Home > Uncategorized > Slapping That Computer Problem Where It Hurts (+ A Footnote On What This Blog Is)

Slapping That Computer Problem Where It Hurts (+ A Footnote On What This Blog Is)

This morning I was tempted, as I always am, to check: Reddit. Gmail. Facebook. OKCupid. Cracked. ….

There are, I think, two mechanisms behind this impulse:

  • The desire not to miss out. “What if I miss something (I need to know)/(is cool)?”
  • The primitive, conditioned impulse, quite apart from conscious considerations.

And one simple (if not, at first, easy) solution:

  • Check these (and other) websites once per day, at a specified time.

To clarify why I think I do this–and, perhaps, why you do something similar–I think the fundamental reason is I don’t trust myself to check it often enough, corresponding with the first (‘the desire not to miss out’). The second reason is like a shell built on top of the first, enclosing it; making it more difficult to eliminate the problem, but when it’s eliminated, it, too, shall go.

So here’s the solution, more specifically:

  • Each morning, I will use the computer/Internet for just to things:
  • (a) about 5 minutes to play an epic song while I shower, and
  • (b) about 40 minutes (give or take) for my Daily Practice of writing 500 words or more. (More on (b) later.)
  • Each evening, I will use the computer/Internet for 1 hour–60 minutes exactly–to demarcate my day from my evening, a sort of evening ritual, and for these four items:
  • (a) Gmail – about 5 minutes (time for 1 reply, 2 if they’re very quick)
  • (b) Facebook – about 10 minutes (time to comment, or post myself, if I like)
  • (c) SMBC Comics, then Cracked, then Reddit – about 10 minutes (not much time for Reddit at all, I know 😦 )
  • (d) Recording today’s 30-second song, if I had made one – about 5 minutes
  • (e) OKCupid – about 10 minutes (includes time for 1 message/reply)
  • (f) Peoples’ Blogs – the remaining time of 5-20 minutes (enough time to comment once most days)

If you find yourself falling prey to unwanted hours at a time, perhaps you could benefit from a similar plan.

One final component (two, I suppose):

  • whenever I need to use a computer for anything else — primarily for an online class, or perhaps to do something for SHIFT or another project — I write down what I intend to do, and how long I think it will take, on an index card, and use my computer for only that long.
  • The rest of the time, it’s in my laptop tote, locked up (with a bike chain).

That may seem extreme to you, but really, I just want to ensure it happens. I haven’t built up the trust in myself (yet) to use any lesser method. Not when it’s practically my Achilles’ heel.

So What Am I Really Doing With This Blog?

At this point, I’m using it for writing practice. I know I will not write epic posts for now. I know I will not live up to my promise to be helpful to you, and derive some of the other benefits of blogging I wrote about (a pretty good post that was, imo).

But I also know–or perhaps just suspect–that writing 500+ words a day will flex my brain muscles, so to speak, and lead to a higher ability to write. Some of these posts will be worth keeping, others too self-focused and limited in their ability to help. But regardless of how good the quality of my subsequent posts is, for the next month, at least, my commitment to myself is simply to write. Anything. And publish: I really like seeing it get published. It is probably the positive reinforcement I need to get in the habit of writing, a habit that could serve me in innumerable ways down the line.

P.S. It’s possible that I may publish my daily writing practices to a separate blog–perhaps this one–and write only good stuff at [My Name].com. (Once the design is finished, that is-by a friend-which may be this Friday.)

P.P.S. Writing this took only 23 minutes, you see. 630 words. Not counting a few minutes for the headline.

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