Is Your Life in Need of a Realignment?

by Mark on March 18, 2010

In my post The 90-Day Challenge, I mentioned that I had made some progress on my areas of focus, but the progress hasn’t been as quick as I would like. One of the problems that I’m having is extremely common. To a large degree, I am basically running the same habitual patterns over and over again.

For a long time, I have been spending far too much time on the Internet. I’ve become somewhat addicted to checking my RSS feeds, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, message boards, Mafia Wars, etc. I keep multiple tabs open and cycle through them to see if there is anything new.

The funny thing is that it is often not particularly entertaining, but I still feel a compulsion to check for updates anyway. Why is that? I don’t know exactly. Much of the time that I spend on the Internet is enjoyable, because there is so much reading material and I love to learn. But this doesn’t explain why I have trouble resisting checking things so often when it isn’t particularly fulfilling.

In any case, there is no way that I can spend so much time on the Internet and achieve the goals I have set for myself. I have decided to realign the way I spend my time. Here are some ways that I have already begun to reduce my Internet “consumption:”

  1. I have radically reduced the number of RSS feeds that I’m subscribed to. Websites these days make it incredibly easy to be updated with any changes that have been recently made. You can subscribe to blog posts, articles, comics, weather updates, and all sorts of things. The problem is that I’m interested in so many things that my subscriptions were far too numerous. I have eliminated all feeds not related to my areas of focus, except for one thing: humor. I saved the web addresses for all the RSS feeds that I eliminated in a single folder called “Realignment.” I’m still interested in these websites. I just want to eliminate the repetitious force-feeding of content through RSS feeds. Reducing the number of feeds has already made a big difference.
  2. I stopped playing Mafia Wars. I’m not even sure why I played Mafia Wars so long. It’s not particularly exciting. It’s very repetitive. However, I personally tend to like games where there are levels. You feel a sense of steady improvement, which can be very motivating. Mafia Wars is also somewhat of a mindless distraction, so it takes my mind off the stresses of the day, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time.  If Mafia Wars was more challenging, then I could see continuing to play, but as it stands, it’s got to go.
  3. I have begun to radically reduce the time I spend reading message boards. If it’s one thing about Internet message boards, there are plenty of idiots out there. I don’t know why I always end up arguing with them. They can be completely uninformed or misinformed and they will still be incredibly confident of their positions. And they will be obnoxious about it. You would think that I would be smart enough to let it go, but I often can’t resist. This is why I am intentionally restricting my message board reading.

Those are the main things I am doing. Checking e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook is less of a problem because it is over and done so quickly. As long as I’m spending less time doing the three things above, then I will also not check e-mail, Twitter and Facebook as often.

Another thing that I’m considering is a weekly “Internet fast.” Maybe I will set aside one day of the week where I won’t use the Internet at all. It might be an interesting experiment to see if it would help condition me to be less dependent on the Internet.

Is your life in need of a realignment?

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