Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cutting Online Screen Time

Reducing My online screen time
Lately, I’ve been making a solid attempt to reduce my screen time in general and my active online time especially. I am also interested in restoring my attention span. I’m not really talking about research or destination reading. 

I could just avoid going online altogether, but that hasn’t worked so well for me in the past. 

With that out of that out of the way:

What I don’t like about the internet:
It’s a distraction, an emotional and intellectual drain and a barrier to getting work done- in short, when used without moderation, the internet is not so much a waste of time as it is an active pollutant of time. If you think it’s harmless, cool. Get lost, as implied above, I have no time for you. 

How do we reduce online screen time? The answers are simple, but require effort to put into practice: also all of these come with an unwritten “when/where it’s possible” clause

  1. Commit to the physical world to whatever degree you can manage. If you want to do this you must want to do it.
  2. This is the key- fight fire with fire. If the internet is a barrier and a distraction- it is in part due to its infinite nature. These days, whenever I feel the urge to get online- I find something else to do until the urge passes. I read a comic book; or a chapter from a novel; or walk the dog; or do some pull ups; I can even write a blog post. If I am working- I work. There are probably a dozen or more better ways to spend your time within arms reach of you right now. I think it’s best to keep the distractions shortish in the beginning- unless you can be consumed by work or reading or a movie marathon or what have you, in which case this is a very good option.
  3. It’s probably best to work at reducing your screen time ingeneral. Turn your devices off if you can. This creates a moment to resist the impulse to go on line, “just for a minute.” 
  4. Go back to or engage with physical media whenever it is feasible. Collecting physical media is another good distraction. 
  5. If possible keep your new activities close at hand ready to go instantly.
  6. Infinite choices are your true enemy: when you do go online, plan your consumption; go with a destination and purpose. This includes stuff like streaming movies- it’s best if you know what you want ahead of time. An hour browsing Netflix is no better than an hour arguing about class and level limits for the 70th time. I get my movies from the bargain bin; the choices are generally way better than what you can stream; but I’d rather pay full price than spend half the night looking for something that doesn’t suck- finite choices are your best friend. 
  7. Online shopping isn’t so bad if you have at least an idea of what you want. Sometimes it’s the only way. But if you want to browse without the internet, go to a used bookstore or even a B&N; they all sell movies and vinyls now. Buy camping gear; go camping. Find something amongst the finite choices that interests you- and then go buy it online for less money- unless it’s cheaper in meatspace, in which case buy it there.  
  8. Keep in touch with text, calls or email, not social media. This is pretty key.
  9. Get an NES classic.
  10. That’s all I got; any suggestions

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