Hey just curious – what have you been able to do now with all of the time that you haven’t been spending on the internet?
Today I thought I’d share five things I learned/did as a result of cutting back on time spent online!
#5 The Internet is Very Useful
As I mentioned in my original post, my hope was to rediscover the “great tool” aspect of the Internet. Sure enough, limiting my time online made me very conscious of what I searched for or viewed. Can’t remember the name of that film Jim Carrey was in where they recorded his life without his knowing? Today’s easy answer is to pop online and look it up. But when those seconds add up and you only have so many per day, you start to wonder if it’s even worth looking up. The answer turns out to be “no.” My life is not better or worse by recalling the title The Truman Show.
Meanwhile if I want to make terrific egg salad, going online to compile recipes to tinker with and combine produces real, tangible (delicious) results. Time well spent, and a tool well used.
#4 Social Media is Overrated
I personally put a little too much emphasis on how important social media is, and I think many others do as well.
I’m not a Twitter addict, but I am a Twitter Compulsionist. What I mean by that is I can have my phone on and Twitter app open before I’m fully awake in the morning, so the first thing I see is a long list of tweets. That’s… not great. By limiting my time online, I realized how much of a compulsion it really is. If I had a spare moment, out came my phone and I was looking at things instead of appreciating the moment I was in.
I also realized how much “nothing” goes on there and with other social media. Do you sometimes learn that your best friend from high school is having a baby? Sure. Most of the time, though, it’s a bunch of meaningless posting with no real value. Which goes just as much for me and my own tweeting/posting, leading to…
#3 I’m in Control of What I Put Out There
I realized partway through the month that there is a LOT of complaining on social media. I came to this realization because life was feeling… well, much more positive than before I limited my Internet use. I also came to see that I wasn’t helping this issue, so I made a change.
Anytime I found myself ready to jump online to complain, I stopped. I looked at what I was doing, and changed my words into encouragement for anyone reading. (Interestingly, I ended up posting a lot less. So… maybe more of my tweets were negative in the past than I would have guessed!)
#2 I Enjoy Other Things a Lot More
I don’t think I’m alone in having a habit of clicking around online without any major goal in mind. There’s nothing wrong with scrolling through gifs of Corgi Puppies, but I found out that I enjoy a lot of other things a lot more. When I found myself with the bit of free time normally wasted wandering the web, I sat and read a book for a while, practiced the guitar, or fired up my Nintendo 3DS. I spent the same amount of time, but I did things that I savored a lot more. That made a big difference at the end of the day. I was a lot happier with what I spent my time on. (I’ve also dramatically improved at playing guitar. More tangible results!)
#1 Being Mindful of Time Takes Work
I fully admit, I didn’t always stick to my single-hour-allotment per day, especially towards the end of the month. I found myself easily falling back into old (long-developed) habits, and had to really work hard to stop and realize what I was doing.
I think we spend a lot of life on this autopilot. TV makes this very easy, as it breaks things up into half hour increments that flow right into the next. We get into routines and then the days just drift by. Before we know it, Christmas has arrived again, or summer has ended when it seems like it was just June yesterday. Not being as strict as I would have liked with time online showed me that this is an ongoing process, and I’m going to have to work at it. Otherwise, much like a diet, it’s all good intentions at first before we go right back to the old, worse way.
I’m not sure what February holds, but I know the next week is going to be extremely busy with a project I’ve decided take on. I’m not sure I’ll have time for even an hour of Internet a day until next week!
Then… we’ll see. I think I gained enough from limiting my time online that I want to continue in this way. At the very least, I want to continue to be more conscious about the choices I make. We all get 24 hours each and every day, and it’s up to us if we spend them wisely or let them slip away. The Internet can help make those hours more fulfilling, or easily add grease to the wheel of our precious time. I want to make sure any moment I spend online falls into the fulfilling category.