October Lifehacking: Internet Detox
Posted by Trixter on September 29, 2012
The month of October marks the 20th anniversary of when I first obtained internet access (thanks Brian!) and started accessing the internet at least once every single day. Back then it was mostly FTP transfers and Usenet reading; my first email address came a year later, and I didn’t fall into the IRC trap until a year after that (and gave up IRC somewhat for good in 1999, as my IRC addiction was affecting my job). Despite being connected to the world at 9600 baud back then, I used the ‘net for at least something every single day, and that hasn’t changed in 20 years.
Actually… I don’t recall using the internet on my wedding day, honeymoon, and during the birth of my children. But the ‘net and I definitely have a five nines relationship.
A few days ago, I came across a 3-article summary on slashdot on how smartphones have banished boredom, and whether or not that’s a good thing. It got me thinking about how I spend the majority of my free time — or rather, how I tend to waste most of it — so I decided to try a little experiment: I will go on an internet sabbatical for one month, specifically the entire month of October. Absolutely no voluntary internet access whatsoever (I’m sure my internet-connected devices will continue on their merry autonomous way without me). The rules I am imposing on myself are as follows:
- No web access
- No reading or responding to email
- No browsing social network feeds (twitter, facebook, google+) in any capacity (smartphone or PC)
- No Netflix streaming access
To avoid too much disruption, there are a few exceptions to the above. I will check email/web Saturday October 6th because I have an ebay auction ongoing, and will need to send the winning bidder their merch. Also, I will allow myself web access at work if I need it to perform my job duties, or at home if I need to respond to something time-sensitive (like enrolling for work health benefits, etc.). And if Melissa wants to watch a movie on Netflix with me, obviously I will oblige. But otherwise, that’s it. I’ll slap a vacation message on my email addresses and come back a month later.
Lack of internet access doesn’t mean I’m sequestering myself from society. If you need to get a hold of me, please call or text me — you know, like before the internet was popular. I’ll have my cell phone on me at all times.
I’ve never done anything like this before and have many questions. Will I spend more time with my family? Will I get more sleep? Will I finally read Neuromancer? Will I spend more time playing games? Will it affect my weight? Will it affect my work performance? Will it affect my anxiety?
I’ll come back with answers in November. See you then!