Do you surf the internet when you are bored? Do we still say surfing the internet?
No matter what we call it, we still surf the internet. Usually when we are bored or tired. Sometimes we surf because we are “looking for something” or need to “check something” but it always ends up the same — minutes and hours pass and we’ve forgotten how we got here. Mindy Kaling sums it up best, “The Internet makes it extraordinarily difficult for me to focus. One small break to look up exactly how almond milk is made, and four hours later I’m reading about the Donner Party and texting all my friends: Did you guys know about the Donner Party and how messed up that was? Text me back so we can talk about it!”
Surfing the internet should really be called surfacing the internet because we can’t go all in when we don’t know where we are going.
You understand. We’ve all been there. We’ve all found great benefit from the internet too but if we could harness all of our surfacing the internet hours and use them more intentionally, perhaps we’d have more time for all the things we say we don’t have time for.
I’m writing a book over the next few months and I don’t want my book writing to look like this:
Instead, to have a better book writing experience, to write a better book and hopefully create more time for things I really want to do, I’m committing to a 90-day no-surf challenge. I’m creating a list of things I’d rather do than surf the internet. I’ll keep the list close by, so when I feel the pull of the internet, I’ll go to my list first. Before jumping into the internet waves, I’ll also have a specific plan and set a time limit before diving in. I’ll go in, get what I need and then come back up for air before getting lost in the abyss.
I’m starting my no-surf challenge on July 1 and will share more details soon. If you want to join me …
- choose a time frame and specific dates
- make a list of things you’d rather do than surf the internet (see suggestions below for inspiration)
- commit to having a plan and set a time limit (and timer if necessary) before diving in
Ironically, you need the internet for some of these 21 simple things but that’s not an excuse for mindless surfing. If you are joining me for a no-surf challenge, use the rules above before diving in.
2. Read a new book instead of checking email or Facebook. Here are 5 books I’ve enjoyed recently:
- How to Walk Away
- The Bulletproof Diet
- Something in the Water
- Educated: A Memoir
- A House in the Sky: A Memoir
3. Breathe. Stop before you scroll and take a deep breath in and a slow breath out.
4. Dumb down your smart phone. Try this before your no-surf challenge. Turn off all notifications. Delete or hide your surfiest apps. Put an elastic band around your phone as a reminder to think about where you are going before you swipe or scroll.
5. Listen to a Podcast. Here are 3 I enjoy:
6. See what life is like with something you think you can’t get through the day without. Put a 30-day hold on your thing. Is it one of the following or something else?
- Coffee (I know, I’m sorry.)
- Snooze button
7. Grow something. I’m not good at keeping plants alive but I do have a little pot of succulents that have been in my home for almost a full year. I love growing these tiny plants. If you are feeling ambitious, create a herb wall.
8. If you don’t love your job, start a side thing around something you love. Create a microbusiness that may eventually lead to replacing your job.
9. Cook one of your favorite childhood meals.
10. Take a forest bath. If there isn’t a hiking trail nearby, surround yourself with the forest you have. Look for nearby parks, community gardens or anywhere with greens or trees.
11. Send letters or postcards. Keep a small supply nearby and whenever you feel like surfing the internet, write to a friend and tell them how happy you are that they are in your life.
12. Commit to a year of simplicity. Yep, a whole year.
13. Start a morning routine or another daily practice that feeds your body, heart, soul and mind. Mine includes meditation, writing, walking and yes … coffee.
14. Volunteer. Give your time, treasure and talent to something you care about.
15. Ask questions. Before you start surfing, ask the following questions:
- What do I need from the internet that I can’t find somewhere else?
- Can it wait?
- How do I really want to spend my minutes and moments right now?
16. Give yourself permission to putter. Crumple up your to-do list and putter, wander and ponder for a little bit.
17. Print this list or save it as a photo on your phone so you don’t have to surf the internet to find it again.
18. Try a closet detox.
19. Start a book club. Go here to find a book you can read, snacks to make and other goodies for your guests
20. Remember something that made you laugh really hard. Laugh about it again.
21. Close the gap between inspiration and action. Review this list and ignore 90% of it. Pick 2 or 3 things that you are interested in and take action.
One more simple thing: Subscribe to Be More with Less if you don’t already. Moving forward, I’ll be sharing additional articles and opportunities with people who subscribe that I won’t share here on the blog.
P.S. Soulful Simplicity is now available (Hardcover and Kindle) in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.