21 Tips for Holding Your Own in the Digital Realm
I’ve gathered hundreds of tips for staying in control and gaining mastery in the digital realm. If you don’t want to experience that realm as a chaotic inferno where YOU seem to be the gadget, then some of these tips might just help…
Why do you even need to think about “holding your own” in the world of digital gadgets, platforms, tools and programs? Because we are spending more and more of our time reacting to it, getting drawn into it, feeling split between the person in front of us and the text that just vibrated our phone. We notice our kids spending more time on social media that is the same hunting ground of sexual predators and businesses pushing products and services we might not want them to know about, let alone buy. We are also aware of how amazing the digital realm is, connecting us instantaneously across the world, firing our creativity, informing and inspiring us, making us giggle and reflect. It’s a wave of technological change washing over us faster than any other change in history. Holding your own is all about staying upright in that wave, clear-headed and clear-sighted. So… some tips…
Tip 1. Create some digital-free spaces at home, where you choose not be to connected or distracted. How about the bedroom and the places where you eat?
Tip 2. Create a dedicated charging station for all of your digital devices in the house or at work. Put them ALL there, turn them off when not in use, unplug them when they are fully charged.
Tip 3. When your laptop is booting up, get up and do something else. Better, look out of the window and connect with the world out there; don’t stare impatiently at the screen
Tip 4. When having coffee with friends in a cafe, get your device off the table; give your friends your full attention; it is a myth that the digital realm can’t wait. It can and it rarely impacts negatively on us.
Tip 5. Don’t let the digital realm get too pushy with you. Switch off “push notifications” on your phones and tablets, for at least certain times that you choose. Push notifications are the alerts that keep you “always on”. Check your emails three times a day instead of constantly reacting to them as they bleed into your life
Tip 6. Read a message out loud or in your head before you send it; you will almost definitely then edit it or rewrite it and send a better written message
Tip 7. Get smart on digital security; learn the habit of good password setting; protect your privacy; don’t be like someone who leaves windows open when they go out and says “well, it”s never happened to me” only to come home to a burgled house
Tip 8. Don’t hunch over your laptop like an old miser. Keep your back safe and always ensure you take breaks from bright screens, and that your wrists have support if you type a lot; don’t store up all kinds of back, neck and other problems for later life
Tip 9. Go “in” fully for a chosen hour of your choice; enjoy surfing and playing in the digital realm. Go in, then come out. Drink some water and take a walk outside. For each hour “in”, have a couple of hours “out”. That isn’t because the digital realm is bad; it’s just that it claims your mind and senses very powerfully
Tip 10. Take a day to declutter your digital life; clean out your digital attic – sort pictures, delete what needs deleting and make your desktop clean and fresh; don’t feel mired in chaos
Tip 11. Protect family and social time; you will enjoy digital interaction better when you choose to do it rather than drift into it; Can you leave your device on off or even at home for a couple of hours? You value it more by being able to place it
Tip 12. When sending a text, picture the person you are sending it to; make the send an intended physical gesture (sending across space) as well as a digital one (sending through cyberspace).
Tip 13. Make a list of what you are intending to do in the digital realm today; review that list at the end of the day; how distracted did you get? Resolve to stay focused when you need to.
Tip 14. If you think you are digitally addicted then name that honesty. I’m addicted to gaming; to Facebook. Call that by its real name and then you might just begin to recover from it.
Tip 15. Spend time online with your kids. Don’t berate them or over-police them. Get digitally aware and talk their language. Be there for them and then, when they really need you, they are more likely to seek you our as a parent. If you police them, they’ll feel like criminals. Dialogue over Conflict where possible!
Tip 16. The next time you reach for your device to capture “that moment”, stop, put the camera down and look with your physical eyes; breathe it in. True, you may have missed capturing the moment in pixels; but you may have enriched yourself for the rest of your life and you’ll still have a story to tell
Tip 17. Step away from being digitally dumb. In small steps, check out the privacy settings on Facebook or Twitter; learn about “rules” and labels in email. Open your word processor and experiment with one new feature. Get digitally wise and you will enjoy it more and get more out of the digital realm
Tip 18. Find and create healthy spaces for your digital work and play. A good chair; some natural light or access to fresh air; a favourite cafe, a social space or somewhere where you can also easily step away. Create one room in the house where we enjoy our digital time instead of coach-slouching or taking over the kitchen
Tip 19. Learn to write haikus and you might just tweet more eloquently!
Tip 20. Don’t use the digital realm as a free or cheap babysitter. Go online with your younger children; guide them, dialogue with them; they will take it it like a duck to water but this is no playground to leave them alone in
Tip 21. If you type or text quickly, your writing will often be more repetitive and cliched. Slow down. Occasionally say the message first or even hand write it; watch your writing quality rocket.
I’ll be adding more over the coming months. Do please add your own in the comments box below.