6 Ways to Beat Bad Online Habits

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 24 September 2018
  • 3 minute read
6 Ways to Beat Bad Online Habits | The Health Sessions

This article was written by Alice Yoon from ThesisRush. 

Everyone’s got bad habits, especially in the digital age, working on online platforms. We know them and despite knowing the consequences of tagging them along, we always find ourselves struggling to stop them. Why stop them? It’s fun to binge-watch Netflix, to browse Instagram and Facebook all day long, or to go online shopping at late hours. In addition, you may be forced to check your email periodically throughout the day.

But these online habits are bad for you. The things mentioned above will lead to eye strain, emotional problems like depression, poor sleeping habits, negative body image, decreased focus and mental energy, and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it?

It is not easy to get rid of these harmful online habits, but it is possible. Actually, most of the things we do each day are not out of a decision we have made. They are something that has become a habit. We just find ourselves doing things that we would otherwise not do because they were not in the plan. If you want to get out of this, here are 6 ways to beat bad online habits.

How to Beat Bad Online Habits

1.     Know When You Need to Unplug

A lot of time gets wasted when you don’t realize that you are tired and need to take a bit of time off. It is highly unlikely that you can remain productive throughout the day. You need to take a break to rest your mind. This should be around two hours before bedtime. To unplug, you will have to ditch the gadgets (yes, even your smartphone!) and stop thinking about them. Keep in mind that it requires discipline and time to do it.

When starting out, you may feel a desire to check Facebook while in bed. However, you should make an effort not to do it. The blue light from your gadgets activates your brain, making it difficult for you to go to sleep. Don’t pick up your phone immediately after you wake up in order to take advantage of the solitude of your early hours. Develop a habit of getting online only when you need to work.

2.    Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

You cannot escape a bad habit by just stopping doing it. This is why it is important to look for something to replace that bad online habit with. When you feel like you want to take some time off your computer, it is better to leave your desk and go outside, or walk around the house or office rather than just staying there forcing yourself to not open Facebook. If we find ourselves on the wrong websites, it’s probably because we are tired and want to break away from what we are doing.

Identify what triggers your bad online habit and then replace it with something good – something that will still give you a pleasurable reward. For example, you can read a real book instead of scrolling online, or you can focus on one of your hobbies instead of playing online games. There are many things you can do once you realize that social networking and games are not the only enjoyable things in the world.

6 Ways to Beat Bad Online Habits | The Health Sessions

3.     Minimize and/or Avoid Stress Factors

Bad online habits will crop up especially when you are under stress. Therefore, it is important to stay relaxed at all times to help your mind come up with the right decisions for the day. When you are not relaxed, you are much more likely to indulge inother things online before starting to work onthat assignment that you really need to complete today.

Stress has been found to take your prefrontal cortex part of the brain offline. It affects your ability to concentrate, because the prefrontal cortex doesn’t have infinite resources to help you focus on other things while you are browsing online. It is therefore important to relax and focus on the task at hand. There are several things you can do that will reduce stress in order to strengthen your prefrontal cortex to help you become more relaxed and more productive. For example, never work under pressure. Stay calm if you want to perform well. Also, make sure your mind is focused on what you are trying to do. Humans are not very good at multitasking, so try to keep it to a minimum.

4.     Be Selective of What You Are Doing

Make sure you know what needs to be done and the reason for doing it. Otherwise, you will end up doing a lot of unproductive things. A lot of time gets wasted watching random videos on YouTube, reading newsletters, clicking on spam links, and so on. If this is the case, you should make an effort to remove all unnecessary activities. This will leave you with much more time for doing the essentials. This will instantly improve your productivity and will help you save valuable time.

Unsubscribe from anything that keeps sending you offers and newsletters. Also, look for something only when you need it. Block all ads popping up on sites by using an ad blocker installed as an add-on. See what works for the kind of browser you have. Notifications from social media sites like Facebook, WhatsApp and so on should be turned off. By doing this, you will avoid wasting time and will manage to stay focused on more important things.

5.     Always Browse with a Purpose

Many of us have been caught up in browsing without purpose on all kinds of websites – and it happens without us realizing it. However, there is a quick solution for it: installing and activating a software application that blocks access to some websites/social media that you are likely to visit by habit. This can also be done in your browsers if you are doing something that doesn’t need research. There are many tools you can use to block specific websites or to get warned about accessing some websites too much. Some of these applications will even allow you to select how long you want to stay off certain sites in order to focus on crucial matters.

Most of us have a tendency of having many tabs open on our browser as we work. You will keep opening new ones over time, and they will only get you more distracted. It then becomes difficult to locate what you were looking for because you are forced to waste a lot of time reviewing each one of the open tabs.

6 Ways to Beat Bad Online Habits | The Health Sessions

6.     Set Times When to Read Your Emails

One of the distractions that we face online and we think it’s OK to keep doing is the constant checking of emails. There is no doubt that emailsare a great tool forcommunication. However, it is important to manage your inbox properly. Otherwise, your emails may end up costing you a lot of time and cause you to miss deadlines.

There is an easy way out of this: set limits on how often you check your emails. For instance, you can check your emails twice per day rather than doing it every hour or so. You can check your email after you are done with some very important tasks, and then later in the afternoon when you have completed everything that you wanted to do.

The Bottom Line

In this digital age, there are a lot of things that can quickly become bad online habits. They will shift your focus to less important activities, cause stress, cause anxiety, and even cause eye strain and depression. Therefore, you are advised to make a deliberate choice to get rid of all these bad online habits. Many of you involuntarily engage in non-productive searches and activities online, and this is something that you must stop if you want to be relaxed, focused and in good health.

After reading about all these bad online habits, it is clear that you need to take some measures to make a change for the better. It is not easy, but it is doable! The methods described above not only address this matter, but also make your entire day more pleasant and more productive. You will end up having sufficient time for yourself and will be able to focus on your hobbies more.

Author Bio: Alice Yoon is a professional doctor and writer with specialitiesin psychology and human behaviour. She has made a lot of contribution in professional circles such as the ThesisRush platform among many others. The writer has also published many articles online and written books in this line of professional.

As a coach, she has helped many people overcome their limitations and engage in life-changing activities both physically, emotionally and health-wise to bring out the best in themselves. More than that, she is a practising doctor.

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