology in various forms has always been an important part of our lives. But ever since it took the Web route and “smart”ened up all our gadgets, it has not given us a moment’s respite from information and the desire to acquire all of it. The result of this dominating digital life? Monstrous amounts of stress, much of it going unchecked because you aren’t often aware of its accumulation nor do you take regular measures to counter it.
You can’t turn back the clock, but you can and should change course midway to work toward a stress-free digital lifestyle, by preventing stress in the first place. The following steps are a good place to begin.
Clarify Your Digital Priorities
What do you want to get out of the Web, your computer, phone, tablet, and all the gadgets you have? If you put that in succinct terms, you’re likely to see that there’s a lot of digital paraphernalia you use because you happen to have easy access to it or because you have used it for so long that you can’t imagine living without it. A vague understanding of your digital needs is at the root of your haphazard use of related technology, which in turn leads to stress.
If I had asked myself last year why I need the Web, my answer would have been, “Um, everything?”. No wonder my browsing habits were out-of-control and driving me crazy. Same question this year, and my answer? I need the Web:
- To write for MakeUseOf and my personal blog
- To keep in touch with a select group of people
- For banking
- To read for pleasure and to hunt for information occasionally
Accordingly, my Web usage is no longer frenzied and stressful. I must admit that the week-long digital sabbatical I took last December helped me look at the Web from a fresh and better perspective.
Define your digital needs one by one to gauge if your digital life is in alignment with your digital priorities are in alignment with your ideal lifestyle. Now restrict your gadget and Web usage to what’s required to take care of these priorities.
Set aside dedicated time to explore the mysteries of technology. Unless you do so, out of curiosity and without your knowledge, your entire day is spent loitering around the Web or fiddling with some piece of tech. With a roadmap on hand, you can leave the extras behind and get the best of the Web. Also, if you want to escape a technology rut, we have some answers for you.
Have An Antidote Ready
There’s no dearth of haters on the Web. Some of us are capable of ignoring these negative elements and moving right on, while some of us can’t. It takes a thick skin and a healthy dose of detachment to survive and thrive online. The bottom line is that if you don’t learn to handle the poisonous side of the Web, it can affect you at a deep, personal level, more so if you’re a sensitive person already. You can avoid that side of the Web completely, in which case you’ll also miss out on a lot that is good, or you can practice taking it in your stride.
You can filter your Web experience somewhat to keep the trolls at bay, but it’s more difficult to do so when they are not total strangers, but belong to your circle of family and friends. In any case, learning to calmly and sensibly deal with any kind of criticism or provocation when you’re online will help you stay sane.
Treat Tech Like Just Another Tool
Until a couple of decades ago, we considered technology as one part of our lives, and not always the most important one. That’s not the scenario now. Digital tech has become a basic aspect of life as health, relationships, career, etc. are, to the extent that sometimes we’re less worried about security or privacy than we’re about preordering a gadget or snagging a vanity url. This is not a criticism, rather a feeling of sheepishness.
To put a stop to the unparalleled domination of your life by various kinds of technology, especially Web-related ones, you have to revert to seeing tech as a means to an end. Know that technology exists to make life simpler for you without taking it over for you or turning you into an automaton.
Good Tech, Bad Tech
Tech itself is not bad. Our abuse of it is.
Trying to put your health and life back together after they have disintegrated under the onslaught of technology is a long, painful process. For your own sake, it’s best to prevent things from deteriorating to that extreme. To wrest control of your life from technology, you don’t require drastic changes, just smart ones, as outlined here.
Are you a master at keeping technology from overpowering your life? How do you manage it? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: Aaron Jacobs via Compfight cc, joelogon via Compfight cc, eamoncurry123 via Compfight cc, Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc, shawnzrossi via Compfight cc, pennuja via Compfight cc // All images are derivatives of the originals