A Day Away From The World… of the Internet.
In spirit of Personal Experience Week, I decided to jump onto the bandwagon and write something about the world. Well, hopefully with a bit of focus.
These past few weeks, months even, have been hectic, for me, for Versatile, for life in general. I realized how attached I was to the computer. I literally needed it for everything, to relax, to work, to communicate with the rest of the world. I realized that the computer wasn’t really helping my life. So I did a little experiment of my own, to see what would happen if I tweaked my life a bit.
First, I blocked access to youtube for a while and pulled out some books to read, so I could just chill without the pc on. I don’t watch much TV other than the news, so I started reading when I was munching on dinner. Then I started using Launchy to turn off my monitor whenever I did not need to use the computer to do work. I then took my work to another room, just to get away from my desk and get a new space to work in. Productivity shot up through the roof. I used to consider myself pretty good on this “productivity” business; leaving the computer to do work elsewhere really added more to my potential.
I turned off all messaging systems, using only my private Gtalk account as a means to communicate with Versatile and a few other very important people in case I had questions or comments. This amounts to about five people. I cleaned my desktop and created a more homy environment to work in. I used Fences to hide my icons, and changed the background and theme of XP.
Finally, I decided to see what would happen if I just didn’t use my computer until I needed to get work done. That day was undoubtably one of the least stressful days in my life of the past few weeks. I just hunkered down to my kitchen table and worked on my stuff there. The computer wasn’t on, I wasn’t running back and forth to do things, I didn’t have urgent messages, my phone wasn’t ringing off the hook, and I didn’t have any distractions. If I couldn’t solve something, I used the textbook. That’s right. A textbook. The old-school way.
What I finally learned is that everyone needs a break from the computer. The internet is a good tool and all, but too much really hurts us. We are too reliant on Google, Wikipedia, and having all this instant information at our fingertips. We are too used to instant communications and too distracted by IM clients and music playing in the background. The computer, while making work easier, adds to the core stress that we undergo each day.
Thus, I’ve started to change my life to move away from the hardcore computer usage to the hardcore computer user. There is a fundamental difference: time vs. skill. I can use my computer to get my work done when I am focused, when I turned off almost EVERYTHING. Resorting to programs like the White/Darkrooms or Q10 or a window cloak is not shameful, but practical, almost genius. Nearly every hardcore computer user faces this problem at some point, whether it is me, Versatile, or a typical Underground reader.
So to wrap this up, as my advice, take time off the monitor and stare at the real world. Get rid of those distractions and use the time spent to really relax and have fun. Mixing work with play, even to sooth the tensions, doesn’t help you in the long run. It hampers performance and makes a mockery of your true potential.
Posted on April 20, 2009, in Advice, News and tagged away from world, computer, day, Experience, internet, Lifehacker, lifehacking, person, personal, Productivity, wired, wireless, working. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.