27 Secrets to Avoid Internet Burnout

burntout.jpgPeople are burning out on the Internet. The evidence is all around us. The world – the virtual world, at least – is moving too fast for humans to keep up with.

Newcomers to the web are confused and taken aback by the extreme fast pace of virtual reality. They are intimidated, daunted and overwhelmed. They feel barraged by flashing ads and continual visual, auditory and mental stimulation.

The frantic eLifestyle bulls forward in a crazy, headlong race – with no end in sight.

Stress management, health issues, productivity maximization and life organization tries to cure the problem. The information slams up continually. Do this! Do that! Get this! Try that! Anxiety disorders are commonplace these days. Depression just keeps on rising. Medical professionals tell us to slow down and relax.

Are we listening?

This snowball effect is creating an avalanche. We’re Internet addicts, grasping for faster, better, more… and we can’t handle it. It’s too much.

Here are 27 secrets to avoid Internet burnout so that you can ski on the snow of the Internet instead of being buried and smothered underneath.

Make a list of what matters to you. Prioritize them on a piece of paper. It’s easy to forget that family matters most when it seems like that email that just came in takes top position. Refocus on your true priorities of life.


Force yourself to take a break.
Many an online entrepreneur spends countless hours at the computer desk, working hard at getting rich. Burning out means nothing gets done at all, so take breaks to re-establish a better balance between your mind and your job.

Turn off the computer. Often, an open computer screen distracts us from other activities. Our eye catches a glimpse of something and before you know it, we’re back at the desk and surfing away.

Take holidays. Take days off and walk away from your computer completely. Get out of the house where you can’t see it. If you can’t leave the house, don’t leave your computer screen on where popups and new email might tempt you.

Go cold turkey and break the addiction. If your livelihood doesn’t depend on the Internet, then cut it out. 10 years ago, no one needed this much virtual reality in their days. You may find that, after a week of no Internet, your life hasn’t changed very much – except that you’ll feel relieved.

Set timers. Hyper-focus is often something that occurs with surfers. The barrage of stimulation the Internet offers increases the potential to lose track of time and lull us into spending hours on the computer beyond what we originally intended. A timer wakes you up so you can turn the computer off.

Schedule Internet use. Don’t just sit down and surf at will. Tell yourself you’re your Internet hours are from 7 to 9pm three days a week or from 8 to 11am five days a week. Then stick to that schedule until it becomes comfortable.

Be active. A lack of physical activity dulls the body, the brain and the senses. We slump because our heart isn’t pumping and adrenaline isn’t flowing. Get into sports or take walks to get your heart going again and restore some pep into your days.

Have bright lighting. Bright lights are important to keep yourself awake and in a better mood. A lack of sunlight puts people at risk for depression, and indoors at the computer, there is no sun. If you can’t bring the sun into your home, fake it. Use bright lighting, especially around your computer desk.

Eat well. If there is no gas in the car, you stall. Hyper-focus and the lack of sunlight are already bad enough for ‘net users. Start skipping meals and healthy snacks, and you’ll soon find yourself at the side of the Internet highway with no energy left.

Be a morning person. Many people work all day and surf at night. That means their whole day is consumed and there is no personal time left. Get your Internet fix in the morning when you’re most awake and productive, and ditch the computer after 5pm until the next day.

Correct your sleep habits. Another issue that Internet users often have is that they stay up late each night and drag through the next day. They’ve trained their brain to be awake at the wrong hours. When internal clocks are off, people suffer higher rates of mental disorders and depression. Retrain your sleep patterns to be awake when the sun is up and sleep when the night comes.

Speaking of sleep, please do it. Getting up early, working all day and surfing all night means that you become a wired eZombie. Adults need about 7 to 10 hours of quality sleep per day to have their bodies and brains function properly.

Play with your family. The people who love us most take a big attention hit when the Internet is involved. Partners and spouses become jealous of Internet time and children beg for parents to play with them. So do it. The Internet doesn’t love you or need you – but your family does.

Work less for the same money. Many times, people who make a lot of money don’t realize the cost of income taxes and overhead. Scaling back to have more free time means less money, but you may end up with the same amount as before in your pocket if you change tax brackets.

Remember your roots. How did your parents earn a living? How did theirs do the same? What about life 100 years ago – what were people doing then? They weren’t surfing, that’s for sure. Sometimes, remembering that Internet isn’t an obligatory facet of life and getting back to your roots helps cut the cord. Literally.

Introspect. The Internet offers a band-aid patch for many of life’s problems. Feeling lonely? Get fast friends on the Internet. Your relationship sucks? Escape in games and chat rooms. Looking for Mr. Right? Dating sites offer it all. Sit back and introspect why you’re at the computer and what you’re trying to compensate for.

Fix the issues in your life. If the Internet helps you deal with your life problems, eliminate your life problems and you won’t need the crutch of the Internet to face your days. Decide which areas of your life that you’re running from and do what it takes to make your life healthier.

Don’t be alone. Isolated people use the Internet as a companion and replacement for friends. Find real people to be with so you can talk and laugh with them. Humans need human companions.

Cut back on expenses. We see a high-speed connection and a great computer as a luxury item. It makes us feel good and important. Decide instead that your money would be better invested elsewhere and budget computers out of your life.

Schedule your tasks. If you don’t know exactly what you have to do when you sit down at the computer, it’s easy to have trouble getting going and focusing on the job. Schedule ahead, know why you’re there, and get the job done.

Organize your workflow. Try to minimize the erratic stops and starts a disorganized workflow creates. It’s time-consuming to be continually stopping what you’re doing to handle something else. Plus, you lose focus. Streamline your workflow to be the most efficient and effective possible.

Concentrate on what’s important. Emails may seem urgent, but finishing that text and submitting on time is the priority. Flashy pop-ups distract you, but you were really at the site to research. At all times, concentrate on what’s important for the moment. You’ll probably forget the distractions and spare yourself wasting time on them anyways.

Pace yourself. Don’t make promises you can’t keep – to yourself or to anyone else. It doesn’t have to all be done in a rush. One big area of Internet burnout is trying to keep up with the pace of others, but each of us has our own, unique pace that works just right, keeps the stress low and gets the job done.

What’s the real problem? If you are feeling burned out, tired, turned off or disillusioned, back away. Decide if it’s really your Internet habit wearing you down or if the fatigue is just a symptom of something else bothering you. You may not realize you had a problem in another life area until your body starts asking for a major break.

Don’t follow the herd. If you got into a car with a breakneck driver, you’d probably scream to be let out at the next red light. Likewise, don’t get caught up in how fast everyone else is living if it doesn’t work for you. You’ll survive – they’ll crash.

Tell someone you love them. It’s amazing how much we forget there are people that we care about in the world. While you meet great friends online, you can’t forget about the ones you have right there with you. So pick up the phone or look at your partner and tell someone you care. They’ll care for you right back – and maybe tell you it’s time to shut down the computer for a little while.

    Post by James Chartrand

    James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

    Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

    1. I’m a fitness freak so getting out and hitting the gym does wonders for me. Aside from that, just being put into a social situation where I have to talk and not type is a very soothing respite.

      Also…green shakes. Fresh berries, bananas, and fresh spinach all thrown into a blender revives me no matter what I’m doing.

      Groovy list guys.

      Jay F.H.’s last blog post..Q&A: Blogging (and Blego)

    2. I was expecting The Invisablog to appear around #20. Thank goodness there wasn’t any. ;-)

      Great list!

      Rudy’s last blog post..Happy Chinese New Year 2008

    3. @Jay: My favorite for juicing used to be apples, carrots, a small chunk of ginger, and when I had a cold, a clove of garlic.

      @Rudy: No Invisablog here!

    4. Okay, you guys are just gross. The only thing I want in my blender is ice cream and blueberries. Sheesh. Is this some down-south kind of food fad?

      @ Rudy – Thank you for patiently reading to the end. I promise I will never write anything this long – ever again. Unless by popular demand.

    5. @James: I’m talking about juicing, not making smoothies. :)

    6. Long’s okay but it would be easier on the eye if you bolded the intro sentence, and added a space between each item on the list… Just a thought, from someone who spends too much time reading on the internet :-)

      Joanna

    7. @ Harry – Juice comes from apples, grapes or oranges. That’s it. Anything else is eaten grilled, steamed or boiled with steak.

    8. Hm. Now that’s bad grammar if I’ve ever seen it. “Boiled with steak.” Sounds yummy.

      Ugh.

    9. Very useful, especially the sleep ones! I periodically have to slap myself around over that.

      –Proudly Addicted to the Internet Since 1989

      Sonia Simone’s last blog post..Make Compassion a Competitive Advantage

    10. @ Joanna – Three hours, racking my brain and being late for an appointment had me cutting corners. Changes made as requested. I won’t grumble… this time. ;)

      @ Sonia – Heheh…

    11. Transformed! Thanks :-)

      Is it a contribution to the Copyblogger competition?

      Joanna

      Joanna Young’s last blog post..There’s Only One Word For What I Learned From People

    12. It was indeed :)

    13. I like this one,

      Remember your roots. How did your parents earn a living? How did theirs do the same? What about life 100 years ago – what were people doing then? They weren’t surfing, that’s for sure. Sometimes, remembering that Internet isn’t an obligatory facet of life and getting back to your roots helps cut the cord. Literally.

      When our email server crashes at work, no one has anything to do. They all stand around gossiping with their hand in their pockets. It makes me wonder how the world got to this point.

      One thing that is cool is, recording the old way and putting on the internet. Go out and talk to a farmer, film him working, add it to your blog, so people remember there are people who still do things the old fashioned way. Without a computer or the internet.

      Steve Olson’s last blog post..The Republican Party – Selling Fear and Failure

    14. @ Steve – Every year, I go on a fishing trip in March. I spend two to three days in the serious backwoods of northern Quebec in a huge lodge by a trout lake. We make fires in the fireplaces and relax. We fish. We go for walks. It’s peaceful and it’s absolutely removed from technology. There are no phones and no cell phone captures a signal.

      And for two weeks prior to packing up and heading out, I panic. No laptop? No connection? Surely I can sneak my notebook along… No? (Oh cripes, what’ll I do now?) Pen and paper, maybe? No? No work… *gasp*

      I start to stress out. I can’t imagine what’ll happen to the world if I step away from technology for a little while. Harry gets a HUGE list of to-dos and I promise to call him every day. (Even if I can’t. I feel better saying it.)

      And then I’m there at the lodge… and it just makes you wonder what the hell happened to our world in that we’ve forgotten people never lived with all this technology 20 years ago. And they did just fine.

    15. came across your post when I googled burnout. I need to implement some of your strategies after I figure out how to deal with the cold turkey.

      Great tips. I can’t get away from it so I just need to schedule my computer to turn itself off after certain hours and be disciplined about it.

      Thanks for sharing

      Peter Phun´s last blog post…Choosing which lens to use

    16. @ Peter – I have to thank you back. Your comment made me revisit the post and I glanced down the list, thinking I’d best give myself a bit of a refresher on a few of my own tips!

    17. The siren’s call beckons. Some days I just refuse to plug in. I have to get real-world stuff done, even though laundry never seems all that epic by comparison. Thank goodness my wife is fully grounded in the offline reality.

      Joe :D

    18. I just took a two week break and was feeling guilty–but now I’m not. Thanks.

      But now I’m thinking of that fishing lodge and feeling jealous. Damn these feelings….

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