Here are five simple but powerful suggestions for shaking up your digital life for the better:
1. Follow people and things that move you
Cull content that leaves you flat and subscribe to voices that push your buttons in positive ways. They might give you daily motivation, teach you something new, or make you feel great about yourself. These are not small things.
An inspiring woman I follow on Instagram recently compiled a list of other, diverse and inspiring women to follow on the channel. I signed up and scaled the content that helps me move forward. Look to your current inspiration and see who they seek out.
We can start to take on the qualities of those we surround ourselves with. Extract the negative influences and anything that makes you feel crappy or less than. However, that doesn’t mean we only follow people like us.
2. Hang out with people that disagree with you
As much as it’s helped people find each other and come together, social media also bears the responsibility for polarising how we see ourselves and the world.
Resist the filter bubble that reduces your capability to have a civil debate, make a persuasive argument, take constructive criticism and expose yourself to genuinely different perspectives. These are key life and career skills that can be eroded or enhanced by your overall social media activity.
A great way to do this is to join a network or online community that isn’t comprised of friends, but united by another purpose or interest. You’ll have things in common, but you’ll hail from varied walks of life and be introduced to new ideas. Read content from different types of publications. Step outside your comfort zone and invite challenge – then rise to it.
3. Make digital decluttering a habit
Whether it’s deleting or sorting those digital photos that pile up, or wrangling the overflowing inbox, our digital stuff impacts our state of mind just like the physical. Too much data can suffocate us, and make us feel anxious or paralysed.
Dedicate some time – a weekend here and there, a holiday, or a regular day each week or month – to do data maintenance, the same way you’d keep the weeds under control in the garden.
The most effective approaches tend to be a regular tidy. Typically we do it once in a great while, and then fall into our old habits again. But it doesn’t take much for that data to build up and undermine our other goals.
You might like to pair it with your regular backup schedule (you have one, right?).
4. Learn new things
Whether it’s signing up to start mastering the basics of coding via Code Academy, learning the basics of UX via Gymnasium, tapping the minds of masters via MIT OpenCourseware, learning just about anything through Coursera, or a new language with Duolingo – there are hundreds of options that cover just about anything that could help your career, fire your imagination or let you fulfil a lifelong dream. Learning can even help you live longer.
Building a habit of learning in your own time and own way can improve your career fortunes and your personal wellbeing. Replace those soul suckers you culled with tools, apps or online communities that can help you bring a little learning into your routine.
5. Get ruthless with time
This doesn’t mean not investing your time online; it means having an unforgiving economy when it comes to where and when you do so — with value as the staunch yardstick.
If you spend two hours watching interesting people in your field present via YouTube and learn or get inspired, that’s not wasted. A quarter of an hour catching up on from people you care about on Facebook, or 15 minutes canvassing interesting commentary opinion from your network on Twitter can add value to your day at work, make you feel connected and aid peace of mind.
But slipping down a rabbit hole and feeling like you’ve lost control of your digital life? We’ve all been there, and it’s a bad habit. Fragmented, relentless news cycles further pull us into a risky spiral of info-snacking.
These have all worked a treat for me (one of the best moves I made was deleting my Facebook account in January 2017). Reflect on where you spend your time digitally and how you feel afterwards. Decide if you get value from that experience and like that feeling. Take back control and make choices about your online life that make the best sense for you.
Whatever your goals and preferences in your digital life, get back in the driver’s seat and don’t let the web happen to you.