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Information addiction is getting more and more common. Some of us find it very challenging not to compulsively check our email, update our Facebook status, and similar actions. People are spending more and more time online and it can have negative consequences. It’s very easy to find a big part of your day slipping away because of these activities.
If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you might have a challenge to address:
* Do you check your email, the news, Facebook, or any other social marketing site first thing in the morning and the last thing before you head to bed?
* Are you constantly texting or surfing on your cell phone throughout the day?
* Do you ever choose to play around online instead of going out with your friends and family?
* Do you regularly post, tweet, or text while with others?
* Do you feel a real need to get back online if you’ve been away for more than an hour?
* Would it really bother you to unplug for 24 hours?
If you would like to change your attachment to the digital world, you’re in the right place.
These strategies will get you started:
1. Evaluate yourself. Really take a look at what’s going on. What type of distraction are you most attached to? What time of day do you feel the greatest urge to connect digitally? For a couple of days, track your digital behavior. Keep track of how many times you check your email, tweet, text, and check certain websites.
* You can’t tell if you’re making progress if you don’t know your starting point.
2. Learn to pause. Addictive behaviors don’t have a lot of thought behind them; they’re practically automatic. When you feel compelled to engage in your addictive pattern, simply stop for a moment and ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” Even if you go ahead and indulge in the behavior, at least you’re breaking the knee-jerk response.
3. Take regular breaks. Every hour, take a 10-minute break and get away from the activity. Find something to do. Go for a walk, do a few pushups, clean your desk, make a phone call, or do some other activity. When your break is over, see how much longer you can go without reconnecting. Keep track of the time.
4. Schedule your Internet time. Try setting a schedule and stick to it.
5. Make a list each morning. Every morning have a list of important things to accomplish. Complete at least one task before you get online.
6. Schedule non-internet time. Have things scheduled that preclude getting online. Go to a movie or meet a friend for dinner. Play with your kids at the park. Leave your digital device in the car or turn it off.
7. Cut back on your sources. Perhaps you could keep up with 5 blogs instead of 20. Maybe you could limit yourself to one social network or one news source.
Start slowly and tack your progress over time. As long as you’re making regular, consistent progress, you’re headed in the right direction. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but expect to be uncomfortable for a while as you develop a new pattern of behavior.
The Internet and all the related stuff that goes along with it can be very seductive. It’s a quick and easy way to entertain ourselves. If it becomes a troublesome issue for you, then it’s time to do something about it. Unplug a bit and you can discover more joy in your “real” life.
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