How These 3 Tech Tools Can Cut Down Your Time Online

A common issue I hear from my clients is the guilt they feel for the amount of time they spend online.

Whether it’s distracting them from their business, their kids, or derailing their mornings, endless scrolling seems to be an easy time suck without much reward.

Since starting maternity leave and having my baby girl, I’ve noticed an increase in my online time too.

Once she was down for a nap I found myself flopping onto the couch and zoning out with Instagram.

Before I knew it nap time was over and I hadn't achieved much at all.

I’m all for relaxing throughout the day, but I was starting to feel like a zombie and needed some tools to drag me out of this tech slump.

Forest (aka pomodoro timers) 

With a tagline like ‘stay focused, be present’, the Forest app is perfect for keeping you off your phone and in your life.

It’s basically a pomodoro-style productivity tool - you set it for a chosen amount of tech-free time (25 minutes is the default) and it will plant a tree for you.

If you pick up your phone and go into another app, the tree dies. It will send you gentle warning messages and remind you to put your phone down as the timer counts down.

I set this after baby girl goes down for a nap and am often amazed at what I can get done in 25 minutes.

Shower, dishes, laundry, often all done by the time I come back to my phone. I can see myself using this once I go back to work too.

And the best part? You can actually use the coins you accumulate from each tech free break to plant real trees on earth!

Guided meditations

Insight Timer is my latest favourite guided meditation app.

With a tonne of different teachers and types of meditation, I use it for morning meditation, drifting off to sleep and also used it for those middle of the night feeds, as there’s actually meditations for mindfulness when feeding your baby.

One of my favourite meditations is ‘Take back your online life’ by Tony Brady (and there are other tech related meditations on the app that you can try).

It reminds me of how distracted we all get online - we start looking at one thing, then go down the rabbit hole of endless information. I’ve taken one of Tony’s suggestions and now use a very simple tool to monitor online time…

Your phone timer

Yup, just the regular timer on my phone is the latest tool I’m using.

I’ll set it for 30 minutes before I open social media and put my phone down when the timer goes off.

It’s helping me understand how quickly that 30 minutes can fly by without much to show for it, and I’m able to get on with my day knowing I’ve had my fix (for now anyway…).

Time online is known to give us that special dopamine hit as messages, likes and new posts draw us in.

I’m savvy to the fact that online life has its benefits but don’t want to forget these days because my head was buried in my phone.

What tools do you use to manage your online time?  

Why You Scientifically Need The Outdoors

Fun fact: I’m originally from a country town but have lived in cities for around 15 years.

I’m not sure I’ll ever give up city living – I love places with lots of culture, people and I must admit I also like the sense of anonymity that urban life brings.

But I’m not a city slicker at heart.

One thing I can’t give up is getting outside… and not just in the central business district of a city for a quick sandwich at lunchtime.

Being outside in nature gives me energy and I’m well known for finding a beautiful walking path wherever I go.

After discussing this with a friend who feels similarly to me, she told me it’s a real theory called biophilia - an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world - and here’s why you need it:

It grounds you

My kinesiologist picked up on my need for the outdoors too.

It sounds a little weird but she asked me once if I put my bare feet on the grass every day… I thought ‘my life isn’t Pretty Woman lady’ (who could forget this scene?).

So no I wasn’t putting my bare feet on the grass every day but since consciously starting I realise how amazing it feels. Seriously – try it.

It gives you perspective

There’s nothing like looking out at an incredible view of a beach or forest or any kind of natural scene and realising how insignificant you and your issues are in relation to the rest of the planet.

I don’t mean to be flippant about what’s going on for you, but I find my issues easily fade into the background when I’m looking out on something so much grander and more beautiful than my tiny life.

It’s good for your health

Ok this one is pretty obvious. Getting outside, fresh air and the exercise that often comes with it – whether it be a leisurely walk, cycling, or abseiling – is really great for you.

My advice would be to try and come up with one activity a week that takes you outside.

Make some of them easy – for example, I walk along the creek just behind our house, and some of them more challenging – location wise or physically, and enjoy the weekly benefits.

Do you love getting out in nature? What changes do you notice in your day when you get outside?