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Digital nomads how to escape from the confines of online prison

Search Remotely How to Escape Online Prison as Digital Nomad

Digital Nomads use the internet as the means by which we complete work assignments, manage projects, remain connected to colleagues, family and friends, pay bills, make travel arrangements and coordinate living abodes when traveling abroad. We don’t realize it,  but  the internet is the lifeline for maintaining our financial solvency and psychological sustenance. Unfortunately, this opens the doorway to digital fatigue and burnout, even when working from an exotic location!

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Pew Research reveals that 25% of Americans report being online “almost constantly.” For digital nomads, the time spent online can be exponentially higher. It is estimated that remote workers spend approximately 13 hours staring at their computer screens each day. This is 20% more than our in-office colleagues.

Because our online activities serve as infrastructure supporting us as we live our lives, it’s hard to prevent the encroachment that can ultimately devour our offline lives if not kept in check.

Why must we manage the time spent online?

  • Risk of being triggered at the physiological level by online news sources is greatly increased as research has shown information labels as news is typically biased towards negative content.
  • Increased reliance upon the internet for social interaction and fulfillment has an adverse impact on happiness (research reveals that users who are happy with the time spent on social media platforms are those who spent the less time using them compared to those who use social media more often).
  • Social media algorithms encourage users to view, engage, post, and propagate negative interactions, according to research.
  • Dependence upon anonymized online interactions make it far easier to make negative comments, complain, and communicate in a highly critical manner.
  • Over reliance upon online interactions to socialize offer fewer opportunities for sending, receiving and deciphering nonverbal cues.
  • Dependence upon anonymized online interactions make it far easier to make negative comments, complain, and communicate in a highly critical manner.
  • Far reaching dissemination of our online exchanges extend beyond our small circle of intimate family and friends.
  • Indefinite storage of online social interactions written in haste may have highly detrimental consequences throughout and beyond an individual’s lifetime.
  • Increased usage of social media can increase the probability of experiencing severe Depression by 7% and an Anxiety Disorder by 20%, according to research cited by SearchRemotely.
  • Employers, using our online posts can make overly general or false assumptions about our employability, personality traits and buying habits, says studies cited by the Guardian, that could detrimentally impact their hiring decisions.

Each of these eight reasons alone should be convincing in and of themselves. Taken together, though,  they might serve as a catalyst to change our habits. Why?

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Because too much time (work time and leisure time) spent interacting online leaves less time available for offline social interactions. This is particularly vital to digital nomads because you have the world at your feet. Why spend so many hours on the internet when you have a new country to explore? New people to meet in person and novel ways for which you can gain first hand experience living among others of differing social norms and cultures?

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A few ways to force yourself to balance the time spent socially engaging online is to offset the time allotted with exciting offline activities.

Here are some possibilities:

  1. Volunteer to join non-governmental associations to help in the efforts to eradicate poverty and homelessness.
  2. Learn more about the culture for which you are temporarily embedded by visiting museums, national parks and trails.
  3. Resolve to become fully immersed in the culture by learning the language, visiting museums, taking a history course or participating in local festivals.
  4. Volunteer to teach English with in person classes and workshops.
  5. Send handwritten letters, postcards and mementos to family and friends.
  6. Develop an interest in a craft (sewing, cooking, crocheting, knitting, model airplanes, trains) or art project.
  7. Cultivate an interest in completing intricate 3D puzzles, robotics, Paint-by-Numbers, Origami.
  8. Maintain a handwritten journal, calligraphy, daily log or start a scrap booking project.
  9. Marvel in the difference in the ecosystem, architecture, land use, urban planning, or farming of the culture in which you reside.
  10. Learn culturally relevant board and card games with new friends and colleagues.


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