What I did on my Internet-free day

It was a crazy idea: When I woke up yesterday, I decided not to wake the computer the first thing. In fact, I decided to stay offline the whole day.

My reason was that I’m close to becoming an Internet addict. Of course, that word doesn’t really make sense, since Internet to large extents is part of your life and should be. I use it not only to pay my bills and charge people who buy my stuff, but also to do lots of other important work, not to mention communicate with friends. You know what I mean. Internet is in no way good or bad. It’s just there.

So when does sane Internet use turn into an addiction?

  • Maybe when you open a new browser window without having any particular site in mind, thus staring blankly at the address field.
  • Maybe when you in the same apathetic manner flip through the open browser windows in search for who knows what.
  • Maybe when you go to the Twitter window in the background as soon as it says “1 new tweet.” I quit Facebook partly for this reason.
  • Or maybe when you had other things in mind but just have to space-through the 100+ posts in your Google Reader before you start.

Sunday was a perfect day for taking a break from it all by staying offline and even off the screen. But it was hard! Especially since I was on my own the whole day, otherwise it wouldn’t have been much of a challenge to be honest.

This is what I did on my Internet-free day:

  • Took a walk in the light rain (it rained the whole day).
  • Studied Japanese at a café.
  • Finished Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen.
  • Studied more Japanese at home.
  • Read some chapters in a book about the Greek language.

What I missed the most wasn’t the Internet, but the use of my computer as a tv. It would have been nice to end this text intensive day with a movie or just some short sitcom episodes in between the Japanese lessons. But rules are there to be followed!

I’m now taking these measures to make my Internet life less addictive:

  • I’m throwing out Boing-Boing from my reader. I love Boing-Boing (even read the print magazine back in 1995), but I should be doing other stuff than looking at monkeys riding goats. Also throwing out The Guardian’s book blog and some other feeds. (I wish Google Reader had a feature to deactivate feeds temporarily.)
  • I’m closing the Twitter window. It’s better to check it every once in a while and forget about it for large periods of time. After all, I’m no politician and no avid debater.
  • I’m having breakfast at the kitchen table instead of at the computer. No, I’m not ready for this one yet. And there’s also no real point in it – I love breakfasts in front of the screen!

Any other tips welcome! All in all, I had a great and very analogue day. I think I’m gonna make all Sundays Internet-free.

2 thoughts on “What I did on my Internet-free day

  1. Aw, I know what you mean :s

    What I do is:

    # I open Twitter only when I want to tweet something. Nothing there is so important that I can’t read it next time I’m gonna tweet. myself.

    # I have a “rainy day” folder in Google Reader with all the non-time-critical feeds I can ignore in my daily routine unless I *really* don’t have anything else to do (even ‘tho it takes some discipline to ignore the number of unread items behind it :/)

    # I check the “Trends” page in Google Reader every once in a while to have a look at the “Most Active” tab and see if I really, really need those feeds that add 50 or more new items to my reader every day.

    # If I find longer articles I want to read I add them to my Instapaper account so I can read them on the iPod whenever I *can’t* do anything else anyway (e.g. when I sit in the tram or train).

    Hm, that’s not much. I hope someone else can come up with more :3

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