Take Back Your Online Time

Rosie Day
Lifestyle Editor at Large

Once upon a time, you signed up for the newsletter. You clicked “like.” Now, you sign on to check your Facebook or email, two hours go by, and you can hardly recall a word you’ve read. Sound familiar?

It may be time to take a step back and consider what information you really need - what best informs you, most inspires you, and is truly important - and get to work getting rid of the rest.

Simplifying your online life can be a surprisingly beneficial act. One of the best moves you can make is to unsubscribe from companies, brands and organisations that send you frequent updates. The pizza place you never go to anymore, your favourite food  brand, the expensive store you browse but never shop at - all are prime candidates for the cut.

Here's Five Perks of Making the Purge

1. You’ll feel better about yourself

Let’s face it, ad agencies spend millions of pounds concocting ways to get us to impulse buy. Too often, that urge is sparked by making us feel less than or lacking without their product, their must have gadget, or their exotic beauty products. When you opt out, you get back your mental space.

2. You’ll save money

With less urging to spend, spend, spend, you may find some extra money in your bank account, and it’ll probably add up to more than those special offers and coupons ever saved you.

3. You’ll be a better role model

You know intellectually that “stuff” doesn’t matter, and you tell your children the same. But when it’s dangled in front of your face around the clock, who wouldn’t feel a growing need for this season’s hot home decor, or trendy nail polish colours? If what you have quickly feels like it’s not enough, it may be time to tune out before it trickles down to the little ones.

4. You’ll have more time for content that matters

When your online rounds can be made in half the time without the fluff, you’ll only be reading what you really want to read. What makes your heart jump a little when you see a new post? Whose e-mails do you instantly open, before any others? These are the only subscriptions you should keep around. With the essentials still coming in, you won’t miss what you let go. There might be longer dry spells with no new posts to read, but the ones that do come up will actually add value to your life.

5. You’ll increase your productivity with fewer distractions

When you’re only alerted to news and updates that actually matter, you open up time for more fulfilling pursuits. You can more easily shift from mindless, recreational browsing to getting back to what is important.

Finding The Balance

It may take some trial and error, but eventually you’ll hit the sweet spot for your online information needs. New distractions may creep in. Things that once seemed crucial may become meaningless. Honing in on what matters is a continual process, online and in the world at large.

Your time is your life: spend it well!