Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Senior Mindset Book

Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

Senior Engineer Mindset cover
Learn more

    The end of my internet diet experiment

    This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners...

    Just over a month ago I went on an internet diet that would practically cut me off the world as I know it. The deal was no internet except for an hour every evening, or when it was absolutely necessary for reasons of work or school.

    A week ago that diet ended.

    It is no coincidence that it's taken me a week to put myself together enough to write this post. Partially an insane month of exams is to blame, partially just that I could once more frolick on the wide internets like a madman and in part it's simply due to the fact I had to remember what life online was like so I could make a comparison at all.

    A month is a long long time.

    How it went

    The most surprising discovery was that going almost without the internet for a month was surprisingly easy. At first I was really draconian to myself, but towards the end I have to admit everything started slipping a bit, mostly when I discovered I needed the IRC channel with my classmates to study effectively.

    Sure, at first not being able to mindlessly wander the wastelands whenever I had a moment of free time felt like I was missing an arm, a leg and half an eyeball. Eventually though the compulsive need to open a browser with a useless website I didn't really care about went away and I discovered something surprising.

    The internet is a really boring place.

    Once you're not online all the freaking time there's really not much to do. I would let myself do anything I wanted for an hour every evening and most of the time I was done in half an hour. There was simply nothing more to look at.

    There wasn't enough time to give every news item a thorough read, and there was no news item interesting enough to sacrifice a part of my precious hour to. Just wasn't. So after I was done with reading my comics, responding to email, twitter and facebook, checking out my favourite forum ... I was at a loss about doing anything more.

    So I just didn't. Sometimes my hour online would end in 20 minutes. It very rarely managed to captivate my attention for a whole hour.

    The annoying part was how as soon as I was back home from the US, all my little pomodoro breaks that I used to fill with the internet, started getting filled with television. Which is arguably even worse than my old habit of mindlessly wasting time. This leads me to believe that my brain needs a certain level of mindless entertainment ... for what purpose, I don't know.

    A really big issue was the lack of my ability to communicate with anyone since I haven't had a phone for almost a year. I know for a fact I was seriously annoying to some people because they couldn't share lulzy stuff with me anymore (because they blatantly told me so). Taking a day to respond to certain things was simply too much and I did eventually start making exceptions on twitter for when I was meeting someone for coffee or whatever and arrangements had to be made.

    The "good habits"

    Of course as soon as the diet ended it didn't take long for me to start mindless refreshing email clients, facebook, twitter, hackernews ... it's a really stupid habit and apparently very easy to get into.

    But it's ultimately useless. The amount of time I spend mindlessly refreshing to hopefully catch a peek of something interesting in relation to how much time I actually spend reading anything or clicking links is insane. I probably spend ten times as long looking for that one thing to pique my interest than I do acting on content (sharing, reading, replying etc.).

    In that regard the internet is seriously annoying. Pulls you in like a drug, wastes all your time and doesn't give anything back in return. The internet does not love me as much as I do her.

    Therefore I think it's time to establish some new ground rules for my life online. It's not a diet, but hopefully a set of rules I can live by in the long term.

    1. 20 minutes to half an hour of The Internet in the morning to start my day
    2. An hour of The Internet around lunchtime
    3. An hour of The Internet in the evening

    Everything else goes the same as in my diet month. This should give me enough daily timeslots to actually give some stuff a read instead of just looking for that one perfect news item I would dare spend time on. And it should also be enough timeslots to respond to any email or twitter communications in need of my attention.

    Then again, some say even this new set of rules is too annoying for them, so maybe the point is just to avoid snacking the internet and go online whenever I have at least half an hour of free time. Make it a proper meal so to say.

    Enhanced by Zemanta

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Published on September 26th, 2011 in diets, Health, Online Communities, Social Networking, Twitter, Uncategorized,

    Senior Mindset Book

    Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

    Learn more

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help πŸ‘‰ swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers πŸ‘‰ ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Want to brush up on modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❀️

    Created by Swizec with ❀️