I realised I had a problem when I opened my email inbox for the 20th time in 30 minutes.
As we all do, I convinced myself that it was necessary — how else was I supposed to know about how “A lot had happened since I last logged in on Facebook”?
Naturally, I was devastated when I realised that would have very limited wifi access as we left for a holiday.
But surprisingly enough, no access to the internet for two days showed me that a lot of what we constantly use the internet for is completely useless.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. — Annie Dillard
There, I said it. Most of the time, we use the internet to waste time.
Have you ever opened a browser for a very specific task, only to find yourself five minutes later on a youtube compilation of cute dogs and babies with no recollection of what you originally set out to do?
Or perhaps in the middle of some important work, when you have the irresistible urge to find out what the capital of Azerbaijan is?
Did you even log on to medium today for a concrete reason or have you just been scrolling through posts for the last couple of minutes?
The internet doesn’t have a finish line. Unlike other mediums, the internet is an endless hole of content — there’s no last page and no end credits.
There’s approximately 216000 hours of videos on youtube alone, 27 billion words on Wikipedia, and just about every episode of almost every TV show ever made somewhere online. That’s a lot of time to waste.
The problem is, while checking your email or even reading medium articles, it’s quite easy to fool yourself into thinking that you’re doing something worthwhile, whereas the reality is anything but that.
You know whether something was really useful if you missed it after a day
I can guarantee that I felt no regret not scrolling through twitter, not having email newsletter updates, and not seeing cat compilations on youtube
While randomly scrolling online, time slips by without noticing; but without internet access, you feel a lot more present and in control.
As I’ve discussed in a previous post, the internet can cause a lot of stress with its constant barrage of FOMO, and a break from that can feel amazing.
Now I’m not saying it’s bad to spend a lot of time online, in fact, some people’s jobs depend on it. It’s how we spend time online that matters.
It’s fine to take a break after some hard work, what’s not okay is wasting time online instead of hard work.
In general, I’ve realised that unless what you’re doing is pushing you towards your goals, it isn’t a good use of your time.
So next time you go online, try and be more mindful of how you use your time, perhaps use it for something more useful?
(I’ll admit, this is something easy to spout out but magnitudes more difficult to actually implement)
If possible, maybe completely turn of the wifi for a weekend. Maybe you’ll realise how much time you really have?
Thanks for reading,
Here’s some other posts I’ve written
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