After Keris’ Simplify/Focus post struck such a loud chord in me, I decided to take a day off from the internet. The very fact that this was Quite A Big Deal told me how necessary an experiment it was. Ah-hem.
I was ‘allowed’ to check my email first thing and at the end of the working day (five o’clock), but the browser was to remain strictly closed. I’m actually quite embarrassed to admit how nervous (and excited) I was by this prospect. While I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to the internet, I definitely have an ingrained habit and I was truly uncertain as to whether I’d manage it. Especially when you consider I sit right in front of the delivery system all freaking day.
Well, I’m happy (and relieved – God, I would hate to discover an uncontrollable addiction that required internet cold-turkey. That would suck.) to report that my day went swimmingly.
It did feel odd and holiday-like. There were moments when I absent-mindedly clicked on Outlook or Firefox (I had Freedom set for eight hours though, so no cheating occurred) and I did feel a bit sad at about four o’clock when I realised I had another hour to go before I could check my email.
But, mainly, it was ace. My morning lasted a lot longer than usual. I felt calmer. I felt more focused and in control. I wrote lists and I wrote in my diary and I brainstormed ideas for articles and blog posts. I wrote 1200 words on the zero draft and thought about the structure of the story.
I also; cleaned the kitchen, went to the post office, spoke to my mother-in-law on the phone, listened to a StoryWonk podcast, and read a book for an hour.
In other words, I demonstrated just how much time I’ve been spending faffing online.
It also brought home the difference between enjoying and engaging with the bountiful online world and this:
[Image by the incomparable Hyperbole and a Half]
I’ve decided to have one internet-free weekday (and I’m aiming to build up to avoiding it on the weekends, too).
I love the internet. I love blogs and vlogs and and pretty pictures and chatting on Twitter, but I love reading books, knitting and sewing, making lists with a pencil, day-dreaming, and writing, too.
It boils down to this: I need to spend less time consuming and more time creating. Who’s with me?