Do you Spend Too Much Time Online?

By K. Stone

October 17, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Last week I wrote an article on How to Find a Date Offline. One reader commented that the ideas were all well and good, but what if you can’t tear yourself away from the online world. I thought, “Wow. I’ve struggled with that too, and I bet a lot of other people have also.” Hence, this article.

Why Wean?
Presumably, if you are interested in this topic then there are other activities that you would like to spend more time on instead of being tied to the computer all day.

“Weaning” is an apropos analogy to use because the computer provides a certain level of comfort just like a bottle does for a baby. So that’s what we’re in for: trading off some computer comfort for other valuable activities.

If you are stuck to your computer because of work demands, keep this truism in mind, “work will always fill time available.” Force yourself to shorten your allotted work time and you’ll find yourself becoming more productive and dropping less important busy work.

How to Wean Yourself from the Online World

1. Decide. There’s a certain amount of “Just Do It” required, but you need to have your mind committed first.

2. Choose. Take a little bit of time to choose which activities you want to spend more time on such as:

  • leisure time
  • family time
  • exercise
  • relationships
  • being outdoors
  • learning
  • hobbies
  • socializing
  • reading
  • travel

For each item that is important to you, list why you want to do it. This is key because when breaking your old habit you need to be able to think of the benefits of the new habit. You might even want to rank them in order of importance.

3. Plan. If you want to establish a new habit you need to set up new routines and rituals in order to fail-proof the installation of your new habit. Set up a new weekly schedule that limits your online time and that makes room for the other activities that are important to you. If surfing the web is a leisure activity for you, then put limits on it and use an online stopwatch to help you stick to it. Here is a link to download a free excel template for establishing new routines.

4. Reminders. Set up visual reminders of your new routines. The easiest way is to post your new routine in the places where you spend the most time: the car, office, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Your new routine will remind you of what is important to you and you’ll be more likely to successfully adopt the new habits.

5. Action. Don’t wait for inspiration and excitement to hit. Take action first to create energy and excitement. When you start making progress that’s when you get excited. So JUST DO IT! And for Pete’s sake, have fun! If you want more ideas on how to fail-proof taking action, read this article too.

6. Uncomfortable. If you really are a social recluse, seek to make yourself uncomfortable in the short term in order to enjoy some greater benefits in the long term. Try to find a buddy who will push you. Make commitments with people because you’ll be less likely to chicken out if you don’t want to let someone else down by canceling.

What do you want to spend more time on? Please share in the comments and receive some encouragement at the same time!

Written for Dumb Little Man by K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. Popular articles are How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less and Maximum Energy in 10 Simple Steps.

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