Most evenings, between 8-10, I’m at my computer. I sit down with noble intentions to be productive. I’ll do some work from the office so my next day will go a little smoother. I’ll write or edit. Maybe I’ll blog, which I consider different from writing. I don’t know why.
What really happens is – I check my email. I catch up with what’s on Facebook. I check Twitter. Maybe I hit Pintrist and see what pictures friends posted, or I’ll go check what updates have been made on Goodreads or Reddit. Mind you, each one of these sites has links that send me all over the place, and if a link sends me to Writers Digest, The Verge or Engadget, don’t wait up. I may not be coming to bed.
Eventually, I get around to getting some work done, but even in the middle of writing or working at home, I continue to check for updates.
I estimate that I lose 40%-60% a night to this sort of thing. Rather than being productive, I’m randomized by cute cat videos, tech news and reading articles about writing, rather than – you know – writing.
Then, I saw this article by Paul Miller, a tech writer for The Verge, who quit the internet for a full year: I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet
Paul Miller’s experience inspired me. I can’t quit the internet without quitting my job, which also means I quit having a house to live in and quit having food to eat. But what I can do is quit the main sites on the internet that randomize me. Correction: That I allow to randomize me.
I know, it’s not as significant as quitting the internet for a year, but then I’m not trying to make a big statement about isolation of modern society invoked by technology, evils of social media or the fragility of my sanity. All of those things are certainly suspect – but I’m doing this to see if removing obvious distractions helps me focus and be more productive.
Will it really help me be productive? Will I find other distractions to fill the time – maybe basket weaving or racing earthworms? Will I have a nervous breakdown without the outlet of social media sites?
I have no idea how this will go, but I’ll be blogging about it right here.
- Silicon Alley Insider: 5 Lessons Learned By A Guy Who Quit The Internet For A Year (businessinsider.com)
- He Unplugged From The Internet For A Year. This Is What He Learned. (kotaku.com)
- Tech Writer Paul Miller Lives Without The Internet For One Year, Does It Wrong (mamapop.com)
- Could You Go for a Year Without Internet Access? Paul Miller Reports on His Experiment… (circleid.com)
- How is Social Media Affecting Your Business? (elocal.com)
- When Is It Time to Quit Social Media? (janetboyer.typepad.com)