* Entertainment part of it.
For the last 3-4 months, I haven’t used** internet for entertainment - watching movies, news websites or time vacuums like Medium or Reddit.
Whenever someone hears about it, you can see curiosity and fear running in their eyes. No internet, no Instagram? How? Why? What the hell… So this post is just a brief overview of why I’m doing it how it affects me. Overall the experience is great, and I totally recommend it.
** Except when I had the flu I had Amazon Videos playing non-stop.
I want to do a lot of stuff, and list of personal projects grow each week, but I constantly complain that I don’t have enough time to do anything. In reality, we all have the same number of hours each day, but some people accomplish more. I’m not saying they do so because they don’t use the internet, yet for me, it’s a major factor. A few months ago my wife told me she’ll take a no internet for entertainment challenge for a month, I decided to support her and joined as well, and we still continue keep this challenge 4 months later.
Internet is highly addictive and the sites like Facebook do anything possible to keep you browse endlessly so you keep seeing the ads more often. Giving up on all the trash sites is hard, the first week I remember I was walking from side to side in the bedroom because I simply had no idea it’d be so hard.
I’ve noticed that some things were automated. Opening Facebook or Reddit was a such a quick action that sometimes I wonder how I ended up there. In reality, once you open a new tab in the browser, your fingers start typing one of these websites straight away… Breaking these habits was the hardest part. Luckily I had a few unfinished books, so I kept myself distracted by reading them, and these books were completed in less than a week.
It gets better
After the first month, it was a lot better, you don’t need to go to these websites anymore, you don’t waste time on YouTube or Netflix and you shift the attention to other things. I realised that I had a huge backlog of things I needed to do and kept focusing on them. It’s true that you get much more time, but you hardly notice it as it’s constantly filled in with chores and other small things.
Also, we’ve decided that if we don’t want to break down one day and be consumed by all the missed blog posts, updates, etc. we need to do cheat days - one day a month to browse the web watch movies, etc. Initially, it sounded like a good idea, but I felt really bad the next day even during some of the cheat days that I am wasting a lot of time and don’t get anything back… So right now I’m limiting my cheat days to just a few hours.
More time is the most obvious benefit, but as I’ve mentioned earlier, sometimes you don’t notice it that much. So instead of being constantly consumed by the screen you actually observe what’s going on around. It’s really visible when you have more blocks, for example in the evenings. Instead of crashing on the couch and browsing endlessly you can do more meaningful things.
Productivity skyrocketed as the main source of distractions was successfully blocked and avoided.
Less anxiety is probably the other biggest benefit that I’ve observed. Mainly, it’s connected with the fact that after you spend some time on the web you can feel bad that you are wasting time, but you only notice it post factum, when you realise the time has gone nowhere.
Better sleep since I don’t use the screen just before going to bed, whereas previously browsing the web or even watching a movie and falling asleep were completely normal.
Don’t get me wrong, you still can waste time even if you don’t use internet for entertainment, but eliminating the major source of distractions is a huge win.
I’ve also noticed that other people are very consumed by the media - either checking Facebook in the office, reaching for the phone every second or neighbour watching Netflix every single evening.
You don’t know what’s going on in the world… You might know the high level as you still see newsstands and hear others’ talking, but that’s it… After some time you don’t even have a fear of missing out because you understand that if you’ve managed to ignore this noise for the last few months, missing something won’t make much difference.
Would you like to try?
If anything above clicked with you, just try it for 30 days. The first week is the hardest, but it’s getting easier as you go. You’d actually start to wonder if you want to use internet for entertainment after this challenge…