How To Manage Internet Overwhelm (Without Going Off The Grid + Still Get Stuff Done)


I’m on the internet all blessed day. Truly.  I need to be online for my business and I genuinely enjoy reading blogs and watching videos of cats and weird Japanese game shows.

Even though I’m a die hard, dyed-in-the-wool, down-to-the-quick-of-my-bones Internet Super Fan, it can get overwhelming. The never-ending email, the constant updates, the perceived need to be awesome across so many different platforms.

Here’s how I turn down the roar on the internet without totally tuning out:

Unsubscribe from newsletters
There are some newsletters that are really, genuinely helpful that I really, actually open and read.  Then there are the people/businesses who add you to their list without your permission and bombard you three times a week with promotions.  Good day to you, sir.  I’d like a heaping helping of unsubscription, please.

Turn off updates from Twitter, Facebook, and your blog
For YEARS I’d get notifications every time someone commented on a Facebook status, or followed me on Twitter or left a comment on my blog. This meant that opening my inbox was an exercise in exhaustion and anxiety.  Adjust your settings so you get only the most important notifications - if you get any at all.  Set aside a time once or twice a day to log into your accounts, check the comments, and then get back to work or (better yet) get away from a screen and do something awesome.

Schedule everything in advance
95% of my social media is scheduled in advance.  Sit down every Friday afternoon and spend an hour or so scheduling your tweets and Facebook updates then go enjoy your weekend.

Block yourself from social media
Left to my own devices, I’ll check Facebook and Twitter every 45 minutes.  BECAUSE WHAT IF SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING FUNNY AND I MISSED IT?  Shockingly enough, this is not a recipe for productivity.  I use LeechBlock to bar me from social media and other tempting websites during work hours.

Reevaluate your need for all the social media platforms
Do you want permission to opt out of Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or Vine? This is it. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. There are super successful people who don’t use these platforms. You don’t need to do everything all the time.  I don’t care about fashion or crafts or cooking enough to use Pinterest.  Alex Franzen doesn’t have a Facebook account - like, even for her friends!

Reevaluate your need for a data plan on your phone
What?  Yes.  I don’t have a data plan and I love it.  Do I really need to read a tiny screen on the bus when I could look out the window?  Do I need to play Angry Birds while I wait for my friend at the coffee shop when I could be reading the newspaper?  I do not.

Use Google Docs offline
Wanna get real crazy?  Activate Google Docs offline and then go somewhere that doesn’t have wifi (I’m fairly sure these places still exist). And then work. In beautiful, uninterrupted internet silence.   Drink something yummy and revel in your amazing low-tech productivity.

Do you ever struggle with Internet Overwhelm?  How do you deal with it?

P.S. Did you know that when you sign up for my newsletter and send me your URL, I’ll give your site a once over and send you three, specific-to-you suggestions to make your online space more polished, trafficked, and money-making?

photo by kevin j, cc




AMEN to blocking oneself from social media. Left to my own devices, I tend to just leave a facebook tab open, all the time, in case something super important (lolol) happens. Not. At. All. Productive.

Stefanie Grace

I love this! Especially the scheduling thing… I know I should do that and I never do… So I’m getting on that first thing tomorrow morning!


I’ve been abroad for most of the last 10 months, and not having a cell phone with me all the time has been MAGNIFICENT. No checking Google Reader on the bus, no looking at Facebook while standing in line, etc. etc. etc. The time difference also means that most email/Facebook/etc. activity happens in the middle of the night, so I’ll check everything once in the morning and then it’s not really worth it to do it again throughout the day. I’m not sure I can bring all that back to my US life when I return, but it’s been really nice to recognize the difference in how I feel every day - I’ll definitely try to keep that in mind …

(p.s. I’m Rachel Andersson’s college friend from Mpls - I think you have my hand-me-down big orange cowl sweater, via her? Also it’s on my to-do list to email you … stay tuned.)


.Oh yes…this is so me …Left to my own devices, I’ll check Facebook and Twitter every 45 minutes. BECAUSE WHAT IF SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING FUNNY AND I MISSED IT?

And then I think. really? That’s why I can’t tear myself away, ha! I’m pulling back these days. These are great ideas :)

Tara Gentile

Similarly, I have Evernote set to offline on my iPad so that once it connects & syncs to the latest version of all my notes, I can go ANYWHERE without wifi and visit ideas, write, and play with concepts without getting distracted.

Further, I think iPads are great for managing internet overwhelm as well since it’s much more difficult to switch between applications. If I’m reading or writing, I have to actively work to see if I have Facebook notifications or Twitter replies.


I’m totally with you on the iPad front! Evernote is great for working without the overwhelm :)


Although I have tried, social media gives me vertigo when combined with my click heavy existence. Felt good to say that, thanks.


Great point!

Hahha! Yes! I love that sweater and I get compliments on it alllll the time!

Sophie | Spark Your Self

I’m embarrassed to admit that at one stage I was on Twitter so much I started dreaming in tweets!

I agree with all of your suggestions (it’s so easy to get overwhelmed!), and would add filtering any newsletters you do subscribe to into a specific folder and skipping the inbox. That way you’re not caught up in the newsletter when it first lands in your inbox, and it’s super easy to sit down and read through all of them when you have time.


Hi Sarah, I found this post via another blog and had to check it out.

I had this experience recently, which spanned over months, the whole internet overload or, for me, it was more information overload.

Personally I’m a fan of off the grid. I got rid of my cell phone years ago and I’m so grateful for it. With regards to email I shut off all notifications, unsubscribed from everything, use Google Docs (and still do) but I found myself still craving less of this internet/social media craze. Maybe it was because when I saw people use it (no matter the length of time) I saw them further pulled away.

So I took a giant break from my blog (an intended permanent one) and removed myself completely from social networks. I had deleted my Facebook account a year ago but I went on to delete my Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. With the only social network it left me on was Goodreads. What I learned was that I didn’t need those things and it brought a level of personal to the table. Instead of sending a tweet and assuming people read it, I called a friend and told them. I found that I disconnected to connect and it was amazing.

Though “off the grid” sounds like a negative phrase to some, I embrace it. Heck I’m working to live off the grid. But what people confuse about the phrase “off the grid,” is that it doesn’t equate to disconnect. Often it means more connection. For example, when we build our off the grid home we’ll still have our own power, internet etc. It will just be supplied by us. We will become more connected to the world because we will be a part of the process. I realized that this carries over everywhere. This has just been my experience though but I value a good bid of disconnect to connect.

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