Internet, computers, and smartphones are so addictive that we tend to use them all day long and experiencing problems, we get angry in case of any Internet outages. We can call this an addiction. Personally, I had so much struggle with the over usage of technical stuff that I needed some break.
The main problem: addiction
Okay, probably I don’t have to explain the main problem too long. I will show the problem with my personal experiences.
Back in 2004, when I was 11 an average day looked like this for me:
- On weekdays I woke up in the early morning and went to primary school. I arrived home at 1-2 in the afternoon… aaaand here comes the problem: just before lunch or doing anything else more important I turned on my computer. I was strongly addicted to computer and Internet. I sat there till dinner and then once again till sleeping.
- On weekends I woke up later but the scenario was almost the same. Just without school. Basically, I was just going away from the computer to eat and use the toilet.
Okay, so still in 2004, my parents organized a trip to Sousse, Tunisia on that summer. I had to spend a whole week without computers and Internet connectivity (back in those days we didn’t have smartphones and public places didn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity). Although I really enjoyed the travel experience, when that “lifelong” one week has passed and arrived at home… What do you think, what did I do first when arrived at home? Of course, I turned on my computer.
At that time, I wasn’t able to really enjoy unplugging myself from the Internet. I was too addicted, just like most of the people nowadays. This is a sad thing.
A lot of years passed since then. I’ve become a web programmer, so I used computers and Internet as a tool for earning money. I was still sitting all day long at my workplace at the computer. But when I arrived at home I didn’t have the mood to turn on my laptop anymore. It was a good start.
I quit my work in 2017 so I didn’t have to sit behind the monitor anymore all day long. For the reasons why did I quit my job and why you should do so, click here, I already explained it.
Experiment: Cutting myself off from the Internet for a few days
I wanted to “heal” from this addiction. Traveling was a good opportunity because if my life isn’t boring and I walk around new places I can forget about the online world.
So as a new experiment I tried to cut myself off from the Internet for a few days. Did it work? Yes, and no. I explain it below why.
The first day I deleted almost all apps from my iPhone (to be honest it wasn’t that hard because when I quit my work I had to switch back to my old iPhone 3GS which isn’t well supported anymore). I didn’t want to throw away the phone and leave it at home because what if there is an emergency and I need to call an ambulance or whatever. But I deleted all distracting applications, put the phone in airplane mode. I only used it to check the time.
I put my laptop away because I was more heavily addicted to that. I didn’t even want to see it. To be exactly correct I wanted to see and use it, but as the part of this experiment, I put it away in an unseen location in the flat.
So, I started the experiment… At first, it was easy. I went on hiking to the closest hills so I didn’t really think about my computer and the Internet.
When I have arrived at home I wanted to check emails and whether a friend has sent me a message on Facebook. This was the first harder moment but then I started to read a marketing related book and my addiction faded away.
The first day was too easy to be true…
I think the second day was the hardest. I used to check Facebook every few minutes whether some of my friends have written. I really missed this. I didn’t scroll through the news feed anymore because I am using Facebook News Feed Eradicator. I have an interesting post about How to win several productive hours a day? which explains well the advantages and purpose of this plugin.
I wanted to check my messages and it was a HORRIBLE feeling. I felt I am missing out on something. I tried to hold my feelings back and do something more interesting than my messages. I started watching a movie… at least I am not a TV-addicted people, so this seemed a good solution.
It worked because I forgot about that I “needed” to check up on the Internet.
Things have started to become easier. I went for a good walk again but now I didn’t even want to start my computer when arrived home. It was such a good feeling because I was able to relax a little. I don’t say that computer and Internet are evil because they’re awesome things. But over usage is the worst thing you can do.
I talk about day 4 to 6 here because it was so much easier than I thought. Everything went well but I started to miss my online presence. I don’t post too often on Facebook but I use Instagram as a work opportunity, so I totally let my virtual assistant manage it while I was offline. And you know what? It was working so awesome that she still manages it. It was a good experience though.
I also wanted to check emails and my online businesses but my businesses were going on autopilot and emails can wait. Almost no urgent things can happen in a week.
It was the last day of my experiment. That was the moment when I felt I can’t handle this anymore and I can’t cut myself totally off from the Internet. I had to come back. My Internet addiction won… or is it?
What have I learned?
So this one-week long experiment had advantages and disadvantages which led me to some consequences.
I start with the good and positive things:
- I was finally able to relax and enjoy the nature without any distractions.
- No urgent thing happened – it’s almost impossible to get a really urgent message or email in a week. Try it and you will agree with
- I was able to sleep well because I wasn’t looking at my phone and laptop right before sleeping.
- I read 2 books at that time and I remember them so much better because I wasn’t distracted.
- I was so much more active physically during this period. Guys, this is serious… Sitting behind a monitor is extremely unhealthy and can lead to serious issues. Do it moderately.
Here come the bad, negative things about the experiment:
- Sometimes I was bored because I wasn’t able to think about anything offline. I wanted to go online.
- Addiction is hard and it’s hard to fight it.
- Sometimes I was thinking too much about computers and Internet, that I wasn’t really able to enjoy these days.
To sum up I have experienced more good things than bad. It was a nice and useful experiment… but all I could say as an important consequence: I wouldn’t do it again this long. I would and will spend some days completely offline (1-2 days’ maximum).
Quantity matters. If I catch up with my messages and emails and also check if everything is going well with my business it’s okay to use the Internet even when I am on an “offline cure”.