So I took four days away from the Internet, peeps, although I’ll confess I didn’t achieve complete abstinence. I expected a few e-mail messages that were timely, so I checked that. I may have ventured into Twitter just to see if anyone talked about me (not really, sniff), but aside from that, I spent less than ten minutes on-line in the last four days.
What did I discover?
- 1. I really needed that break. Really. Although self-inflicted, I’d gotten to the point where monitoring all the social media sites I participate in had become a job of its own. My fingers had become like the little girl’s feet in The Red Shoes fable — tap-tap-tapping away in joyless participation.
- Because my mind buzzed with externally derived ideas, I had no space for those of my own making. Now I realize I don’t have that many original thoughts, but the few I do are precious to me. In fact, I’d kinda like to capture them in writing, which leads to my next point…
- When I cut the electronic umbilical cord, almost instantly, my characters voices grew louder, I captured a plot bunny, and my word count improved.
- Mayhap it’s coincidence, but I read two novels in less than two days. Of more significance, I enjoyed them.
All this leads me to understand that I need to set more boundaries about my Internet use. Much as I realize I may be shooting myself in the foot by encouraging you all to be elsewhere, rather than here, reading my blog, I thought I’d share a few ideas about what I’m going to try. I’d love if you’d add to the list.
Ways to enhance productivity but maintain connectivity:
- Write on paper and pen: Often my best words and ideas come before I’m in my office and when I go low-tech. I’m going to wake a little earlier to get a page or two in before I turn on the computer.
- Use time on the Internet as a reward for productivity in other arenas.
- Set a timer, so my Internet rewards don’t turn into the main event.
- Respect my peak writing times: This is a big one for me. I know there are times of the day my brain works at the level of original thought, and other times I’d be lucky to be able to edit so much as an apostrophe without effing it up. Unfortunately, I haven’t always set up my schedule to reflect my body’s requirements. I’m going to be more conscious about that.
- Consider having the ToolMaster unhook our modem during peak writing times: I can’t always go the low tech route, but whenever my writing gets stuck, it’s all-too-easy to distract myself with something connected to writing – although technically not writing – on-line. Even if I only take a two-minute break, it disrupts my train of thought. In this case, the damage to my progress far exceeds the quantity of time.
I’ve tried purchasing software, such as Freedom, which uses a program to disable the modem for a specified period of time. Alas, through complete fluke, I’ve found how to defeat it with no inconvenience to myself. What will inconvenience me, however, is the need to go into the basement so I can determine how to compensate for a missing cable. That’s just more effort than I’m going to provide.
- Consider designating Saturdays as an off-line day. If all the above don’t prove fruitful, I’ll have to designate one day a week to reset my priorities.
How about you? Any tips or techniques you’ve found to keep yourself firmly in the driver’s seat of Internet use?