Monday, July 16, 2007

The Internet experiment

I decided to put into practice some of those tips from and elsewhere about productivity. The chief one I thought I'd try is this:

No Internet access until after 5 p.m.

Here are the rules I set: NO Internet access until after 5 p.m., including checking bank balances, checking e-mail, reading blogs, reading newspapers, or tracking down the name of that incredibly obscure actor on IMDB. No looking up phone numbers or using the OED online. If I wanted to check on something, I could write it down and check on it after 5.

Somehow, my days had become all about avoiding work: reading blogs, checking e-mail, looking up stuff online. I felt as though I had the attention span of a gnat, and as soon as I started working on a tough sentence, I had the impulse to go online and do something else.

So far, it's working. I feel a lot calmer, somehow, and I'm getting a lot more reading done. The impulses to go online just for a minute to check something are diminishing. The writing is still coming along slowly, but it's better than before.

Oh, and the great secret about e-mail in the summer is that no one is contacting me with grants, million dollar book contracts, or vital information on anything else--at least nothing that won't wait until after 5.


jb said...

What a great idea! I'm not sure that I'm ready to commit to it, but maybe I'll give it a try (because here it is, 9:30, and I'm still doing my pre-work blog-reading). The internet so clearly detracts from my attention-span, as well--I recognize myself in what you describe--and it seems like a good experiment to consciously break that habit.

What Now? said...

This is a fabulous experiment, one that I may have to adopt myself, and I look forward to hearing how it works for you.

Sisyphus said...

Well I already know that I have to save the internet as a reward afterwards instead of let myself touch anything in the morning, but today, like most days, I was only able to hold out 'till 3 pm.

I'm working up towards the 5 pm thing; maybe it's like starting a new exercise program and you have to ease yourself in. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

undine said...

Well, it hasn't been quite a week yet, but so far, so good. I had tried working up to it in different ways, doing the "only go to useful sites" and "check e-mail and then turn it off" things, but somehow I couldn't keep that going. Somehow the draconian quality of no internet for any reason keeps me gong.

When 5:00 comes, though, I flip on that switch and fall on the web like it's a giant bar of really good chocolate.

undine said...

"keeps me going" not "gong"--sheesh. There go my typing skills.

undine said...

And jb, the attention span thing alone has made the experiment worthwhile so far.