How 60 Seconds Online Can Make Your Whole Day
I spend a lot of time in my business, thinking about the practical, nuts-and-bolts aspects of the Internet: How do we use it better, what can it do for your research, business or career, etc.?
It’s a fun field, because there are always lots of fascinating answers to these questions. Every once in a while, though, I like to take a step back and get a little more philosophical about things and ask questions like, “What is the Internet really for?”
I’ve decided that the answer is a bit like the meaning of life – it probably depends on who you are and what you want it to be. One thing that it should be, however, is a tool for making your life a bit better and more enjoyable.
I bring this up because the novelty of the Internet wore off for a lot of us many years ago. It’s no longer as much “fun” to go online when we are thinking about work, research, and responsibilities. That’s understandable, but it’s also a bit of a waste; there’s a lot of really fun stuff you can find out there in cyberspace, and you don’t have to waste a big chunk of your day getting to it.
In fact, to help readers get more from the time they’re spending online, here are a few things I’ve noticed that can make your whole day. Best of all, most of them can be finished in a minute or less:
Tell or learn a joke. Nothing beats humor in the middle of a tough workday, and sharing one of your own jokes, or learning one that someone else has posted, is a great way to brighten the world around you. JokesPlace.com will give you a good start.
Pick up a new recipe. It’s easy to fall into a rut in the kitchen, and there are literally millions of great recipes out there on easy-to-find websites. Why not spice up your week, literally, with something new? Recipe.com is a great place to get started – and yes, they are free.
Make a donation or micro-loan. One of the oldest pieces of advice in the world is still one of the most powerful: The best way to make yourself feel better and pick up your mood is by doing something great for someone else. You’d be amazed at what one random act of kindness can do for your daily outlook. Kiva.org is a non-profit who can change lives with just a $25 loan.
Do a favor for a stranger. There are a lot of ways to be charitable, even if you aren’t working with an organized charitable group. There are lots of forms online where you can do things like answer questions for students, contribute creatively to a collaborative project, or otherwise help out someone else. Look local – there are many organizations that have probably helped someone you know.
Write a positive review. It’s sad, but many of us only take the time to share our thoughts and impressions when we’re angry. It’s just as easy (and a lot less stressful) to pass along a good word now and then. Google them and then write a review or use sites like Urban Spoon or Trip Advisor for eateries.
As I mentioned, none of these has to take much of your time, but whatever piece of your calendar you do give is bound to come back to you several times over in the form of a better mood. There’s a lot to be said for making the most of the Internet as a business or research tool, but why shouldn’t you take a few moments to brighten up your day online?