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Simple Digital Habits That Support My Life and Work

25th April 2019

Simple Digital Habits that Support my Life and Work | Natasha Denness Coaching | (image of lavender fields)

Simple digital habits

I find it difficult to recall a time before the internet, social media and smartphones. It’s hard to believe that they’ve only been around for a quarter of my life – that’s over three decades that I survived without them!

Before I share how I manage my technology, I’d like to say that I think the online world is awesome. It has enabled me to meet new people, reconnect with old friends and market my coaching. I met my man at the Oxford Flickr meet, so you could say that I’m pretty invested in the benefits that the digital world can bring!

What I realise, though, is that without setting a few boundaries, technology can eat away at our time and in some cases, impact on how we feel – I’ve been there. For this reason, I often find myself reviewing my processes and putting some simple digital habits in place. After all, even the best-laid plans can fall by the wayside when those cheeky social media platforms take hold!

Sharing my creativity online

When I started blogging and using social media in 2008, my motivations were to share my creative work, engage with like-minded folk and unwind after a busy day at work. After years of carrying my artwork around in a portfolio, it was wonderful to curate a space to showcase my creative projects – from styling and photography to home improvements. I’ll always be grateful for this, and the mind-blowing opportunities it has brought to my door.

Nowadays, my website, newsletter, blog and social media channels are where I connect with my online community. My blog posts are inspired by the things that come up in my life and work, and I use the social media channels as and when I have something of value to say or share.

As a small part of my job involves sitting behind a computer and being online, it’s important to me that I implement some simple digital habits and put a few healthy boundaries in place. This isn’t, by any means, the only way to approach things, but it works for me.

Simple Digital Habits that Support my Life and Work | Natasha Denness Coaching | (image of lavender fields)

My simple digital habits

1. iMac and iPad

This one is simple. I only use my computer and tablet when I’m working. Otherwise, they’re stored away in my office. On my computer, I keep my desktop clear of files and I regularly tidy and remove the things that I no longer need – files, folders, bookmarks and so on. I’m also fairly ruthless with my photos, I download everything from my camera and phone, and I delete the photos I don’t want to keep. I’d rather have a few carefully chosen photos from a day out or holiday, than hundreds that I’ll never look at again. A simple digital habit that I’m certain my future self will thank me for!

2. iPhone

As with everything in life, I like to keep my phone as simple as possible. I’ve removed all the apps that I don’t use and anything I can’t remove, or I find distracting, I store away in a folder. When the social media apps get the better of me, I delete them from my phone. This resets the balance and when I re-install them, I tend to use them less.

I use phone calls and text messages, as well as Zoom, Skype, Signal and WhatsApp to keep in touch with my family and friends. With the exception of phone calls, I’ve turned off all the phone notifications. This enables me to check things in my own time and in my own way. I find it’s a more efficient way of responding to people.

I like to keep my phone usage in check by monitoring my screen time. If I’ve clocked up a lot of screen hours, it motivates me to use my phone with a little more intention. During the week, I don’t look at my phone until I start work and at the weekend, I barely pick it up. I also use the do not disturb setting. In the evening and at night my phone is put on silent and stored in my office. I use a traditional alarm clock because I prefer to keep my bedroom a technology-free zone.

3. Website and blog

I check my website and blog every weekday and I currently publish one post each month. This has changed considerably since the early days of blogging and as a minimalist, I welcome a less but better approach! Here are a few of my recent articles:

January: Setting my intention for the new year with a word
February: Simple everyday rituals to support your creative work and life
March: How to organise your schedule, surroundings and digital life
April: Simple digital habits that support my life and work

4. Social media

Social media is an area that I’ve struggled with the most. Over the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it. In fact, I’m sad to admit that the quick hit of likes and instant feedback has occasionally knocked me off my creative path. For this reason, I feel that social media can hamper creative growth.

Things are quite different now, and many of the platforms aren’t as joyful as they used to be – which, for me, makes them less addictive! I use Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and I tend to only visit them when I have something of value to say or share. I deleted my personal Facebook profile last year which felt liberating. I’m always evaluating what I use, and I’m not afraid to drop something if it’s no longer working for me.

Simple Digital Habits that Support my Life and Work | Natasha Denness Coaching | (image of lavender fields)

5. Inboxes and email

My inboxes are valuable spaces and I work hard to keep them free of clutter. I have three inboxes (personal, coaching and creativity/blogging) and I process them on average once a day. I also regularly unsubscribe from mailing lists that no longer resonate to keep my incoming emails to a minimum.

6. Newsletters

In addition to my monthly blog post, I send a monthly letter. My letters contain inspiration and motivation, with links to my latest blog posts and updates about my coaching. I also share personal insights that I wouldn’t usually publish on my blog. If you’d like to receive them, you can sign up here, and please feel free to unsubscribe when they’re longer working for you.

7. Time offline

I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember, and I’ve noticed that my ideas can suffer when I consume too much content. It’s important to me that my inspiration comes from my relationship with the real world rather than the online one. For this reason, I love and value spending time offline.

Switching off provides me with some uninterrupted thinking time. It helps me to silence the noise and distraction and connect with my creativity and inner voice. Nowadays I take my evenings, weekends and holidays almost entirely offline. I champion regularly switching off and limiting who I follow and what I consume. This helps me to be fully present and to truly engage with our amazing world and the inspiring people in it.

Further reading

How to process your inbox and free up more time
The benefits of taking a week offline
How to set digital boundaries when you’re running a creative business

Thank you, as always, for stopping by. If you’re planning to implement some simple digital habits, I wish you the best of luck. Until next time, I’ll see you over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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  1. Kirsty 25th April 2019 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    I love this Natasha. Every time I read your blog I leave it feeling really inspired to be more mindful with my time online. I’m always scrolling aimlessly and it’s too much! Silly waste of time when I could be enjoying time offline! Xxxx

    • Natasha 25th April 2019 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, Kirsty. I’m pleased to hear that you found the post helpful! :)

  2. Susan 25th April 2019 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Fabulous post, I agree completely. It takes willpower to step away and sadly a lot of people need a distraction from their real lives… and yet… keep up the great work x

    • Natasha 25th April 2019 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Susan. You’re right about needing willpower! I’m often having to reset the balance when I find myself being distracted – it’s not always easy! :)

  3. lucy 10th May 2019 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you. A great reminder that we have far more on our pomes than we need. I remember too not having any social media and I miss those times to be honest. x

    • Natasha 12th May 2019 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Lucy. They were much simpler times, weren’t they?.. After setting a few boundaries, I feel like I’m almost back there now!

  4. Stacey Sheppard 10th May 2019 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    This is a really good post Natasha and you sound like you’ve got it sorted. I am fully aware that I am totally addict to being online. I spend far too much of my life plugged in to social media. On the bright side though I don’t ever get all the negative feelings that social media can provoke in people. If I did, I would spend less time on it. I just find it such an inspiring, supportive and wonderful group of like-minded people, especially on Twitter. Also I did not realise that you can delete your personal Facebook and still have a business page. That’s interesting. I do find Facebook is such a pointless time waster. I’d happily consider giving that up.

    • Natasha 12th May 2019 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Stacey. It sounds like you’ve got a good balance! I was resentful of the time it was taking up, so I knew I had to make some changes. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend and enjoying the sunshine.

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