DEV Community

Cover image for Balance Your Digital Well-Being
Jon Douglas
Jon Douglas

Posted on

Balance Your Digital Well-Being

Do you want to be able to exercise regularly, read three to four books a month, and even learn to play an instrument? What about having a closer relationship to your SO and kids? How about succeeding in the workplace and increasing your focus to achieve more?

Although these results do not come easily, you will be much further along your way if you took charge of your digital well-being.

Many of our digital habits are detrimental to our goals and limited hours in a day. On average, you may use Facebook for up to an hour a day. On-top of this, you may check your phone over 40 times daily. Just think about how much time is being used here alone.

There is nothing wrong with using Facebook, or owning a smart phone. There is however something wrong with mindlessly scrolling through infinite socials feeds in search of validation and a sense of belonging.

By being mindful of our digital well-being, we are being intentional with the technology and setting rules to which we can use it with. I'll go over a few reasons why we should do this below:

  1. Digital Clutter is Taxing - Having an excess amount of devices, applications, services, etc provide many ways to avoid boredom. Having the ability to use these items on virtually any device makes it even more accessible to get stuck in a feedback loop from hell.
  2. Digital Optimization is Important - Being able to figure out what devices, applications, services, etc that bring you the absolute most joy in your life is a must. Secondly, having an intent for each of your devices, applications, and services helps you become more optimal with your limited time each day.
  3. Digital Balance is Freeing - You don't need to feel obligated to take apart of other people's feedback loops. You are focusing on yourself and your close friends and family. You are being more intentional with making those relationships closer as they bring you more joy than being connected online.

Enter JOMO

JOMO, or what it stands for; Joy of Missing Out is the counterpart to FOMO, or what it stands for; Fear of Missing Out. When interacting with others on social media, texting, or even upcoming technologies, we get a sense of FOMO which prevents us from ever leaving the platforms. We fear that without sending a like or comment to our friend's feeds, they will forget about us. They might forget to invite us to the next happening thing, or they might forget we even exist.

Here's the thing about FOMO. The people who want to be connected with you will go out of their way to ensure that happens. Or vice versa, as you will ensure your relationship exists outside of a social platform.

I like to think of this rather as JOMO, as I don't have to prescribe to other's social feed validation in fear of being missed or forgotten, instead that actually brings me joy because it means I can focus my time and energy on other things.

Being Okay with Alone Time

Having alone time is needed for original and creative thought. Being deprived of it can actually make you deprived of these thoughts. Use alone time as a way to recharge, and know that it's okay and needed to have alone time.

Benefits of Unplugging

Your brain is working quite hard to keep up with all of life's daily distractions alongside all of the digital distractions as well. By unplugging even for a small amount of time every day, you are allowing your brain to focus on your subconscious mind more. This allows for even more original and creative thought. Having a clear mind can help you think and solve hard problems as well.

Tips for Balancing your Digital Life

  • For every device, application, and service, ask yourself if you really need it or use it today. It must bring you absolute joy before you let it into your daily life.
  • For each device, application, and service you use, you must give it rules that you abide by to ensure you are not constantly sinking time into them. i.e. Twitter for 10 minutes a day at Noon.
  • Use each device with a specific intent such as a cell phone only for communicating with others in personable ways such as texting and calling, or using a computer for programming. Get rid of applications and services on these machines that do not relate with the intent of the device.
  • Balance your passive consumption such as watching shows, playing video games, reading books, etc with demanding activities such as going to dinner with a friend, playing board games with family, etc.
  • Prioritize demanding activities over passive consumption.
  • Find a daily way to disconnect from technology. Go on a long walk, go to the gym, go to a coffee shop, go on a hike, etc all without bringing technology with you. If you do bring technology with you, make sure it follows a specific intention (Emergency contact, Music to listen to, etc)

Jon Douglas writes at, where he writes about better habits, deep work, software development, and improved health for Software Professionals. You can read his articles or join his free newsletter for new content every week.

This article was originally published on

Top comments (0)