Saturday, 26 March 2011

Holidaying away from the web

Aurora @ Island Dreaming

I am writing this post whilst lazing in bed, 200 miles from my computer and Internet connection. I had considered rescheduling my post for when we returned home, but realized that this was a good opportunity to try out a much hyped piece of modern technology - the smartphone. This isn't my own, but my much more gadget minded darling other half's, who over the years has amassed quite a collection of electronic wizardry and the assorted tangle of spare cables and wiring that go with it.

This week we are away visiting family, who aren't connected to the Internet. If I was at home, I would be logging on first thing in the morning and probably also in the evening too. If something interesting is occurring somewhere in the world - and there always seems to be something - then I would probably be checking in on that during spare moments too. I have blog feeds to catch up on, email to check and reply to, news sites to read (all of which seem to offer live blogs of various news stories on a seemingly daily basis now). I occasionally take a look at Facebook just in case anyone is trying to contact me. Then there are the forums that I check into on an on-off basis. All of which come embedded with hyperlinks that allow me to hop around the web reading the background, sideshows and tangents of every story I come across.

All in all I could probably fill entire days with online activity. At the end of which I would have achieved very little of actual value and would have a headache. Most of what I do online is a complete energy and time drain that detracts from the things that I would like to be doing. This week I haven't had that luxury. This tiny screen and infuriating touch keyboard, combined with very temperamental mobile broadband has made all of my usual online activity a chore. It has also drawn my attention to the things that I really miss being able to do, the things that when I get home I should use my nice ergonomic PC and Internet connection for.

My own priorities are to streamline my blog feeds and decide whether I need to be reading them everyday. At the same time I would like to be writing and tweaking my own blog a little more often (though I blame pregnancy related brain fog for my recent reluctance to string words together), simply because I enjoy it. I plan to check news sites no more than a handful of times a week and to ignore all the hyperlinks encouraging me to delve into non-stories far more deeply than I need to, instead using the Internet to research things that I actually need and want to know about, not the things I "should" know about.

Everyone's priorities will be different, so how do you manage you time online? Do you find yourself distracted constantly or have you managed to strike a balance?


David said...

Aurora, the time spent on the Internet can consume our life can't it? I have had to limit my blogs that I follow to just a hand full. During the winter I have a little more time to read and write but during the summer I like to be out acquiring experiences to write about in the winter. There are times when I go on volunteer trips and will not have access to the Internet for up to 10 days. That sabbatical from the Internet always resets my priorities when I return home.

I don't think that smartphone technology was really meant to write blog posts and I know that I would have been extremely challenged to write the post you just wrote and get it posted. I am not a complicated gadget person. My phone is for talking and now texting with the grand kids because that's just how they communicate.

Have a great blog reading and writing day.

KimH said...

Im on the internet way too much myself.. but I always go thru phases where I pull back and others where I just cant seem to.
Currently, Im working on thinning down the herd in my e-mail box.. That takes up MUCH time and energy.
Enjoy your time away!!

DramaMama said...

There is a website - - I haven't tried it yet but it looks like you can tell it which website/page to open and how many minutes you want to spend there. I assume it closes the window when your time is up! I have been researching ways to be more efficient w/my online time. I get on the WWW and I go down all sorts of rabbit trails, as my mom calls them. I see something that makes me think of something else I want to look for....and forget all about what I am really supposed to be doing online! I also appreciate hearing about others and their quest to limit time on the computer. I am not alone =)

Dai said...

Most of the times I'm on the net because of my work in Ambit Energy and usually take a time off, if not related to work. everything too much is bad even the things we love.

louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife said...

I joke that I live online because I do spend a lot of time at my computer - but I'm better at spending time away from it now.

I think it's a combination of having more offline hobbies and realising my habits - how once I've checked my email, Twitter, blog feed and news sites, I'm tempted towards eBay for "bargains" and to check other shop sites for offers etc -- passing time online could cost me serious money if I don't keep a handle on it.

I'm due a phone upgrade (and contract price decrease) at the moment but I'm trying to avoid getting a smartphone because I don't want to be one of *those* people. Nothing in my online life is that important that it can't wait until I'm next back at my computer.

Aurora said...

Thank you all for your thoughts. I'm back home and have lots of emails and blog feeds to read through. I now figure that anything I didn't bother with when I had a very slow internet connection, I won't bother with just because I have broadband.

Kim H - I recently read and deleted the best part of 800 emails, it wasn't fun. I found taking the time to unsubscribe from almost everything as I deleted updates and newsletters worked a treat.

DramaMama - that is a brilliant idea, I think I will use it for checking the news headlines and perhaps Facebook. The kind of sites where I get pulled down rabbit holes!