The Internet is Too Strong

The Internet is Too Strong

I wrote before about how I read a lot on the internet. I take pride in the fact that I don’t watch much TV or play many video games. However, it’s as if the time I would have spent watching TV, I spend reading about politics or technology. I can hold my own on debates regarding TSA, Wikileaks, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, etc. I can tell you about MongoDB, iOS, Android, MySQL, Javascript, C#, WPF, functional languages, entrepreneurship, etc. But does it matter? Does it matter if I’m not completing all of my tasks for my startup? Does it matter if I’m not completing my tasks for my day job? Does it really matter if my son says to me: “dad, I wish I had a little brother to play with, because you’re too busy to play with me”? Of course it doesn’t matter, none of that matters compared to those other things.

I wrote an app that tracked how much time I spent producing vs consuming. The app works well, it’s my usage of the app that isn’t consistent. What bothers me is that when I’m consuming a lot and use the app, my production number is really low. Then the next day, I’m less likely to use the app. Some days I don’t use it all because it can be discouraging if my production number is so low. Yesterday, I read a great article on conceding defeat to the internet:

There’s an almost infinitely large amount of pretty good stuff online. You could read Wikipedia for months and months, reading fascinating things about fascinating people and places and times throughout history, fascinating concepts in science and art and technology, philosophy, literature… and you’d never finish. There’d still be more. Heck, recent events are getting new, interesting Wikipedia articles all the time.

Likewise, Hacker News and Reddit, Quora, Twitter, good blogs… you could spend almost infinite amounts of pretty good time on it.

But after spending that time, I wonder – what the heck did I just do? The time is gone, but I can’t remember exactly where it went.

Looking at my time tracking, I spend asinine amounts of time online. It’s quite likely you do as well – and you might not realize exactly how much time you spend online unless you’ve tracked it. It’s a lot higher for me than I expected.

After realizing how much time I was spending on “pretty good but not amazing stuff” online, I kept trying to harness or channel that time into better time.

But now?

Nope. I concede defeat. The pull of the internet is stronger than my will to use it intelligently and responsibly, and it’s getting in the way of me doing bigger things.

I concede defeat as well. There are indeed too many good articles and good reading material on the internet. But that’s just it, it’s only “good” but rarely great. I’m going to try the author’s suggestion of limiting my browse-free internet time to only one hour a day. I’ll continue to track my production number and report the results on Jan 4th. If this doesn’t work, I suppose I’ll try the Pomodoro Technique next. When it comes down to it, it’s all about discipline.

What do you do to force yourself to achieve at peak productivity?

You might also enjoy:

  1. Less Consumption, More Production
  2. It’s Not About Time, It’s About Priority
  3. Discipline is the Strength to Do Things that Will Make Our Future Selves Proud

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