How to change the way you use your time online

This is a post that I actually drafted some time ago and did not have time to finish. So it will stay English. Also, there is one person I wanted to share my experience with that is not Polish, so this is another reason why I switched back to English for this. However, not going to bore you with the details of why I decided to write this in one language instead of the other. Enjoy!

I've read "Focus" by Leo Babauta some time ago and I decided to try some ideas he wrote about.

One of those were to try to stay disconnected for a day or two. And yes, he made me realize that I am totally addicted to Internet. My excuse always was that... I have to use it, because all I do at work requires Internet. And that's still true.

However, I realized that when I am at home, I sometimes spend 1-2 hours just... wandering around the web? Check Facebook, read an article about something that somebody just posted, google for something random that just popped out in my mind, oh, maybe someone wrote something new on Facebook. Did I check my email recently? Oh, I got a new message on twitter. Wait a second, why was it I even turn my PC on? That can (and usually does) take hours. I realized that I was... basically killing time online and then I would complain I don't have time to do some other things offline.

How can I complain about not having time to do anything if... I waste time like this? What value does that bring to my life? How does it help me with anything?

I used to say that Internet is just a tool, but it seems like it became much more. It became my lifestyle. And, to be honest, I don't like that.

On the day I am writing this, I challenged myself to stay disconnected. I prepared a todo list of all the things I wanted to do in my private time.

  • Contact the architect about the blueprints for the house... uhh wait, I have to google their email and... email them?
  • Send a word document to my dad
  • Write a blog post
  • Show my girlfriend that one inspiring YouTube video

Of course, that were not the only things on my TODO list that day, but... our lives depend on Internet more than we think. Probably more than we consciously want to. So I realized that staying disconnected for two days - may not be the best choice.

I took a different challenge then. I decided that I will not turn on my PC or use Internet unless I have a clear goal on what I am trying to do and then... do this and only this. FOCUS.

It's fine to look for things to do in Poznan or google for something specific. As long as it's very clear what I am trying to do - that's fine. I want to go back to using Internet as a tool instead of just... spending time there.

And so far - I've done lots of things today that were just sitting there and waiting for their turn and I didn't feel tired doing them. It was actually a lot of fun. So it seems to be working. I haven't touched my iPhone all day except for sending one text message. And I started my day with walking to a lake nearby to read a book outside. It really feels good.

This paragraph was not a part of the original post. I wanted to share some more experience trying this. One thing - it's not as easy as it sounds, but it's worth trying. I always try to prepare a todo list before I turn on my computer. Try it for a day or two. I bet you will notice a huge differene ;)


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