Before I sat down to write this I thought for a long while about what I was going to say, and I suddenly found my mental blogging turning this post into a book review for The Shallows: what the Internet is doing to our Brains which isn't really what I wanted for this particular blog, so I will simply say this: I found the book to be both compelling and fascinating, and I encourage you very much to read it. I minored in psychology (amongst other things) in college and the explanations of how the internet changes our neural pathways and memory making capacity was simply astounding. And convicting. Convicting enough that I am taking some small changes I was implementing and deciding to take further steps. Read it.
It took some time but I had to determine what it really was that I wanted from my time online:
- access to relevant information, especially in regards to home school
- communication with friends who I do not often see face to face
- reading blogs of people with similar interests
- Current news (we have no television )
These are the four things I really want from the internet, but they are not the things on which I was spending the most time, or even much time at all. Clearly, some behavioral alignment needed to be made.
These are the changes I have implemented, or am in the process of implementing:
- When I am online, I have only one or two relevant windows open at a time rather than clicking back and forth from window to window inundating myself with information and social media ( technological multi-tasking) I am focusing on one thing at a time. This helps me write blogs faster and more concisely. It helps me give full attention to email conversations. It helps me concentrate if I am reading blogs. No more jumping around.
- I drastically reduced my RSS feeds. I got rid of blogs that haven't updated in six months or more. Blogs with shallow content (lists, memes, Daily diary entries). I kept blogs of personal friends and blogs who cover topics relevant to me (currently my list are minimalism and Compassion writing heavy, but these are areas of focus for me right now)
- I plan the girls school and make sure everything is printed at the beginning of the week. No more falling prey to catching up on Facebook while this assignment prints and then getting around to the assignment 30 minutes later.
- I am in the process of deleting facebook altogether. For me, this is necessary. It's okay if you don't. This is my list, and I have to. I am still on Google plus, but for right now Google plus is slower, more private and way more simple in its lay out and function (the amount of media distraction per page is a problem for me, Google has very little of that)
- This week I will be working on implementing scheduled computer times--which won't be in the morning or during school hours.
As I said before, I think the internet is a great tool, but I want it to be just that..a tool. Meaning I want to work effectively for me and not me acting slavishly for it. I want my life to be focused on the things that matter to me, not simply crammed in between times I waste mindlessly surfing and drifting. We all have a certain number of hours everyday. I've lost too many of mine. I'm not wasting any more.