When I was a kid, my brother and I were only allowed to watch two hours of TV a day. My parents wanted to insure that we did other things – played outside, read books, helped around the house, talked with them.
We also were not allowed to turn the TV on until after school, and we only ate our meals in front of the television on special occasions. Add to that the obligatory family breakfast every weekday morning, and we were a well-connected family . . . BEFORE the internet.
Plus, we were a family who read, or gardened, or rode our skateboards down a really steep mountain and burned the soles off our shoes to stop. (My brother left the scent of rubber on that mountainside most afternoons.) The TV was just not our default.
And that lesson stuck for me, too. I don’t turn the TV on until I’m ready to sit down and watch something intentionally – usually with a cross-stitch hoop or a crochet hook in my hand.
The internet, however, is a different story. I use the internet in just the way my parents taught me NOT to use TV.
And I think it’s time I stop because I’m losing some real richness in my day.
So here’s my plan – I’m going to try for the rest of this week to see how it works.
- Three hours of internet a day.
- Two hours in the morning – when I’ll check in, handle email, and blog.
- One hour throughout the rest of the day to respond to comments, share images, and scroll.
I’m going to track my time using RescueTime, an app Jane Friedman told me about. RescueTime tracks how much time you spend on your computer and for what purpose – word processing, Facebook, Gmail, etc. My goal is to get all my online time down before 3 hours a day, which is a significant undertaking since I normally spend 8-10 hours online a day – my email tab is ALWAYS open.
I’m hopeful that this kind of intentional use of the internet will allow me to come to this tool with intention – appreciating its gifts while also allowing me to see the other gifts around me, too.
Hold me accountable? And join me if you’d like – with this goal or your own?