Is constant exposure to all of the information on the internet overwhelming you? Are you checking your social media notifications over tackling important asks? You’re not alone. In fact, many of us suffer from digital burnout because of the online clutter that bombards us. Curators design internet content to keep your attention with sensational headlines, click bait, and information targeted to your specific interests. In order to fight digital burnout, we must step back and evaluate the use of devices and the internet entirely, and return to our devices with intention.

Evaluate Your Habits

Try keeping track of the time you spend on your devices. Write this down along with what activity you are doing in this time, like playing a game on your phone or checking Facebook. After you’ve tracked your habits for a week, think critically about the patterns you see. Do you find that you’re often late to class or work because you stay up late browsing? Are you prone to looking at your phone during conversations? Do you find yourself feeling too drained to accomplish tasks after checking your email and social media accounts? If you’ve answered yes, read on for some tips to fend off digital burnout.

Create Rather Than Consume

When you spend a lot of time on the internet, you are consuming a lot of information from others, rather than creating. You’re reading and watching videos rather than working towards accomplishments of your own. When you think about it, the hours you spend each day consuming empty content could be much better spent. For instance, start a project focused on you putting your thoughts out there, like a blog, journal, interest group, or participate in local events. It seems like a simple move, but you will become a force of success rather than a passive consumer.

Limit Your Online Time

The internet is basically unlimited for most of us. While it can be a useful tool, it can be very problematic when trying to focus. Set limits for yourself so that you don’t browse endlessly. Here’s a few things you can do:

  • Schedule certain times of day when you’d like to go online, and you will be more intentional about the tasks you need to do.  Reserve this time for checking your email or researching a certain topic for class instead of aimlessly scrolling. As you think of things that you want to accomplish, write them down throughout the day to stay on track.
  • Limit these times, for example, one hour in the morning and one hour before dinner.
  • Force yourself to place devices out of reach at a certain time in the evening. If you’re not tempted to keep checking your phone, you will be able to relax your mind and sleep more restfully.
  • Treat social media as a reward. Make a habit of completing your goals for the day, and then checking these sites.

If you still find that this isn’t enough to keep you on track, try detoxing from the sites that divert your attention the most. Delete the apps from your phone or  de-activate some of your social media.

Build Strong In-Person Relationships

While online relationships have their value, in-person relationships can be more impactful. Connect with friends and go out into the world to participate in activities that you’re interested in. Go to networking events to form professional connections. Strike up a conversation with someone that you may not have if you were looking down at your phone.

Learn to Be Alone With Your Thoughts

It’s easy to get bored without the constant entertainment and instant gratification of our devices, but it’s important to get away from the digital world crowding our minds. Make time each day to read a book, meditate, exercise, or partake in another valuable activity. Use this time to cultivate your interests, relax, or work towards personal and professional goals.

Use Your Devices Intentionally to Avoid Digital Burnout

Next time you pick up your phone or log into your laptop, do it with purpose. Before you immediately check your phone in the morning, take a few minutes to reflect on what you want to accomplish that day.

Find apps and websites that aid you in your life goals right now. If you’re trying to learn a language, use an app to practice for a few extra minutes each day. If you have a fitness goal, use your device to track your progress.

Next time you are feeling the effects of digital burnout, focus on how you can utilize the digital world to its full capacity as a resource for success.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and are interested in taking your career to the next level, consider adding a credential to your portfolio through UMBC’s Office of Professional Programs.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *