Just over a month ago now I wrote about returning from a vacation that served as a seriously-needed internet detox. It was exactly what I needed. As time has gone by (and it’s only been just over a month!), I find myself slowly slipping back into my old ways. Spending way too many needless hours sitting in front of the computer or the TV, reading fewer books, spending less time outside. Not QUITE right back where I started, but pretty close to it. And I’m not happy about it.
I was catching up on some articles in my Instapaper queue this evening when I came across this article from one of my favorite blogs, The 99%: What Happens When You Unplug from Your Internet Addiction? It reminded me of how great I felt after that internet detox week and also pointed out just how much time I’ve been wasting doing nothing in particular. I know detox week isn’t something sustainable. Completely unplugging from the world for 6 days is just not something you can do frequently if you expect to keep your job, relationships and sanity. But the article inspired me to try something. A happy medium.
I’ve decided that from now until the end of the year I’m going to spend at least 1 week per month unplugged except for essentials (read: going to work).
During detox week:
- Limit TV watching to 1 show per week (I call this the Glee Clause)
- Limit computer / internet usage to business hours M-F. No computer / internet on Saturday / Sunday.
- No internet-connected tasks while walking. (no email, checking twitter, facebook, etc. Basically I’m allowing myself to use instapaper and a Kindle) (and yes, I read and walk. I haven’t run into anyone yet.)
- Post-work computer use is limited to billable freelance hours and quantifiable Accompl.sh tasks. (read: if the site goes down, I can fix it)
- Text messages and phone calls are acceptable, but are to be used in moderation.
I tried things like this in the past, but usually along the lines of complete detox (a la my last vacation) or an attempt to unplug once/week. I think that 24 hours is too short to really feel the effect, so we’ll see how a week goes!
All that remains is to figure out which weeks to subject myself to these restrictions. I’m trying to come up with a way to choose weeks so that it ideally causes minimal interference (read: I want to be able to use the internet to plan my birthday!) Doing something like “the third weekend of every month” means I’ll likely forget to count the weeks so I think I’m going to go with something like the 15th – 21st of every month. It might hurt my Christmas shopping, but it’ll give me a reason to get ahead of the game I suppose!
So that’s the plan! What do you think? Did I miss any rules?