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How to make the most of your time online

It's okay to spend time on social media, but it's good to check in with how it makes you feel


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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You might feel like you waste a lot of time online or that your internet use is having a negative impact on your life. It’s good to think about the way you use your time online, and whether or not it feels productive.

However, a lot of people need to use the internet day-to-day. It’s become a vital resource for a lot of things including:

  • Banking and bills
  • Doing work for school or college
  • Working
  • News
  • Finding information
  • Shopping
  • Booking tickets

Ways to make the most of your time online

Try to be conscious of what you do online. Let yourself have some time for scrolling if you enjoy it, but make sure you’re doing other more productive things too.

Mute notifications

You can mute notifications in settings. Decide which notifications you want to get and mute the rest. It will be easier to focus on what you actually need to do online when you aren’t getting distracted with notifications popping up.

Make a plan of what you need to get done

You could make a list or just know in your head what you need or want to get done online. Try to avoid social media until you have completed your list if you find you get distracted by it. You could even use an app for that feel-good sensation of ticking off all the things you have achieved.

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Be aware of mindlessly scrolling

You might notice that sometimes you scroll through social media and not even remember opening the app. Try to catch yourself doing that. As soon as you realise you’re mindlessly scrolling try to do something more meaningful or put away your phone and do something else relaxing.

You can set time limits on certain apps in your screen time app. If your phone doesn’t have a screen time app you can download one in your app store. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the app, but not enough so that you feel you’re wasting your time.

Do something useful

There are so many things you can do online other than social media. You can learn languages, skills and new ways of thinking using different apps, websites or podcasts. Other things you can do online include:

  • Do something creative like produce music or graphic design
  • Video chat to friends or family abroad
  • Learn a new skill 
  • Watch something you enjoy
  • Read a news app
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Clean up your social media

You might feel that you waste a lot of time on social media but don’t actually see a lot. Or you might find that social media is making you feel bad about yourself. Unfollow and mute accounts that you’re not interested in or that make you feel bad. This can make the time you spend on social media more meaningful and valuable to you.

Try not to rely on your phone

If you rely on your phone for certain things like setting alarms, timers, as a calculator, or for doing other tasks, ask yourself if there’s an alternative way to do something. For example, get an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning to reduce the amount of time you spend scrolling after reaching for your phone to switch off the alarm in the morning.

Understand how your online use makes you feel

Check in with yourself every now and again to see how your online use makes you feel. Use a screen time app to see how long you are spending on your phone each day. See how doing different things make you feel and if certain people you follow affect your self esteem.

Talk about your online use with a friend or family member. This might help you reflect on how it’s making you feel and the impact it’s having on your life.

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

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Published August 10th2020
Last updated Sep­tem­ber 18th2020
Tags dcl digital citizenship digital citizenship library
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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