Reduce your digital footprint in 5 steps
Two weeks ago I wrote a little piece on my need to reduce screen-time. Saying so might be step one but a more important step is doing so. Here are 5 things I did to reduce my digital footprint:
1. Limit your social activity on the web.
Roaming the social networks like Facebook, MySpace or Hyves (if you don’t know it, you’re not Dutch) can take up a lot of time. If you wish to limit that time you can do two things: Self restraint or delete your account. Deleting might be though initially but is the easiest way in the long run. I did that for every network except Facebook. It’s not that I’m weak or something (or maybe I am) but the benefit of location-independent interaction with friends overshadows the extra time I get not being on Facebook. So how do I restrain myself from being there 24/7? Simple… I’m there to connect with my friends, not to Farmville the crap out of my life. When you block out all the nonsense Facebook is easily done with a one (or twice) check per day.
2. Empty out your newsreader
I used to follow at least 30-40 blogs though their RSS-feeds. If every blog creates an average of 1 articles per day gives you a workload of 250+ articles to read every week! How many of those articles are worth your time? Half? 10%? Once you subscribe yourself to a blog, you are the only filter between the blog and you as a reader. If you stop paying attention you might fill your time with below-par information. So I started to delete blogs. One by one, simply by looking for the least interesting blog. At the end of my deleting frenzy I ended up with 9 blogs. For the rest of my need for information I use Twitter.
3. When on Twitter create lists
Twitter is awesome. It’s fast, it’s full of promise and is the fastest way to get information. But when you follow more than, let’s say, 20 people you are looking at a 100+ of messages to read through every single day. That’s where the lists come in. Instead of reading every tweet I only read tweets from a selected group of people. The general list I only skim. The really good articles are usually retweeted a lot.
4. Stop using the internet as a hub of mindless entertainment
There are millions of websites dedicated with games/pictures/videos with funny/mind-numbing/boring stuff in it. Just stop doing that. Before “surfing” the net, think about what you wish to do. If you wish to just spend some time, go talk to a neighbour or a colleague. If you wish to have a laugh, do something funny. If you must browse the internet, do so consciously. It will free up a lot of your time.
5. Go with your flow
A decision you made last week is not necessarily the best choice for today. This is also true when it comes to your existence in the digital world. I might use my newsreader more intensely in the future. I don’t know. But if I do I will have a good reason for it. The same goes for the blogs I read or stop reading, the social networks I use and the amount of time I’m behind a computer each day. Reassess your digital existence everyday. The only way you can decrease your screen time is by realizing what’s important.
Picture by L.C.Nøttaasen (flickr)