this feels a bit daft, blogging about spending less time online. but for the record, and for accountability, yada yada yada…

what I’m trying at the moment is to create blocks of time where I don’t go online AT ALL. the received wisdom is that first thing in the morning should be one of those blocks. that if you start the day online you will stay online. well, I tried that, for a week or so, and I could do it, but I missed it. and it is the only time of day when I reliably get uninterrupted time. so I am not making first thing in the morning a no-go zone, at the moment.

so my offline time slots today were roughly

– from 7am till 1pm
– from 2.30pm until after supper (usually 7.30 pm)
– from 10pm onwards.

as I am in bed at around 10.30pm, and asleep from 11pm till 6am, this gives me offline time slots of 19 hours and online time slots of a maximum of 5 hours. which doesn’t mean that I will spend all that time online!

where I am already trying to stretch these boundaries: getting twitchy from 4pm onwards, when I am tired, and family members getting home later than expected for supper. couldn’t I make it 6.30pm? no, I couldn’t. making supper tonight while stirring several pans at once, I kept getting urges to check my phone – what the actual fuck?! when I am COOKING???!!!!

I’d luckily already taken the decision some time ago to leave my phone downstairs at bedtime (Belle’s excellent advice) so not having it very first or very last thing isn’t an issue for me.

have decided texts don’t count. or messenger. or taking photos on my phone. (or phonecalls, obv. because that is actually what the damn thing is for.) I looked up a recipe, too, at 6pm. I’m not sure how looking things up fits into this whole thing.

I don’t watch a great deal of television in the evening – to be honest I get bored after much more than an hour – so that’s not an issue for me as far as screen time goes – although of course if I am online in the evening, like now, then I am not with my nearest and dearest on the sofa 😦

I am pleased to report that I didn’t go onto FB today until 8.10pm and having checked outside it would appear that the world is still spinning on its axis 😉 and also when I did – guess what? nothing much was happening! sigh.

I am also prioritising the type of time I spend online. writing my own blog and writing to sober penpals, are highest on the list. and then reading and commenting on other’s blogs. facebook, forums, and what Mished called blogcrawling – mindlessly clicking about – is right down there at the end. I hope this will help me be more intentional about the time I do spend online, so that what’s important to me doesn’t get squeezed out by what’s less important.

I don’t want to opt out of online relationships, and I am quite anxious that by writing about it here I will cause upset, or resentment, in those reading it who may well have different priorities, or feel that I am ungratefully withdrawing from this community which has helped me so much. that is absolutely not my intention! and yes, I am a worrywart 😉

because I am not anti-internet usage, at all. here’s a great article by Mark Manson on how we live in an attention economy, and reminding us of its advantages.

the title of this post is taken from a quote from the American political scientist Herbert A. Simon. he said – in 1970!:

“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

that’s what I’m trying to do – allocate my attention, whilst appreciating the wealth available to me. do you remember the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves? in it, Ali Baba’s elder brother, Cassim, tricks Ali Baba into revealing the secret password needed to get into the cave. but once Cassim is inside, in his greed and excitement over the treasure he has found, he forgets the password to get out, and is discovered and murdered by the thieves.

‘Cassim in the cave’, Maxwell Parrish, 1909.

I am hoping that I can still remember how to say, “Open, Sesame!” 

enjoy your weekend, sober warriors! and mind those scimitars, they can be pointy 😉 Prim xx