lots of thinking after last week’s post about online usage. I find in myself a reluctance to start a huge new initiative, to ‘control’ yet another aspect of my life. some really helpful comments, thank you!

what I think I established (by writing the blog post, online) is that what was driving me most bat-shit crazy was my tendency to check my phone constantly. and that what I needed was a bright-line rule for that, for a start.

so…. for the last week I have been pretending that I do not have a smartphone. so if I want to go online, I have to use the laptop, sitting visibly at my office desk. and I have signed up on my laptop for rescuetime.com, a website that tracks your online usage, to see how much time I in fact spend online, and where – gulp….

I haven’t been deliberately restricting my online usage, other than the practicalities of not being able to sit at my desk all day and get some work done.

this only applies when I am at or near to home (which I am, nearly all the time). if I am out and about my iphone magically regains its internet access πŸ˜‰

the rescuetime.com website is free and pretty easy to use. I can disable it for 15 minutes or an hour if I need to spend online time for work purposes, so those time slots aren’t counted. and it’s really handy because I don’t have to think about how to track the time. I really didn’t want to write time down in a notebook every moment I went online – too reminiscent of those heart-breaking moderation notebooks. I can check the dashboard if I wantΒ to see how much time I’ve spent, and they also send me an email once a week summarising my activity.

so how did this go? well, it felt very odd on Monday. on Tuesday I was out all day so new rules did not apply. on Wednesday I was very, VERY scratchy. it just felt ridiculous not to be able to check my phone in the school pickup queue, or while my husband made a cup of tea. and I don’t think I would have been able to combine this step with any overall deliberate constriction of total online time. as it was I realised how often I was having those “oh, I’ll just check…” moments.

just check, or just check out? yeah, yeah, I know. checking out of the moment which I was in was very often the urge that I realised I was surfing. and I am familiar with that process, of inserting the pause, from all the work I’ve already done. (there’s a great article here about urge surfing – good stuff in the comments, too.)

so I surfed, last week. and it wasn’t too bad. a bit annoying, at worst.

life’s a beach, after all.

and the totals are now in for the last week… and just to say that these are MY totals and everyone has their own number in their heads that feels like the right amount or too much or what the HELL are you doing, sister, time to get back to reality lickety split. so no judgement in either direction please and not looking for reassuring comments that this is fine…

73 hours.

ha ha. joke.

actually 12 hours and 5 minutes. which as I was out for one day in that week makes an average of 2 hours per day. which actually, as a completely accurate and full figure, doesn’t seem too bad, to me. interestingly the rescuetime programme has an initial goal to set to limit use of non-productive websites, which is – two hours.

as Anne rightly says, it is the individual’s choice of how to spend their free time. as long as that is the best use of my time, knowingly chosen and spent, that’s fine.

I’ll be keeping to the no-mobile-internet for a while, to see how it goes. to see how it affects me and my total online usage. perhaps I’ll report back once in a while. I might end up trying to limit total usage if I think that’s helpful. I’m not tied to that, yet. we’ll see. and I’m not saying anyone else should do anything other than what suits the individual – the soberverse saved my bacon via my mobile SO many times, and I wouldn’t be without it.

actually, I started second from the left πŸ™‚

have a fab week, sober compadres! Prim xx

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