Like most people in the world today, sometimes I waste too much time on social media and other websites. They are designed be addictive, after all, and rabbit holes are encouraged in the never-ending display of suggested content.
But when I focus on getting rid of that wasted time, I usually fail. I have created some better habits. On my phone, for example, I don’t have any social media apps. I’ve also removed email and my web browser. The only notifications I have are for texts and calls. I also unfollow people, try to have screen-free time, have a blocking program on my computer (FocusMe), and use one site (AllSides.com) to check on news.
All those things aren’t enough. I still waste time on my computer and phone–it’s not a personal weakness as much as simply a really difficult problem.
But here is the one thing that has worked the very best: crowding out wasted time with doing good things. When I have free time, technology sucks it up like a vacuum. But when I have lots to do, technology gets pushed out of my life in favor of better things.
This week was very busy. I had to work on painting my house to get ready for winter and I had two papers to write for my classes in school. It’s also Halloween and I worked to spend time with my kids. When I planned to do many good things, I didn’t have time to waste.
Good habits are better formed by crowding out the bad habits in favor of something better. Focusing on my negative technology use and trying to eliminate it is focusing on the wrong thing–I should instead look at what that technology is preventing me from doing, and work on increasing good works in my life.
I want to read books and write and play games with my family and learn new things and serve others. When I plan for that in my life, my technology habits take care of themselves.