Spending Less Time on the Internet

I had been searching for quite some time for some help in spending less time on the internet. For others with more gadgets than me, this means spending less time using technology in general. I finally found it and it’s a free document.

focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction

focus

Download the free version here (PDF document).

This will not only help you to come up with strategies, but he tells you why you do certain things, like why receiving email is gratifying–so that we check it more and more, why we let ourselves get constantly interrupted, or even initiate the interruption etc. These are helpful things to know.

There are also many more materials that cost, which may very well be worth it if time is money for you and you need more help with focusing on writing or other creative tasks. (I have no affiliation. I just happened to find this resource.)

This is something that’s important to me, because although I learn a lot from things found on the internet, have developed valuable relationships and read a few helpful blogs etc., it’s better for me to spend more of my time reading the Bible and especially books written by excellent authors. Spending time with the Bible isn’t as difficult. It’s too important. But spending time more reading and less time piddling around on the internet is very important. It affects how well I get to know God and how well I get to know the Bible. The internet can only take me so far and there are too many roads that lead to nowhere.

The problem isn’t just what we are doing with our time; it’s what we are NOT doing with it. Where does all the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and television and radio actually come from? Try keeping track of the time spent on all of these for a week. (See a blog I posted last year for some ideas and a PDF sheet you can print and use.) You may be stunned at the time you are spending on them. If you simply cut the time in half and asked God what He wants you to do with the other half it could have a revolutionary impact on your life.

My point isn’t that it’s wrong to tweet or Facebook or use the internet. I do, and I think it’s time well spent (partly because it’s really not much time and partly because of the opportunity to have some Christ-centered influence). All the time-users I’ve mentioned can have their place, but they can also become time-wasters, and often downright addictions.

Randy Alcorn

HT: Take Your Vitamin Z

I’ve taken a day off from the internet and other technology to see what would happen and I had no epiphany. I’ve read the same from others. What’s more important and much more difficult for many of us is to cut ourselves off from these things for a significant amount of time each day, whenever that time is, if we’re serious about reading or writing or whatever other non-technology activity we want to do. If we’re using an iPad to read or to write, obviously this would take even more discipline. There are free computer programs for writing that will just show you a blank screen and the text. Some even have a typewriter sound.

I don’t want to let this post go much farther and keep you from what you were doing, so here are some things I personally found helpful.

  • Don’t check your email very frequently, unless it’s vital to stay in contact with clients in that way.
  • When writing/replying to friends via email, try to pick certain times of the day, if not once a day, and not every time you receive a message if you often have access to email.
  • When checking your RSS feed for blog posts, don’t look at any that have less than 2 or 3 posts, unless it’s a major blog that has a major post every once in a while. If a blog only has one post, let it go until there are more. You will spend your time more efficiently. Check them once or maybe twice a day and then close your RSS program or browser tab that has your feed. If you’re not into blogs, that may be a good thing.
  • Don’t reply to blogs, Facebook statuses, etc. unless you think it’s of value to you or them to spend the time, and that you know you want to spend the time looking through email messages of replies from others. Ask yourself before you reply if this is really that important. That’s not to say you should be ruthless and cut yourself off from your online friends or let a friend’s blog post go without any replies.

Someone is wrong on the internet

This quest and this post have been a long time in coming. I’ve improved but have a lot of room for more. I hope it helps someone.

Also see:

6 Responses to “Spending Less Time on the Internet”


  1. 1 Michael

    I’m currently finding myself doing more reading and have watched less tv than usual. I think reformed theology is addictive. In the last one year i have more or less found myself getting one or two books per month. Just ordered ‘The Institutes’ Im loving my bible. Wish a day had 26 hours!Lol.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    My wife and I watch TV less now than we used to also. I probably read about the same but still want more. I want to read the Institutes later next year.
    Jeff

  3. 3 Nancy

    Hmmm…Reading the book seem kinda like using a bunch of 3 x 5 cards to help get organized…If you were disciplined enough to write the cards, they probably weren’t necessary…*; )

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    I hope you wouldn’t write out cards in this day and age but who knows, it may help you remember. I probably wouldn’t write them out either.
    Jeff

  5. 5 Nathan W. Bingham

    Really helpful reflections, and some great resources linked Jeff. I’ve grabbed that PDF. Now I just need to shut down Facebook so I can find the time to read it. 😉

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    I’m glad you like it. Thanks.
    Jeff

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