Trimming the Fat

I spend way too much time on the internet.

I check Facebook numerous times per day.

I am a member of two online message boards (one with 3 close friends, and another larger group).

I follow 60 blogs (and read them all, and comment on a good portion).

I write about 3 posts a week for my blog.

I have a few news sites I check daily.

I now have a Google+ account (luckily I’m only following about 20 people, so I only check it once a day).

I do internet searches for work and personal purposes often.

I’m practically attached at the hip to my multiple emails.

I have to update a portion of a website for work.

It’s getting to the point where I’m doing all this stuff more out of obligation than enjoyment. I get overwhelmed when I don’t check FB or my Google Reader a few times a day, because otherwise it’s hard to keep up with. Of course, now that I’m working, it’s tough to do it during the day so everything piles up. This is also the reason why I don’t want to branch out into new things, like Twitter or podcasts, because I feel like I already spend so much time on the internet that I don’t want to add to it.

One of my 2011 resolutions was to cut back on my internet use, but obviously I haven’t done a great job of it. How do you keep your internet use in check? Any tips on how to trim back without feeling like I’m missing something?


Comments on: "Trimming the Fat" (9)

  1. Oh man, that's a tough one. I am not on FB or twitter, it's pretty much just blogs, email, and the internet use for work, and I still think that some days I don't do anything of substance, just waste time between blogs (reading, commenting, and posting) and email.

    I don't know what to tell you. Some people find it useful to set specific times of day to check FB or email and not do it at any other time. I don't have enough self-control for that. I will be checking the comments here eagerly to see if people have come up with some useful tactics.

    As for missing out, most blogs that post more than once a day give me blog fatigue, honest. I have dropped some and am considering dropping a few more simply because they exhaust me too much. I think there is such a thing as posting too frequently…


  2. Ahh… that would be why I'm sort of happy about my restricted access at work. No FB, twitter, G+ etc behind the work door. In one sense, I think it's a little old fashioned but tbh, I don't “need” it at work.

    All this makes it easier for me not to spend too much time… although, when I add up the hours, I realise that I spend too much to be comfortable. I've started cutting down solid on weekends. trying to avoid internet and emails etc from Friday to Mon morning. After the first days of panic feelings “I'm missing out” it turned out better. I mean, if it's really something important, it's either going to be repeated so you'll notice it or there will be texts/phone calls or similar things.

    (at least I hope so)

    And one last thing, this would be my main reasoning for NOT having a smart phone/IPhone whatever. I would love it, I'm sure. But I'd be roaming the internet all the time “since I could do it” since I'm slightly addicted to it…. 🙂


  3. It all goes back to “balance” doesn't it? When some area of my life feels “out of balance” I know it's time to back off. I gave up going to FB — I'd rather have meaningful communication with those I know and love and if someone in the periphery wants to PM me with critical news that's fine — I'm still on there, I'm just not actively going there.
    I prioritize my blogs in my bookmark folder and start with my faves and read/comment until the time I've allocated for that is up.
    I do check email on my phone when I'm in “wait mode” because it means I am using that time when I can't do anything else so that I don't have to check mail later. And I find on busy days that checking email morning, noon and night is plenty often enough to make sure that I'm up -to-date on work/personal relationships.
    I think the best thing you can do is take a computer “fast” day once/week and figure out what it was you really missed — usually far less than you think!


  4. “How do you keep your internet use in check?”


    I've got better, actually, just through the novelty of some things wearing off. And I've found that G+ is drastically reducing the amount of time I spend on Twitter, which was previously my biggest time sink. But I haven't replaced all that time with G+; I think I'm on there maybe less than half as much as I was on Twitter? And I now only check FB for 5 minutes or so once or twice a day. I guess consolidating as much activity as possible into one place really helps!


  5. As you can see, I tend toward an all-or-nothing approach. Once the computer is on, it's easy to lose the entire day in it. For me, it's easier not to turn it on at all. And the more days I don't turn it on, the easier it is not to . . . but then I miss it, miss something, when I'm not here. So . . . good question.


  6. Oh, I also don't have a smart/i phone. That would just be the end for me, I would never be able to take any distance . . .


  7. I am not on Facebook, and doubt I'll ever spend much time there even if I ever get on. I don't like their privacy policies, so I don't think I'd want to use it for anything of substance. But I could be wrong.

    I use blogs at work in two ways: (1) as a “brain cleanser” between tasks. In this case, my visits are short- I maybe read a post or two, or check in on a comment thread I've been following. (2) As a longer break at lunch time. In this case, I might spend 15 minutes clicking around, while I eat. (I usually work through lunch, so that I can leave earlier at the end of the day.)

    At home, I mostly blog at night, while I'm waiting for my 4 year old to transition from going to sleep (and therefore sometimes calling for me) to being asleep. I sometimes keep going a bit after she's asleep, but then it is like a replacement for TV- which I almost never watch.

    I check Twitter occasionally at both places, but don't really care if I miss anything. I figure if it is important I'll hear about it from somewhere else.

    I check email frequently both places, and don't feel bad about that.

    I can definitely have bad phases at work, where I surf too much. But usually, I am busy enough that I can't let that go on for too long. If I'm having a hard time snapping out of it, I write myself a daily to do list, and won't let myself go look at any blogs until I cross X number of things off the list.

    The way I see it, your online time is only a problem if it is getting in the way of something you'd rather be doing, or impacting your productivity at work. If it isn't, I wouldn't worry about it.


  8. the fact alone that I am commenting here … I cannot keep myself in check!
    the only thing that works for me is disconnecting from the internet altogether.


  9. GMP – I think blogs are my biggest downfall. I like reading all (okay, most) the blogs I follow, and commenting on most as well. I agree there are probably some I could cut out and that there is such a thing as posting too much. That can be tiring. I hope you find some of the other suggestions useful!

    Chall – I’m not sure if restricted access at work would help me or just make it worse because then I’d spend more time at home checking things! LOL! Good for you for cutting weekends out! I do have a smart phone, but I don’t have 3G, so I can only use it when I have access to wireless. I don’t actually use it that much.

    Wool Free – I like your thoughts about FB. It might be time for me to pull away from it in that sense. A fast day is also a good idea! Thanks!

    Cath – It’s nice to hear that G+ is working so well for you! My problem is that I still don’t have too many people on there, so I check both FB and G+ 😛

    Adrienne – yeah, it’s definitely tough to balance it sometimes! Like I said to Chall, I do have a smartphone, but I don’t have 3G so I can only use those functions when I have access to wireless. I don’t use it much for web surfing and stuff.

    Cloud – I use blogs in the same way you do. So, I don’t feel too guilty about it. I also don’t feel guilty about checking my email constantly. You saying “…your online time is only a problem if it is getting in the way of something you'd rather be doing, or impacting your productivity at work” made me think. It’s not impacting my productivity at work, because I use it for small brain breaks or on lunch. However, I do think it gets in the way of things I’d rather be doing at home. Sometimes I realize that my online time is taking time away from my “real” hobbies – like knitting and reading – that I would much rather be doing. I think I get into the lowest energy state problem, which involves sitting on the couch with my computer, rather than doing something a bit more productive.

    Nina – that seems to be a common solution! I might choose a day to disconnect. Or even a time during the day (like, no online time after 8pm or something).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: