New Years Resolution: Get Off the Internet!

It’s pretty embarrassing how much time I spend online. Even if I am not sitting in front of my laptop, my iPhone is always next to me to alert me of any new social media happenings. I’ve always wanted to dedicate one day a week to being technology-free, but with my job and living “alone,” it isn’t very practical. Often, I’ll receive an email from my boss that asks if I can whip up a blog post to be published the next day. Imagine if I didn’t receive that until the next morning? Or what if I left my phone at home and my car breaks down or I need to urgently contact someone? Even though technology may be mind-numbing at times, it also does some good, too.

I’ve decided to translate this “technology-free” dream into a “technology-reduced” reality. When I think about my time spent online, I do spend a fair amount preparing blogs for work or scouting out apartments in Portland, but I also spend several hours per week on Facebook, Tumblr, and my favorite forum. Is this needed? Nope. Especially since I am not actively engaging with anyone, but mindlessly reading their updates. Think of all the other things I could be doing! 

To kickstart this resolution, I installed two FREE Safari extensions (a fancy name for little apps you can install to your browser; i.e. Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox). The first one is called RescueTime. It quietly monitors your every activity on the internet and categorizes your actions as “productive” or “distracting” based on the labels you create for websites. Then, it lets you review the past month, week, or day. I’ve been using it for about a week and I’m pretty impressed at how “productive” I’ve been without trying! However, I am equally ashamed that I’ve spent almost an entire DAY on the internet! That’s 1/7th of my entire week!

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The second extension is called WasteNoTime and it allows you to set up a list of “blocked” and “allowed” sites. Then, you can choose how many minutes per day you’re allowed to spend on the blocked sites. I wanted to ease myself into the goal of an hour per day, so I am starting off with an easy three hours and twenty minutes. It notifies you when you have 30 minutes remaining on the blocked sites. You can even set up a “time range” within the blocked sites will not be accessible – perfect for when you’re at work or if you want to spend the next hour distraction free!

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What will I do with all of this free time? Improve my cooking, read more (I got a great book from my mom’s friend Tiffanny titled “How to Live a Jewish Life!”), and make crafts! Yesterday I spent a few hours making a magnetic makeup board so I can keep my sink clutter-free! My next task is to paint and assemble a hanging necklace rack. I’m determined to make my apartment the coolest one ever! 

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