Do you ever have moments—or whole days or weeks—when you wished you spent less time on the internet?
I feel like that more often than I’d like to admit. Not only is the internet, social media apps in particular, taking up time, but it’s also affecting my ability to focus. A video from the YouTuber CGP Grey, which I rewatched recently, covers this very topic and inspired my desire to “take a step back from the internet.” He noticed the effect the internet was having on his attention when trying to read books. For me, my splintered focus is clear when reading, but even more so when writing. My mind pulls away from the page much more often than it used to.
To counter this, I’ve implemented no-internet Thursdays for the last few weeks. It’s exactly like it sounds. Except for answering emails from students, I do not go online. Its success has varied from week to week, but overall it’s been a positive experience for me.
So, I want to try to implement it on a larger scale. I am committing myself to a limited internet challenge for the month of April. I’m not cutting myself off from the entire internet, just the parts that cause me the most trouble.
For example, I will not scroll through Twitter, but I might post to it. Rather than look at Apple’s News app, I will read the newspaper—though not a physical one, of course. 🙃 I’ve severely cut the channels I subscribe to on YouTube and will only watch new content from the creators that remain.
I’m hoping to rebuild my ability to pay attention to things outside of the internet for extended periods of time. Ideally, this challenge will also lead to more reading and writing time as well as more time outside enjoying the spring, which seems to have officially arrived in New England!
At the end of the month, I plan to reflect on the experience and decide what I want to return to or not. I have an inkling that I’ll be happy to maintain a more limited internet. But we’ll see.
Have any of you done a similar challenge? What restrictions did you put in place, and how did it go?