I know what you do with your internet data is none of my business. Trust me, my browser history is a testament of what I do with mine. It’s a closet full of secrets – only God knows.
Recently, I decided to review records of my internet data consumption. I did not only realize I spend at least $50 on internet data per month (I’m a student yo!!!), what was alarming was the ratio of my consumption across my social media apps over the past two months. As a student, it is obvious I have to do assignments, research and study for exams – which may require the use of internet data. So, one may conclude that my data consumption on Google or other academic websites would be more than social media. But guess what???? It’s totally the opposite! I spend far more data on social media than Google. Imagine using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter simultaneously. Evidently, social media sites would consume more data than regular text websites because their content is made up of mostly multimedia files.
Well, let’s say my argument for my consumption is that I am living far away from home and I need to stay in touch with my family and friends. It is a valid argument since keeping in touch with loved ones is essential. However, I couldn’t convince myself that this was a justifiable reason as the number of hours and data used were disproportionate to the excuse.
They say, “the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one.” So, I admitted to myself I was spending too much time and money on internet data than I needed – most of which was on social media.
Worst of all, my productivity and feeling of accomplishment were diminishing daily. I took longer than I needed to accomplish certain tasks and I was always doing things last minute, which resulted in lateness and stress.
I believe many of us share similar challenges, but the good news is that they are not insurmountable. I overcame my challenge with mismanaging my internet data using the strategies below. I am sharing them with you today with the hope they help you too.
Restrict your weekly data consumption
Many of us can’t afford to live without social media. As soon as we run out of internet data, we do all we can to recharge. Even when we don’t have money, we’ll go out of our comfort to credit from our network provider or a recharge card vendor. Some reasons why in fact we consume more than we can afford or need to purchase is because we didn’t plan what we wanted to do with our data, and have apps running in the background we don’t even need or use. Just like we budget monthly for food, transportation, emergencies and other basic necessities, we must also budget for our phones. Understand your data consumption needs, and budget accordingly. In other words, incorporate your internet presence in your daily activities such as sending or replying emails, doing online research for work or school, keeping touch with family and friends on social media.
Replace your time online with something else
Today, as soon as we’re idle, the reflex is to reach for our phones which, more often than not, results in scrolling through social media for hours and wasting important time. However, we can avoid all of that by incorporating other routines into our daily lives. The best ways to get rid of a hobby is to replace it with something else. When I decided to cut down the time spent on social media, I replaced it with three things: exercise, reading and journaling. Like the saying goes, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Trust me, after working out, the last thing I want to do is being on my phone; all I think about is eating and getting some rest.
Delete or turn off notifications of apps you don’t need or use
I realized one of the reasons I consumed a lot more on social media was because I installed apps I had no use for on my mobile phone. Though I barely opened them, they were consuming data in the background. This is the case for many of us. We often download apps to follow the trend, and we get to a point where we barely use them, yet still find it hard to delete them. As soon as we get notifications, we rush to read and reply. I’ve deleted IMO, SnapChat and turned off my facebook and Instagram notifications and I am here to tell you that, it hasn’t taken anything away from me. I am still current with what’s happening around the world.
Living in a digital age is both a curse and a blessing. A curse in a sense that we are exposed and fed with contents that are harmful to our brain and overall well being. A blessing in that we equally have access to contents that could empower us to achieve our dreams and impact people around us. Our internet data gives us access to both worlds. The good news is we have the power to maximize it for our good.
Authored by Gerald Hodges
Featured Picture by Mashable