Addicted to the computer

I have just read a very interesting post on The Weekly Review. Chris Bowler describes his addiction to his computer and the internet. He now abstains every Sunday and describes the sense of freedom this has given him.

This has really struck a chord with me. Over the last few weeks I have come to realise I have a problem with the computer. Since it is a Mac it is never turned off – it just sleeps and is available within a second of a click of the spacebar. So it is very easy to quickly check emails, the weather forecast, blog stats or RSS feeds while I’m passing. But then I’ll find something else interesting to click on and next thing I know half an hour (or often longer) has passed. I’m so easily distracted by the computer that tasks I should be doing definitely suffer. And here’s me trying to improve my productivity!

I have started to try and make changes. After listening to Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero talk a few weeks ago I set Apple Mail to check for new emails once an hour rather than every five minutes. And I’ve set NetNewsWire to refresh my RSS feeds every 4 hours rather than half-hourly. I made a decision I would make myself wait for the little red circles to appear in my dock and not allow myself to manually check emails and feeds. It’s worked rather well and I certainly feel better for it.

But I still spend a awful lot of my time sitting at the computer. My six year old son tells me it’s a “bad habit” and he’s right! But it’s a compulsion. I feel irritable if I don’t regularly browse the internet and play with my various apps (Things and Moneydance being the current favourites). Sometimes I don’t have anything particular I’m needing to do on the computer but I find myself sitting here thinking “there must be something I can do on it” rather than going and doing something productive. It really is a problem.

So you can see why I found Chris Bowler’s post so interesting. I really like the idea of trying what he has done and give myself a day a week when I don’t allow myself to touch the computer or my iPhone. Sundays are no use as that is when I do my weekly review and need access to Things. And weekdays are out as there is way too much happening out there to miss! So Saturday it is. I’ll start this week and post an update of how it went on Sunday. (My family are never going to believe it when I tell them what I plan to do!)

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3 Responses to “Addicted to the computer”

  1. Tina Russell Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Tina Russell

  2. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Thanks Tina. That’s very kind of you!

  3. Chris Says:

    Good for you Rachel. Don’t be surprised at how hard that first day is. But keep it going—it’s worth it in the end.


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