Your digital self might be highjacking your real life, but here are ways to deal

Bhupendra Sharma
Your digital self might be highjacking your real life, but here are ways to deal

Millennials believe they have more time and freedom to get their work done using the internet, but there are a lot of challenges to address

On a Thursday afternoon in 2013, shortly after I moved into a new firm, I had to take my parents to a nearby hospital for a regular medical check-up. To avoid any last-moment-confusion, I communicated the same to my then boss on Thursday evening. Instead of giving a day-off, he suggested me to work from home as per my convenience and share the fund reports with him by the night.

Since there was no time restriction and I still had my leave balance intact, it seemed a win-win situation.

I have come a long way since then. From being an investment banker to a full-time tech entrepreneur, my life has completely changed. However, the one thing that has remained the same all these years is my affiliation with the internet.

It helps me and thousands of other tech entrepreneurs to earn a living and follow our dreams. Most bloggers, digital marketers, designers, and developers will agree with me on this point.

Remote work and work from home concepts have become quite common in today’s heavily-tech-focused job environment. Millennials believe they have more time and freedom to get their work done using the internet.

But, is it true?

As you know too much of anything can be dangerous. The same goes for the internet-powered work culture as well. At some point, you’ll have to think whether the internet has empowered you to work on any project from the comfort of your home or has hijacked your personal life and reduced the quality of family time.

Also read: The Millennial CEO declaring war on work

The more you delay in addressing this question, the tougher will it get for you to fix things.

What Do Numbers Say?

According to a report, about 90% of internet users in Southeast Asia have smartphones, and they spend close to 3.6 hours per day browsing the internet, higher than any other region in the world.

These numbers are just related to consumer behavior in the Southeast Asian region. The time spent by working professionals and tech entrepreneurs on their laptops after office hours is a lot more than this. The situation is getting worse day by day.

Have a look at this report to get a better clarity on how the internet has been hacking into people’s lives in the SE Asian region. The situation is more or less the same across the globe. Here are some of the impacts this common behavior of excessive internet usage has on the users-

No Work-Life Balance

The time you spend on your computer or laptop after office-hours demands you to cut short the fun you’d otherwise have with your family and friends. Given the flexibility that internet provides, this might work once or twice every now and then, but when it becomes a routine, your personal life may take a toll. Without proper work-life balance, you cannot survive for long in your profession.

Your Children To Follow Your Footsteps

Using smartphones at a young age is not advisable. However, when your kids see you working on your laptop or checking emails/browsing Facebook on your smartphone at 11:00 in the night, they’ll believe that it’s not wrong after all.

Over time, they might create social media profiles or join online chatting groups. Who knows if they fall prey to online scams and get into a big trouble — all because they thought using the internet was cool. If not, you wouldn’t be doing it at home.

Negative Impact On Your Health

Spend a week browsing various social media sites for a few hours on a daily basis, and you’ll know how badly your life gets affected. This is the case with most people who are actively using various social media sites and chat rooms.

Excessive use of the internet can affect your mental health and expose you to uncalled-for depression, stress, and anxiety. Other than this, long unofficial working hours spent in front of your laptop lead to back-pain and eyesight issues in the long run.

No matter how much money you earn, it will be of no use without a healthy body and mind.

The more you ignore the situation now, the worse effects it will have in the future. So, instead of letting the excessive usage of the internet destroy your life, take charge of the situation and fix the problem.

Here is how you can do it:

1. Have A Fixed Routine

As a tech entrepreneur, you might be someone who doesn’t like to follow a routine — you work when you want and relax when you feel like. It might be the most comforting feeling as of now, but think of yourself ten years down the line.

Will you be able to continue like this in the long run?

If the answer is no, then fix it immediately. Set your office hours even if you’re not working out of an office. Once your office hours are over, dedicate rest of the day/evening to your family and friends. You can also take out some time to participate in any sport, reading or writing a book or learning a new skill. This will help you create a perfect balance between your profession and personal life, and ensure that the work stress never gets into your head.

Also read: 5 research-backed stress-busters that can help you improve work-life balance

2. Monitor Your Kids’ Internet Activities

If your kids have access to computer or tablets for any academic reason, it’s your responsibility to make sure they don’t fall prey to any cyber threat.

Since you may not be able to keep a close eye on them 24/7, it’s better to use the technology to handle the situation. What you can do is refer to a good online privacy and safety guide for kids that talks about various steps needed to control their internet browsing.

The process is very easy to follow and offers long-term positive results. Moreover, it keeps them safe from any cybercrime without affecting their normal internet browsing experience.

3. Cut Down Social Media Usage

Unless the time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn directly converts into money, there is no point in having these applications on your phone.

Instead of promising yourself to stop using them excessively and failing every single time, delete these apps from your smartphone. The moment you do, you’ll realize that you have a lot of time to focus on other activities.

Follow this routine for around 7-10 days to start experiencing a considerable improvement in your mental state, mood and free time.

Conclusion

The internet is the biggest invention that we have witnessed in the last many decades; however, it comes with its own side-effects. Use it to create multiple passive income sources and a financially independent life instead of feeling stressed, depressed and unproductive all the time.

How do you lead a balanced and stress-free life in today’s internet-driven era? Share your views in the comments section below.

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