A Small Dose of Digital Inspiration

Baby playing with iPad

Imagine you have a few minutes to break your routine and can’t go outside, you don’t feel like socializing with others, you’ve done some movement, got water, took a few deep breaths, but you still feel bored or unfocused. What would you do?

My suggestion is to give yourself a few minutes to enjoy something online. A small dose of digital inspiration can go a long way.

You might ask, aren’t we supposed to take a break away from the digital world?

Taking time off away from computers is a good idea, especially on your days off—you can engage in physical and social activities without the pressure and demands of work.

A digital dose is something you do during your workdays. Being online is not bad in and out of itself. It’s what we do with our time that matters.

Why is it important to break your routine?

It is a good practice to stop and change direction. You can experience some, or all of the benefits below. A break can:

Energize you. A break from your routine gives you a sense of renewal and motivates you.

Help you refocus. You get back to your work, after a few minutes of fun, with better focus and less distractions.

Lighten your mood. When you read or watch something that uplifts your spirit, you will do better at anything.

Give you ideas. The best ideas usually come when you least expect them. A break allows your subconscious mind to get creative and come up with a new concept or a solution for a challenge you’re dealing with.

Mix things up a little. It’s wise to try to break the monotony of the day. A break can add a bit of excitement and fun—which are always welcome.

When do you need a break?

Whenever you start feeling foggy and can’t seem to focus. Usually we start checking email, Facebook or surf the web to escape. You don’t need to escape. You need to stop and take a moment to yourself.

How many breaks?

As many as you need during the day. Only you can tell. If you have a couple of physical breaks, you can add a couple of online breaks.

Practical guidance

When it comes to breaks, people tend to either not take any or take too many. So you need to be mindful of both extremes.

Do something that works for you and you feel comfortable doing again, without guilt. If you tend to ignore breaks, book an appointment with yourself, otherwise, you won’t do it.

When giving yourself a digital treat, consider the guidelines below.

1. Set a time block. You don’t want to end up spending hours. Sometimes all you need is 5 minutes.  The internet is tricky—it can be a huge time suck, which can leave you, more drained than when you started.

2. Mindfully set your intention. Where would you like to go and why? If you just need a mindless few minutes, state that as your intention.

Stick to your intention and don’t veer away from it. If you realize you want to do something you haven’t thought of before, write it down so you can do it later. This is not the time for it.

3. Stick to your time by using a timer. If you don’t have a timer, use a countdown timer online. Stop once your time is up, no matter what. Don’t give yourself a minute or two. You’ll end up spending an hour or more. Let it go or note what you would like to do on your next break.

4. Do what you enjoy. If you start doing something and find you’re not enjoying it, stop and move on to something else. Check the places below for more ideas.

5. Don’t engage. Don’t use a break to respond to emails or try to catch up on Facebook or twitter. Engaging in a conversation makes it harder to pull away. This is your time—alone. Your digital dose is a one-way experience. It ends when you stop.

6. Give yourself enough time, but not more. I suggest keeping your digital dose between 5 to 20 minutes. You won’t feel so rushed or completely absorbed in something that you wouldn’t want to get back to work.

7. Refine your process. Keep what works for you and come up with new ideas to replace what doesn’t. Bookmark the sites you enjoy, or the articles you want to read on your next break. Make it as easy and fun as you can.

A few places to check out

1. Blogs. Read an article or two from one of your favorite blogs. Check Alltop if you are looking for new reading material.

2. Videos. A good chuckle watching a YouTube video maybe all you need. Be mindful of your time. You can get lost on YouTube. If you find something, you want to watch later, bookmark it. Ted Talks is a great source of inspirational or thought provoking videos. They tend to be longer than a few minutes. You can break one video into a few sessions.

3. Funny and humorous web sites. A good laugh or two can do magic for you. Search the web for comics and other funny stuff to enjoy. One of my favorite sites is the ONION.

4. Window shopping at your favorite store. You can look at new releases on Amazon, or check eBay for the latest gadgets. Browse through any online store you like for a few minutes, nothing wrong with that.

5. Images and art. There is so much talent and beauty in our world. Plenty of it is available online for you to enjoy. Flickr and Deviant Art are a couple of my favorites.

You can also check the websites of your favorite museums for a view of upcoming galleries and collections. One of my favorites is The National Gallery online paintings. You can explore by artist or century.  Do a Google search for collections and bookmark the museums you want to explore.

6. Online quotes. A great way to spend a few minutes is to check the timeless wisdom of the ages. Here are a few sites: Think exist, The Quotations Page, Brainy Quote, Quoteland, Quotes Collection.

7. Online books. Read a few pages for inspiration from the plethora of books available online. Project Gutenberg, Google books, and online libraries offer a great selection.

Indulge in the magic of the internet for a few minutes, and forget about the stresses of your day. Have a few moments of unadulterated joy—you owe it to yourself.

When you stay open, you awaken to the beauty of life—online and offline. You can have meaningful experiences as long as you’re aware of your purpose and actions.

Inspiration is all around you; all you need to do is look and see.

P.S. If you know all of this stuff, I hope you have a mindful digital treat and savor every minute of it, guilt free.

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