It seems like every aspect of our lives nowadays has a digital form. Communication is digital, social lives are digital, media is digital, work is digital (thanks, COVID) and we carry around these little electronic rectangles that keep us connected all the time. All these different areas of our lives intersect on the internet now, and traditional self-management through easily separating work/school/family/friends is practically nonexistent now. Some of us barely remember a time when we weren’t connected, and honestly, it can get really overwhelming.
Do you ever feel like the digital world is starting to control you? Between constantly being able to be on and living in a culture that glorifies busy-ness and going nonstop 24/7, I know I sometimes feel like I’m not even in control of myself anymore! Moreover, technology is literally addicting — constant feedback activates the pleasure centers of our brains and makes us constantly turn to our phones for more.
Well I say enough is enough, people! Obviously we’re not going to be able to extricate ourselves from the digital world altogether, but there are lots of ways we can practice self-management in the midst of it and even use tech to our advantage. Here are some of my favorite ways to practice self-management in the digital ways, and how these practices are helping me become my best self.
Digitally Segment Your Life
If you’re like me and your work is completely online (and remote!) it’s so important that you separate work tech from life tech. If you can afford it, it would be a great idea to have totally separate laptops for work and life. But for those of us who can’t do that, there are lots of other ways to practice self-management by digitally segmenting your life.
I keep different browsers open on my laptop. One browser has all my work tabs, another has social tabs, and another has tabs for my side projects. And I make sure I don’t get desktop notifications from anything — that helps keep me focused on whatever particular thing I’m trying to give attention to.
“One browser has all my work tabs, another has social tabs, and another has tabs for my side projects.”
I also make sure notifications are off on my phone for everything except calls, texts, and reminders. That way I don’t get interrupted with social stuff while I’m working, and work emails don’t disrupt my me-time. These little self-management techniques have honestly changed the game for me — I feel so much more in control of my life and way more productive when I have some separation between the different areas of my life.
Practice Relaxing Offline
If your idle time is spent scrolling through social media or even just playing games on your phone, you might want to rethink that. Because so much of our lives are digital, we really need to make an effort to work some non-digital R&R into our routines.
I love taking baths. Even if it’s a bath with Netflix, I don’t tend to count TV as digital engagement because it’s entertainment that existed way before all our smart tech. You might feel differently, but TV and movies don’t feel like digital connection to me, so I can engage in those and still feel like I’m taking a tech break. I’ll draw myself a hot bath with epsom salts, pour a glass of wine, don a face mask, and turn on Schitt’s Creek for like an hour, and it’s amazing.
I also love reading! E-readers are all the rage nowadays (I love my Kindle!) but I still encourage you to grab a hard copy of a book when you can. There’s something therapeutic about flipping through actual pages. And that book smell? I’m obsessed. Here are some of my favorite non-digital relaxation products (yes, they’re mostly pamper products because that’s my favorite way to unwind!) to get you started!
Take Advantage of the New iOS Bedtime Settings
Sleep is important. I know that’s an obvious statement, but given the way we seem to glorify being over-worked and under-rested, you’d never know it. If you want to be your best self, you have to be getting an adequate amount of sleep, even though tech makes it so tempting to stay connected into the wee hours of the morning.
This is by far and away my favorite iPhone self-management feature. The new(ish) bedtime settings allow you to preset your sleep and wake times for every day of the week, and customize what your phone does at that time. I have my bedtime set at 11pm, and my phone automatically sets to Do Not Disturb mode. At 7:30 each morning, it wakes me up to sounds of birds chirping, which is honestly amazing. You can also set your snooze alarm for certain times (because let’s be honest, I know y’all hit it at least a couple times in the AM). The possibilities with this little feature are endless! If sleep is something you need to improve on in general, check out our favorite products guaranteed to give you a good night’s sleep.
Use a Physical Planner and Stick to It!
Again, de-digitize your life where you can! I love physical planners. They’re crazy cute and there’s just something that feels so good about being organized. If your daily routine is totally up to you, you should use a physical planner and seriously stick to what you plan for yourself.
If I’m being totally honest, I’m so bad at this. I’m lucky enough to have a remote job where I rarely have to be online at a certain time, and that’s amazing, but it makes it so easy for the rest of my life to get out of control and for work to consume me. I try to plan out a schedule for each day, even down to when I’ll eat my meals and when I have some me time. Sometimes I’m not great at sticking to it, but it at least keeps me mindful of parts of my life I need to make time for, so I’m not consumed by work! Here are some of our favs:
Keep Certain Areas in Your Home No-Tech Zones
This is going to be an important tool in your self-management toolbox, especially for those of you who do literally everything at home. You’ve gotta physically separate different aspects of your life. This means no doing work stuff in your bedroom (or at the bare minimum, work at a desk — never your bed!) and no working on the couch while the TV is on. Don’t answer work texts at the dinner table. Don’t bring your laptop into the kitchen with you to continue working while you make dinner (yes, I’m guilty of this).
Have a work station in your home and treat it like an office. Go there for work, and leave it (and your work stuff!) when you’re done. When you’re engaging in intentional self-care, leave your phone on a counter. For a while I kept my only phone charger on a counter in the kitchen, so if I wanted to be in my living room I had to leave my phone in the kitchen to charge. Seems like a small thing, but it really does make a big difference!
We hope this post helps you take back control of your life! What are your favorite self-management tips? Let us know in the comments below!
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