Do you waste too much time on the internet? If so, spending less might make you happier!

Do you waste too much time on the internet? If so, spending less might make you happier!

There are many factors that contribute to happiness.

And there are many factors that can detract from your happiness.

One of the most common detractors of happiness and wellbeing is … too much screen time!

Now I’m not saying you can’t enjoy spending time on your screens; and I’m not saying it might not, in some ways, bring about happiness and enjoyment.

But if, like many, you’d like to spend a bit less time staring at your computer, tablet or phone then read on…

via Eric Barker

We all waste a lot of time on the internet these days. And due to mobile devices, we do it everywhere, not just at home.

(In fact, right now there is enormous pressure on moi to make sure you feel reading this is productive and not just more time-wasting on the internet. Yeesh.)

So how do we address… Oh, dear me, I almost forgot to include the obligatory scary statistics that are essential when talking about how technology is ruining our lives. Alrighty, better check that box…

Holly Shakya of UCSD and Nicholas Christakis of Yale did a study of over 5200 people titled, “Association of Facebook Use With Compromised Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study.”

And, boy, that title is quite the time-saver as far as my job is concerned, lemme tell ya:

Our results show that overall, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with well-being.

By the way, that research wasn’t published in the “Fancy Pants Journal of Happiness” or the “The Review of Ivory Tower Digital Studies” Nah. It was approved and published by “The American Journal of Epidemiology.” Yes, that’s the study of disease.

Email, texting, Netflix, Xbox, 64 flavors of social media… The screens have declared victory. We’ve got an iPhone in one hand and we’re waving a white flag with the other.

And for those who grew up in a screen-dominated world, it’s even worse. Teens spend an average of nine hours a day consuming media. And their rates of depression and suicide have skyrocketed. I’d love to tell you those things are totally unconnected but SDSU psychology professor Jean Twenge says, “Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”

What do we do?

Cal Newport wants to start a revolution. He calls it “Digital Minimalism.” Put the baseball bat down; we’re not going neo-luddite and smashing the machines. We want to control how we use tech — so it doesn’t control us.

From Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World:

Digital minimalism definitively does not reject the innovations of the internet age, but instead rejects the way so many people engage with these tools.

And Cal’s the right guy to guide us out of this mess. Not only is he a bestselling author — but did I mention he’s also a professor of computer science at Georgetown? He’s the furthest things from a technophobe and knows a lot more about our digital world than you or I do.

His upcoming book is Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.

Let’s get to it…

The Digital Minimalism Manifesto

Screen time has become the default. And that’s a problem. Waiting in line? Look at your phone. Sitting on the toilet? Look at your phone. Friend said three words that weren’t fascinating? Look at your phone.

You don’t pick up a hammer unless there’s a nail around. It has a specific purpose. But we don’t see our digital tools like that. Cal says we need to.

From Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World:

A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time in a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

Our devices provide plenty of benefits. But we’re often really bad about balancing that with the costs in an optimal way. Social media can make us happy, but face-to-face time makes us happier and one usually comes at the expense of the other. But social media is more convenient. So we don’t make the best choice; we make the easy choice.

These technologies took hold pretty suddenly. Most of us haven’t taken the time to decide what place they have in our lives so they don’t take over our lives. That’s addiction.

We want to be more deliberate and intentional about our technology use. No nail? Don’t pick up the hammer. But you reflexively pick up your phone the second the movie of your life feels like it’s scoring less than 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.

From Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World:

Digital minimalists see new technologies as tools to be used to support things they deeply value – not as sources of value themselves. They don’t accept the idea that offering some small benefit is justification for allowing an attention-gobbling service into their lives, and are instead interested in applying new technology in highly selective and intentional ways that yield big wins. Just as important: they’re comfortable missing out on everything else.

We don’t need to toss our phones but we do need to perform some cost-benefit analysis and decide what works and what doesn’t. Henry David Thoreau put it best over 150 years ago.

From Walden:

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

In the moment, we think our overuse of tech comes at no cost. But then we wonder where Sunday went. Why we always feel like there’s not enough time. And why we haven’t seen certain friends face-to-face in six months.

(To learn more about the science of a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)

So how do we start making changes? We’re going to rehab, pal. No, you’re not checking into a facility — but I hope you like the taste of cold turkey…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE