The Internet can be a valuable resource for education and fun, but how much is too much? Why can’t people stop? Here are some tips to help you quit staring at the computer screen and get out and do something productive offline as well as online.
- Figure out how bad it really is. Take the quiz below, adding up every time you answered “yes”. Tally up your points and evaluate:
- 0-5: Great information coping skills. What’s your secret? Please share some tips.
- 6-10: You have some good skills and a few bad habits. Analyze what’s working and not working and fix it.
- 11-15: You need help. You need to change your mindset and acquire some more information skills.
- 16-20: It may be too late. Turn off the computer now! You need total immersion.
- Do not feel bad about not reading the digital avalanche of email, blog posts, or web content. You’ll never be “caught up” and that’s okay. Get what you can get in an reasonable amount of time and don’t worry about the rest. The important information will rise to the top. Don’t feel guilty about marking everything as read or using the delete button. It can be your best friend.
- Don’t read everything word for word. Scanning and pattern recognition is a really important skill to have when you need to look at a lot of information. Don’t feel that you have to read every blog post of the blogs you’re tracking. It helps if you identify what you need to know before drinking from the fire hydrant.
- Set time limits. Determine the appropriate amount of online time.
- Set a frequency for answering blog comments via email, doing outreach, reading blogs, writing posts and other tasks. Set the time of day to check in and a time limit – this is called time boxing. Stick to it; ignore your blog, email, or Twitter until those magic times. The idea is that you don’t have to check your email or respond to Twitter or blog posts in real time. Remember to sort and prioritize what is urgent and what is not.
- Some parental control software includes time control functions that empowers to set the amount of time that a person may spend accessing the Internet or playing games or other computer activities. With programs like EzInternetTimer or TimeUpKidz, you can easily enforce time limits.
- Know when to turn the computer off and take a walk. It is important to carve out patches of time to allow for understanding and processing the information you have consumed. This might mean disconnecting electronically on purpose. A scary thought to some, but yes, power down your computer and gadgets and go for a walk. If you feel you have lost your concentration and productivity, it may be due to the stress that you give yourself by staring at a monitor for too long.
- When you open your email client, does it make you feel anxious about the work that you don’t have time to do?
- Do you open your email in the morning before making a prioritized to do list and several hours later forget what it was in the first place you wanted to accomplish today?
- Do you frequently forget information you need to know?
- Do you ever wish the web or social media would just go away?
- Do you have email messages sitting in your inbox more than 6 months old that are “pending” further action or unread?
- Do you sometimes wish you could read or type faster?
- Do you experience frustration at the amount of electronic information you need to process daily?
- Do you sit at your computer for longer than an hour at a time without getting up to take a break?
- Do you constantly check (even in the bathroom) your email, Twitter or other online service because you are afraid that if you don’t, you will become so far behind that you will never catch up?
- Is the only time you’re off line is when you are sleeping?
- Do you feel that you often cannot concentrate?
- Are you subscribed to so many blogs that you can’t read them and it makes you feel bad?
- Do you feel that you have to read word for word all information that comes into your email box or RSS reader or Twitter?
- Are you always seeking out additional information from the Internet or friends online to support a decision or complete a project but never processing it all?
- Do you get anxious if you are away from the Internet for too long?
- Do you open up multiple tabs in your browser and then forget what you were going to do?
- Is your email, google docs or hard drive filled with “virtual piles” of information or “drafts” that haven’t been processed?
- Are you afraid to delete email or old files because you’re afraid you might just need it someday?
- Are you unable to locate electronic documents, blog posts, email messages or other online information that you need in the moment without wasting time playing “find the file”?
- Do you find yourself easily distracted by online resources that allow you to avoid other, pending work?
- Drinking lots of water will not only help force you to get up from your desk, but will also keep you hydrated. And when you take a break, don’t take your iPhone with you!
- Buy software to help monitor and even constrain your online time. Parental control software can do this but you will need to make the administrator password inaccessible. Have someone else set the password for you, so settings can be changed in the future.
- Whatever you’re doing on a computer, you should stretch every 15 to 20 minutes to keep from cramping up.
- Many online games aka MMORPG such as World of Warcraft are addicting so try to avoid anything on the computer than takes up more than 1 hour of your time.
- Try to limit your time inside of your house.
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Stop Spending Too Much Time Online. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.