(Updated from 05/21/2018)
I get sucked into the Internet and news abyss, too. A “quick check” for a Facebook status from an ill family member turns into 10 minutes (or more) of watching cats in funny hats ringing bells for food, and smart dogs doing chores.
It’s so much more interesting and less frustrating to watch these than to research health insurance or whatever you’re supposed to be doing, and it’s so hard to resist the distraction. Those darned algorithms are so smart!
Maybe it’s the news that gets you. That Trump (or Putin or whoever)! What is he up to today? Oh! And look! Two celebrities you don’t know—and will probably never meet—are getting married, having a baby, splitting up, or dating!
Stop clicking on the links, if you have been. I am baiting you, just like other sites do, because I want you to think about what causes you to click on a link. You might not know yet, but I can almost guarantee that Google, Facebook, Amazon, and a few hackers know. Who do you trust most with that data?
I’m not saying most of the companies collect data are going to harm you with their knowledge. They’re just going to try to sell you stuff and help other people sell you their stuff. Sometimes, that includes me. When you and I are a good fit, I’d love to work with you.
If you knew what the big data companies know, you might not make the same choices. (But it’s okay if you still do.)
As for the hackers, I’m tired of you. Go away.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been posting videos of the Seven Choices and Five Actions from my book, DIY Conflict Resolution. These are the choices and actions conflict resolution masters make. Choice Five is to Clear Your Mind, and that’s my invitation to you.
Are seeing that your consumption of media causes some of your overwhelm? Your cluttered mind? Your self-doubt?
I’m not trying to add to your stress. I just want you to be aware that all those email and text messages are only helpful to a point. The same goes with the streaming services and everything else you can get on a device in your hand or a monitor in the back of a taxi.
Your mind (like mine) is probably frantic with “FOMO” (fear of missing out)—if you’re not controlling it. And it’s easier to control it when it’s “clear”. So, this week, let’s turn off the hoses filling us too full:
- Turn off all social media notifications. Unless your full-time job is to manage social media, you don’t need the distraction of pop-up, text, email, banner, or sound notifications. You’ve probably been well-trained to check Twitter regularly. Don’t worry that you might forget. And what would happen if you didn’t check? Let’s find out!
- Do not read any printed news in any form. Reading letters from family or an email from a friend is okay, but especially avoid the inflammatory headlines and click-bait (assuming, of course, that your job or other vital relationship does not require knowledge of current events).
- Put your smartphone on silent and in your pocket, purse, or desk whenever you are with other people (except when you must be available for emergencies). There is rarely something more important than being fully present with the people near you in a given moment. You could miss a signal that saves your life, an opportunity for your dream job, or a chat that reminds you of your late parent.
Give yourself lots of space for your mind to process all the data it is constantly downloading. Allow yourself to be bored, if boredom arises. I am confident you’ll come up with something to do.