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This is an introduction to a topic I’ll probably write about in the future so follow this category if you want to keep updated (or subscribe via RSSor email). I’ll keep this post short and sweet since it’s actually quite ironic how I’m spending time on the internet right now talking about this! I just feel that putting it out there will give me the necessary pressure to follow through with my plans.
Perhaps my title depreciates what people with more severe levels of addiction go through. I mean absolutely no offence to those people. But I feel that if I carry on the way I am, I’m going to impact my life negatively. Internet addiction is a very serious condition for many people and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many people are spending too much time on the web and it has already started showing its effects.
Any serious addiction includes the withdrawal to a comfort zone where things are easy but where real, tough but rewarding life is avoided. I have realised I need to make a big change in my life before things get to that level. And it’s probably come at a good time too since my final university exams are looming and I have a dissertation to write. This is the first step towards change: Admitting the problem.
What makes the internet hard to kick is that giving it up completely is not an option. The internet is a useful tool which is becoming more and more important in our lives. There has to be a limit though. Studies have shown that constant novelty from clicking links on the internet, especially by opening multiple tabs, can cause real addiction measurable in the brain. Here’s a clip which mentions this research among a TED discussion on internet porn addiction (I used the same clip recently in a post concerning my thoughts on porn).
I have decided that to overcome this problem of mine before it really gets serious, I need to enforce a well thought out change in structure to my day. Here’s a quick list of what I’ve thought about so far.
The morning is a particularly bad time to start casually browsing the internet. It being the first thing I do in my day is really quite sad. That anticipation that someone may have contacted me can wait. Most of these interactions don’t require the same immediate action like a mobile text often does so there’s really no rush to answering them.
I would like to think I could force mind over matter and be productive in my room but it just hasn’t worked for me in the past. Maybe it’s just me but I have a completely different mental attitude depending on whether I’m in my room or in the library. The problem I have with working far from home is food. I either have to spend an unnecessary amount of money to keep myself content, which keeps me focused, or I have to prepare a packed lunch in advance which I never feel I have the time for (an example of a mental failure to assume responsibility). So an extra rule which will keep me productive while away from my bedroom is to start preparing packed lunches!
As soon as I’ve published this post, I’m going to give myself only two hours a day of casual internet browsing; two hours where I don’t feel guilty about neglecting to do something more productive and fulfilling with my time. They will be divided into two and spent during my lunch and supper breaks. During the time that is freed up I’ll be more productive and able to take relaxing breaks from study. Let’s face it, staring at a computer screen while becoming over-stimulated by novel content is not the way to relax between studies. I might even make up the time to get back to the gym, something I love doing but have recently put off claiming that I have too much work on. In fact, I’ll make daily exercise part of my new routine too!
From now on my blogs are going to be developed by pen and paper in my free time. I’ll have a few articles in-the-making at the same time which I can slowly complete in my free-time. Once they are ready I’ll type and post them in my allowed casual browsing time. This might have the added bonus of increasing the quality of my writing and it’ll also mean that my time spent on the internet is more productive.
Some old-technologies will always be with us. I think it’s important not to neglect these in our relentless quest to advance as a species. Text-books and other pieces of literature were produced by experts with passion and determination and it is a shame that many have stopped considering good old fashioned books as research sources. With the time freed up by excessive use of the internet I want to re-establish my love for reading (I used to be such a book-worm as a child)
I’d love to hear your thoughts and any of your own experiences on the topic. Thank you for spending your time reading what I had to say!