Fighting internet addiction.

Surfing the internetsphoto © 2007 Jeff Boulter | more info (via: Wylio)

Internet has truly revolutionized our lives. We do things today that looked like science fiction only a decade earlier. It has brought us all closer to each other through emails, chatting and social sites. It has made all our knowledge, accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, in a matter of seconds. It has connected people world wide and changed the way we communicate, work and shop. There is still so much more we can do with it.

But for all the good that came with it, it has also marked the onset of a new kind of addiction, the internet addiction. There are a lot of people who spend significant portions of their day aimlessly surfing the internet. Like anything else, the power internet brings with it, also brings a big responsibility. You can use the internet to learn a lot of things, build positive relations, even work and earn money on it. Or you can sit on it for hours, doing no productive work, browsing through emails, chatting for hours with friends about unimportant stuff, reading and posting links on social networking sites, watching porn, reading umpteen blogs etc, etc.

Staying addicted to the internet this way for long periods leads to a sedentary lifestyle, boredom and listlessness. This neither leaves a feeling of wellness nor is it productive. I am not talking about leaving the internet totally, it is too good for that. I am talking about using it wisely, to your advantage. Use it as something you command, not something you become a slave to. If you feel you are spending unproductive time on the internet, you might find this helpful.

Get more in control of your time on the internet :

On a deeper level, you have to analyze what good is coming out of all the hours spent in front of your computer. Do the results justify the time spent? If you think you are wasting time on the internet, what is it that keeps bringing you back to it? Are you living reactively, instead of living proactively? Maybe there is a lack of a higher purpose? If that is the case, read this to understand your higher purpose.

On a higher level, you can try these :

1. Set specific time for browsing. Give yourself a limited time during the day to browse. Let your friends and family know that you are trying this, that will add to the pressure. Use a timer if you feel the need.

2. Do the important stuff first. Don’t start browsing first thing in the morning or the first thing after coming back from office. Finish important stuff first and then go to the net.

3. Join activity oriented groups online. If you are on social networking sites like facebook, join a community on dance, or hiking, or football, any group that follows activity that interests you. There is more of a chance of you being led outdoors. A good place to join activity oriented groups is www.meetup.com

Once you start cutting down on your internet time, you will have some spare time to use.

Few things you can consider doing in your new spare time :

1. Spend time with your family or friends. If you have a family living with you, or friends, think of what activities you will like to do together for fun. If nothing else, just be with them, something or the other will turn up soon and you will find yourself in the middle of some fun activity before you know it!

2. Plan a trip to nature. Look for natural spots around your city where you can do some fun activity. Hiking, skiing, kayaking are all options depending on what you have available. Look for something closer home that you may not have explored yet.

3. Volunteer. Helping others can be fun. Join a volunteer activity and help out some people in need. You might make some good connections too.

4. Join a sports club. Most people enjoy sports as kids. As we grow up, this fun and healthy activity falls off our radars. But if you are living in a decent sized city, you can always find some sports club close by. If you don’t have one, you can try starting one. You can ask people around if they would like to play. You might find some interested people.

5. Try a class for some new art. This adds on to the point above. I have tried dancing, martial arts, extempore, fiction writing. All of these were fun, even if you are not serious about becoming a pro. The first two will get you a good exercise, make you feel good and get you some friends who are more likely to pull you outdoors for fun, rather than ask you to play ‘call of duty’ over the internet.

6. Develop a hobby at home. Gardening, cooking, writing, reading are all options. Even cleaning can be fun. This is a good way when you don’t have anyone to do things with and can’t find anything to do in you city. Do some cleanup around the house, try to cook food for yourself, if you don’t know how to, consult your old friend, the internet. But don’t start browsing for anything more than the recipes :)

So move away from the computer, now. Find something fun to do. You might have to look for the right activity and people but it is worth the effort. Have fun!

2 Comments

  • M
    December 7, 2010 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    True, internet is such a time sucker for me. Found this pomodaro tracking, which helps stay focused and evaluate our tasks – http://mytomatoes.com/. I’ve used it for controlling my random surfing and it worked!!

    • Rahul
      December 7, 2010 - 9:27 pm | Permalink

      I had never heard of the Pomodaro Technique before.
      It looks like a simple, time management technique. I do a rough version of it, with larger work patches between intervals. In fact, I don’t usually monitor the time when I am writing. I write for as long as I feel I am in the zone(it usually is 1-2 hrs, sometimes less, sometimes more). For the, relatively boring part of editing, I use more fixed amounts of time, again 1-2 hrs. Will try the 25 mins patches too. Thanks for mentioning it Mano.

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