Every month, GOOD Magazine recommends a 30-day-challenge, “a monthly attempt to live better.” For August, the challenge was to turn off the internet at 8pm. TV-watching was still kosher (thank God), but no blogging, tweeting, Facebook-stalking, emailing, Google Reader-reading, etc. The challenge was put forth on the premise that the average American spends 13 hours per week on the internet. LOLZ. If only that were true. Pre-GOOD challenge, I estimate that, including work, I spend about 65 hours per week online (and I don’t have a smart phone). Jesus…that’s two and a half days of every week.
So last week, I decided to do a test, dipping my toes into the GOOD challenge, without the plunge. For one week, I observed the ban. Here’s what happened:
Step 1: Anxiety – I headed to a yoga class on Tuesday at 6:45. At 6:30, I realized that this was my last moment with the internet for 14 hours. The weight of this realization was crushing. Not really, but it did make me hyperventilate a bit as I thought of all the tweets, blogposts, Youtube videos and Facebook statuses I would miss.
Step 2: Epiphany – Believe it or not, the tweets etc. were right there waiting to be read in the morning. Who fucking knew?
Step 3: Acceptance – I stopped worrying about what was happening on the internet. I mean… I still worried about it, just a lot less than usual. Turns out, the timesucking curiosity that has me hitting refresh every 12 seconds isn’t necessary.
Step 4: Enjoyment – I slept about 30 to 45 minutes more each night. I still watched my shows, but then I turned off the computer and went to bed instead of “catching up” on what I had “missed.” I read more books and magazines. My room was a teeny, tiny bit cleaner. I budgeted my blogging time better since writing late into the night wasn’t an option.
What now? My week is up. Last night, I read a few blog posts before bed. I went to click Facebook–old habits die hard–but I didn’t and went to bed instead. You know what? Facebook was there this morning and not a single goddamn thing had happened. Small changes, amirite?
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