Tips and tricks to move life (towards the) offline

Hi everyone

I’ve come to the realisation, that I would probably lead a more fulfilled life if I spent more time offline. Shocker, I know :upside_down_face:

As I think that some other mustachians might have similar feelings towards digital technologies, I thought this could serve as a nice depository, for ideas and questions for doing this.

You can list anything that you successfully (or unsuccessfully) tried to wean yourself off of our digital overlords. It would also be interesting to hear what you’re planning to do in the future, or things that you think could be useful but you’re not currently interested in implementing. Any questions are also very welcome.

Best of luck!

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The irony of discussing this online :smiley:

I have to admit, I’m an addict! Addicted to forums, to Youtube, to Netflix, to Whatsapp, to Instagram. My whole day is basically being online.

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One of the basics for me thus far were site-blocking add-ons like uBlock Origin and Leechblock. They allow me to block some websites that I sink time in unproductively. Leechblock has some interesting features to customize how much time you ‘allow’ yourself on any set of websites and to make it harder to override the specific blocks (by requiring you type in a random string of letters to gain access to the add-on’s settings).

This requires you to be disciplined enough to not simply turn off the add-on whenever you want to access time-sucking websites.
If you want to go further there are instructions online on how to block websites through the hosts-file. This makes it quite cumbersome to unblock the websites since it requires a restart of your computer.

Another thing I would like to implement is having an offline print newspaper. So that keeping up with news doesn’t require using my phone.
Optimally I’d want to have a weekly newspaper, that has interesting in-depth articles, isn’t politically polarized, and offers a summary of the most important world news.
NZZ am Sonntag seems like a good option, but I’m not able to find any option to subscribe to it, without subscribing to the whole NZZ package (which is costly).

Do any of you have any ideas what would be a good paper for moving the news offline?

It is ironic, but what do you want me to do? Look this stuff up in a book? :crazy_face:

I feel you on being addicted to Youtube. I struggle especially with finding a good way of dealing with it.
In the past I was able to abstain from all of Youtube for weeks, but sooner or later there was some circumstance that made it super hard to not go back to it. Youtube is one of those sites that is on the one hand very useful but also a huge time waster for me.
If I block Youtube alltogether, most videos on any website becomes inaccesible, as so much is hosted by them nowadays.

I try to remove infinite scrolls. Example: Use old Reddit redirect that shows you a version without infinite scroll.

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That’s a nice topic. I guess the motivation behind it is something I’ve seen on YouTube recently (yes, the irony is not lost on me). It was about how to lead a more fulfilling and successful life, how not to procrastinate with things that you know would do you good.

By default, people rely on their motivation, which is very unreliable. Then you can hear some people talking about discipline. But it also depletes your inner willpower. The solution that was proposed was to organize your life in a way that does not give you much choice, which helps to make the right decision. Example? When you notice you spend too much time playing console games, sell your XBOX.

In my case, I am really annoyed by notifications fighting for my attention, so I turned them of for most applications. I turned off birthday notifications on facebook. It was unusable otherwise. Each day figuring out what to wish this or that friend or you settling for a generic happy birthday. Before I moved to Switzerland, I used to play countless hours on my PC. So I don’t have a PC now.

I know this approach is treating yourself like a kid. Out of sight, out of mind. But it works. When you have not had that dopamine shot for a while, you learn to live without that thing that gave it. Then it becomes easier to do other things that you know to be more beneficial to you in the long run.

I have to say, however, that I am not strict enough with myself. I substitute for the things I cut off with other things. In my free time I watch a lot of Netflix and YouTube. At least on YouTube I try to pick educational videos so it’s not time that is completely wasted.

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Interesting thread, indeed.

Here’s some of the things that I do:

  • Disable all app notifications that I don’t need. What’s active are e.g. push messages (only from people in my contacts) or weather warnings. But no news notifications (the world can wait till I have time to read the news) or e-mail or notifications that my girlfriend has edited our groceries list in the cloud…

  • I read most books electronically. I prefer my Kindle over my iPad, one reason being that it has no distracting online features.

  • I am not on any social media. Never have been. And I must say that I live happily without it. The only platform that I’m on is LinkedIn, but that’s for my professional role, not my personal and private identity.

At least iOS has a feature that tracks how often you use your devices and what apps you use. I’ve never tried it, but it might be helpful?

I have probably around 100.000 posts in total in several forums which I accumulated over the last 15 years. Let’s assume I spent 5min/post on avg. reading the thread and making a reply, so we are talking about 8300 hours which I only spent on forums. In reality it will be probably way more than that. That’s more than enough time to learn 10+ languages lol. What a waste of time.

The definition of social media can be quite broad, from the most obvious ones to the ones where you mostly consume, but still have the possibility to comment and upload. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, 9gag: you’re not using any of these? I use social media mostly passively, almost never upload any content, but I often comment on stuff, and this takes a lot of my time. Btw you could classify this forum as “social media”.

To cheer you up, in the scale of the universe, it doesn’t really matter what you do with your life. Did you enjoy it? Good. I doubt that Gates, Musk or Bezos are much happier people than you or me. I think it’s just sensible to keep your life in order, not to make a train wreck out of it. If you have your income and health covered, you can waste away the extra hours however you please. Staying away from addictions is key, because they can easily derail our lives. Stay healthy and wait for the singularity, that’s my motto! :wink:

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Agreed.

I meant that I don’t actively post content on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or Tiktok or whatever they’re all called. I am active on a few online forums, though.

Good for you. Social media and apps in general hijack our dopamine receptors and make us addicted. Our attention span decreases. I just keep these apps as a passive consumer because often times I find myself bored for 5 minutes: commuting, before sleep, waiting for something. They fill that time, but yeah, I have to be careful with them, I know that I’m a bit addicted, because I often will just check my phone in 1 minute interval like I’m sometimes checking the fridge :stuck_out_tongue:

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Mustachianpost and Bogleheads are my kind of “social media” I like “wasting” my time. I mean there is no point in further discussions regarding my FIRE goal. I’m all setup, I know everything what I need to know and just need to invest 240-300 monthly savings and then I’ll probably reach my goal. It’s just discipline now, nothing more. But I enjoy reading these threads, reading or even participating in discussions. Previously I spent a lot of time on gaming forums like Neogaf, then tennis forums, then bodybuilding forums and now I’m focusing on financials.

Some friends are telling me that I wasted my youth with several thousand hours of gaming (PC and Xbox mostly) instead of going out, but honestly? It was the best time of my life and when I think about the days when I played CS, Battlefield, DayZ and other games with my friends online, it just makes me smile.

I guess it’s not that bad being so addicted to all these things as long as you are happy. Some people read a book after work or go out and get some drinks with collagues and I’m watching a 4 hour livestream from Everyday Astronaut when SpaceX launches something cool.

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You could make it your weekly ritual to walk to the nearest Kiosk and buy a physical copy of the newspaper (I’m not even sure they have it but assume they do). :slight_smile:

Otherwise the subscription for the paper seems to be 27.- / month, if you still can’t find it let me know.

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Yes, it’s 27.- per month, I’ve just found it, too.

Or you could subscribe to Die Zeit, also a weekly paper.

I turned off Facebook. (I still have to dig on some old pc to find out its password lol. Btw don’t lose the password, they ask you for photos of an ID (bye bye facebook).
You can google to see that there are many papers/websites that explain it’s addiction and how it modifies your mood. I think it was called also Facebook depression (since you always see only the positive sides of your “friends”, you might think that you are less successfull/lucky/whatever)

Btw I think it’s not the digital world that’s ruining your (our) life, it’s some specific part of it. Being a youtube addict it’s like watching every single News report on the TV or reading 30 books per year…

Well you did post here as well and you learnt stuff. You also got entertained. It’s not a waste of time. Don’t be like some people here that just read and read and read. Be entertained.
Or just be like you want to be. Just be happy :slight_smile:
Side note: my gf speaks 10+ languages but still find time to waste of fb.

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In my opinion, there are a lot of parallels between tech and finance in this regard. That is to say that the main criteria with tech, as with finance, is: does it encourage independence or dependence.

There are aspects of the Internet/tech which encourage mental independence (i.e. online jobs, investment platforms, tutorials, forums, MOOCs) just as there are aspects of finance which encourage financial independence (i.e. saving, investment). On the flip side, there is plenty of tech which encourages mental dependence, just like there are aspects of finance which encourage financial dependence.

I try to limit Internet use to my workplace, using lunch break to manage my emails/messaging and forum participation. Keeping Internet to a minimum in my free time allows me to spend time on other aspects of life and train my brain to focus. That works for me.

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Great post!
As for me:

For these I actually do not have to restrict myself (no interest):
No access to work stuff from home
No social media (facebook etc)
No live TV (except sport)

Read / post on this forum / bogleheads during commute or night before going to sleep (it actually helps me to sleep quickly :crazy_face:)

I love news / newspaper, used to have a daily print but with work / family did not have time to enjoy anymore, so switched to the iphone app version: was incredibly cheaper and actually great to read but I spent waaaay to much time on it. So now i am also looking for a weekly print version, maybe NZZaS (expensive though).

Watch quite a lot of stuff on Netflix/ online sport (free), but either with my wife or while doing sport, so i do not consider this a waist of time / social life.

But i guess my most efficient strategy: I have kids :sweat_smile:

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What’s the difference between the daily NZZ and NZZaS?

NZZaS reflects on the news with a bit more distance than the NZZ, and spends more time on giving a lot of background explanations. You will often get a complete double page on a single topic, like a historical event.

I also like how it is more colorful and structured in Sunday-like categories, which is good for reading during leisure time. It also has an entire section dedicated to Economics and another one to Finance with, often, very interesting and insightful articles on personal finance. There is often the interview of an expert tied to current topics, and this interview is often quoted by other newspapers in the following week.

In general, I find the Swiss press and especially the NZZ to have excellent and well-informed coverage of these topics.

So you will have guessed that my offline strategy is that I am no longer watching news on TV, which are too much driven by sensationalism and audience, and largely prefer the written press. The price is well worth it.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with NZZ am Sonntag and this is my own opinion.

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