Things to Do Before Going Online: for Adults!

You will see them in April or May. Well-intentioned moms begin sharing articles on Facebook about ways for kids to minimize electronics’ use in the summer.

It’s a real issue: Our kids’ long days of summer often include many hours online. We need a plan to keep them occupied in other, meaningful ways.

It’s a lot harder to get up and to actually do something, like getting a pencil and paper and clearing a space and sitting down to draw or write. It’s much easier to zone out on the iPad.

These are informative and interesting articles, usually checklists. You’re sure to get a few ideas of out them. The goal is to have your kids do a checklist of activities before they turn on their devices. So you give your kids a list. You call these the New House Rules. And you see how it goes, hoping they:

  • Will be so engrossed in playing/reading/creating/running around they will forget about electronics
  • Will run out of time to play electronics

In most households, these New Rules last a day or two because really, we’re still nagging and also because WE get our stuff done while our kids are on electronics.

Helps eliminate nagging

The idea though is you don’t want to be the nag. The nag who always nags, morning, noon and night. We are tired of nagging about all the time our kids are spending on the iPad, xBox, Playstation, Wii U, their phones, and everything else.

The idea here is to not have the kids lapse into the easy thing… the electronics. If you can get them engaged in something more proactive, you can expect they will propel themselves into other activities as well.

But isn’t that true of adults too?

Adults love being online too

When our kids are happily occupied — online or otherwise — us parents can get our own stuff done. Oftentimes, that includes going online ourselves.

While we most likely aren’t playing video games or watching mind-numbing videos made by 20-somethings making a killing on Youtube, we catch up on emails, Facebook, and other online pursuits.

Have you ever finished a task and then rewarded yourself with a trip to Facebookland?

Oh, the siren song of Facebook…. It’s normal: Finish this assignment or email or whatever, and then just pop on.

You’ll only be there for a minute, right? This is an easy escape for exhausted moms who just want some time to themselves.

Social media is an easy go-to even when there are tangible tasks in front of us. Why put away the laundry or start dinner when it’s so easy to peruse Facebook for an easy escape?

Maybe us adults need a list too. It’s easy to get in the habit of Facebook, Pinterest, and other internet sites. But what about taking a break from Facebook and other sites?

Adults’ guide of things to do before going online

How often do we procrastinate projects or housework or bills or anything and everything because our “quick five minutes on Facebook” turns into 10 or 20 or more minutes?

Even at just five minutes a day — NOTHING! — that amounts to 30.4 hours in a year.

What could you do with an extra 30 hours? Of course, it’s well-worth 30 hours a year keeping up with friends and family via Facebook. It’s great! Not only is it a lifeline to your past, it’s a great way to keep up with what’s all around you.

It’s understandable that we’re not motivated by the ongoing, thankless tasks in front of us — cooking, cleaning, laundry, planning meals, paying bills.

So instead, even a few times a month, let’s spend the amount of time we spend on social media and electronics on some more exciting goals instead. Wouldn’t it be awesome to feel good about something we accomplished?

things to do before going online
things to do before going online (Photo credit: Hernan Pinera)

The reason adults go onto Facebook is because we don’t feel like doing anything. It’s an escape from parenting, working, chores, and other responsibilities.

That’s the point!

But kids are spry! They have energy so they should use it on something productive or creative or active.

Us adults? We probably already have been productive and creative and active. Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit is our break. Our R&R. But still….

Sometimes, and we all are guilty of it, Facebook and other internet sites becomes more than that. We spend hours on them. Sometimes we need ways to break the Facebook habit. Maybe we need to delete our Reddit account. Or break the Pinterest habit. Or minimize our Twitter habit. We know… it’s hard!

Things to do before going online

There are lots of ways to help adults find other things to do instead of default to electronics. Here’s a list to help get you started. Remember, the idea is to keep the focus on you, not on the kids, not on the chores, and definitely not on the to-do list.

We zone out on social media on other sites to get away from all of that.

  • Doodle, draw, paint, do a dot-to-dot… even if you think you have zero talent. (It’s not about talent.)
  • Start a garden
  • Lift some weights. Don’t have any? Raise and lower some food cans for 30 repetitions.
  • Sit on the couch for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing! It’s difficult, but you CAN do it.
  • Do you have a hobby? Take steps to get back into it.
  • Journal — with an actual pen and paper. What do you want your life to look like in a year?
  • Take a walk
  • Read that book
  • Write that book
  • Start a blog

These are all things that are for you, just in the same way that social media and perusing online is for you.

Try focusing on something positive… something that propels you and your life forward. You can be happier and more fulfilled instead of being brought down from something you see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites. Sure, we all love Facebook, but sometimes it better to do other things.

Our lives before electronics

If you are old enough, do you remember what your day-to-day life was like before electronics? It’s difficult to remember. Did we accomplish more?

How did we spend our few minutes of leisure time each day? Instead of checking back on Facebook to follow up on a cliffhanger post, we actually accomplished things.

Electronics have their time and place

Of course it’s worthwhile to veg out online sometimes. Maybe you need to check in for personal reasons or to RSVP for a party, or to wish someone a Happy Facebook Birthday.

But other times, it’s better for our psyche to be proactive in other pursuits. It helps to have a schedule or a plan (What will I do when I have some extra time?) to avoid what otherwise would be hours and hours online.

Kids love being online. Adults do too. By creating new habits, we are setting ourselves for more productivity… a body in motion and all of that….

It’s also a great way to role model what you want your kids to do.

So while your kids are doing their summer slide workbooks and walking the dog for 20 minutes, you can get started on some larger goals other than resorting to electronics.

You’re sure to find them almost as enticing as zoning out online… {almost}!

What is your go-to escape when you have a few minutes? Is it an Internet site or is it something else?

See also:

Giving up Facebook for Lent and other times

Ways to Monitor Child’s Social Media Accounts

How to Change Twitter Handle