It's important to understand how much behavior around technology is based on ingrained habits. My goal with dealing with my phone was to "short-circuit" the habitual/addictive behavior.
To do this, I did two things.
1. I turned off all automatic notifications on my phone, as well as all background updates of apps/email/etc.
2. I created a simple rule: I can use my phone whenever I want, but I have to wait five minutes after 'thinking of using it.'
Combined, these two rules have been effective in short-circuiting the addictive properties of my cell phone. The five minute wait time gives me the chance to have deliberate/conscious thought about my phone use. The lack of automatic updates happening in the background gives me a chance to catch myself, if I unconsciously start using my phone. For example, it takes 20-30 seconds to load email. If I unconsciously open the email app, nothing has changed. Sure, I can tell it to load the email, but the time it takes to load the email gives me the chance to realize I'm breaking my five minute rule.
I feel like I'm able to use my phone as a tool again. After around a month of this, I'm no longer scared of my phone's power over me.
Sadly, I haven't figured out an effective system for my computer yet.
At the final step I realized that I had a huge expensive phone with only basic functionality and a web browser that always seemed to steal my attention (procrastinating on the web). I bought a Nokia C5-00 (dumbphone) and told my family that if they needed to reach me, they'd have to text or call - everything else would be dealt with a couple of times a day on my tablet.
It's been a year, and I love the freedom to work and be with friends and family without constantly having my phone in my face. I also seem to handle boring situations much better as I no longer can rely on my phone to entertain me whenever I have 3 minutes to spare. I am now a 22 year old Swedish programmer with a dumbphone that I charge once every 1-2 weeks, and I love it. Also, the reactions from co-workers and train conductors scanning my SMS-tickets are very interesting.
Emails, again I simply deal with the way we used to before smartphones. As and when.
Most 2FA systems also still support SMS as an option so even that's not a limiting factor of using a dumbphone.
My new phone cost me £10 and costs only £5/month to run because I literally cannot use any data.
The only downside I've encountered is the feeling that others are being ignorant/rude whilst blankly staring into their phone. You don't notice this when you're doing it too, but it's really very noticeable once you stop.
I do like having a web browser in my pocket though. I'm old, and I was there when dial-up BBS's gave way to basic dial-up internet. I used the internet as a resource, and I still mostly have that mindset. It's not an entertainment platform for me - I fire up a browser when I want to find something out, and then I close it again. However I do watch the odd fun YouTube video from time to time (not on my phone tho).
This switching away from being always-online seems to be picking up as a trend. I think it's a good thing. Like all things, the internet should only be used in moderation.
The internet is a tool, no different from a shovel or a paintbrush, and you don't spend all day carrying those around and looking at them, do you?
Your disconnection from it may help you rediscover your own consciousness and do things the old-fashioned way but it doesn't confer any superiority or higher levels of intelligence or higher information evaluation abilities on you.
Some people tend to believe that a return to the old ways of no invasion of the zeros and ones of the Internet would make their lives better by some significant margin. They see some less digitalized folk and wish they could have that life because they also believe the lives of these folks are much simpler, more triangular, etc.
Nassim Taleb and a few others have advocated a disconnect from news. This makes sense from a knowledge building POV as some folks actually only know stuff about the world through mainstream media, which I believe is particularly unhealthy and misleading.
Disconnecting from the entire Internet however is a different matter. My point is that such a recoiling into a zero Internet shell doesn't necessarily confer any superior analytical abilities on anybody. It may help your sanity/peace of mind/mental health (depending on what your obsessions are)/etc.
And to your point about actual evaluation being separate from the information processing pipeline, I also disagree. More often than not you still need the various resources available on the Internet to aid in the evaluation of the data/information you have collected.
There's such a thing as a responsible/profitable use of the Internet and the gains are probably much higher than whatever any sound minded individual would gain from a disconnection.
- I went without any phone at all at first, after breaking my smartphone much like you did; then decided I should at least have an old Nokia charged in case of emergency. No contract at all.
- I don't like using it, and I still hate voice/SMS 2FA, I use Authy instead wherever possible.
- I cheat a bit, since I do have a Nexus 7 still which I use around home and sometimes put in my pocket for podcasts. I don't think this is really cheating though, since it's WiFi only, so it's not really different from using a laptop - I can't be connected unless I'm stationary.
> The only downside I've encountered is the feeling that others are being ignorant/rude whilst blankly staring into their phone. You don't notice this when you're doing it too, but it's really very noticeable once you stop.
Yes! I don't mind it too much at the moment though, because I just think I'm glad not to be doing that. I've occasionally half-joked (with family) something like 'Well, it's nice to be out somewhere different for a change while we use our phones, isn't it?' :)
Which is exactly the opposite of my way of handling e-mail versus SMS. It it's really really urgent, be courteous enough to give your time and call me. For anything else send an e-mail.
E-mail is my primary communication channel and any device that can't handle it is useless. Whereas SMS is discourteous to me as it demands that I read and respond on one particular device, rather than that which is most convenient or appropriate. Quite often I'll read an e-mail on my phone and sit-down at the laptop to compose a reply.
In at least one way it should be an obvious win: my phones take some beating. My pad has taken significantly less.
By far the best app to silence has been my email. I consider it a luxury that I can come home and not worry about it. I highly suggest it to anyone who thinks they have a screen addiction.
But being the local computer geek gives me insights that others do not have. I already saw the problem coming a mile away with the first mobile phones long before they were called smartphones. I already had the whole village asking me for advice with their computers (the few that had computers). I helped everyone build theirs for gaming and had to help them when they had problems with viruses and so on.
Why would I want to be reachable at any time? Would a smartphone make it even worse? You bet. Would I be getting a phone any time soon? No way.
I did eventually get a Nokia 3210 though, which stayed with me until a couple of years ago when I gave up and bought a smartphone to be able to screen incoming robot sales calls...
iMessage has to one of the greatest inventions in recent time. It allows me to communicate with my family, without forcing to use an actual phone.
I use it to do:
- Read News article and books on my communte
- Use the flashlight in the morning or evening when it is to dark (when winter i use it every evening when going home from the train to my flat 10 minutes)
- Use it as a phone
- use maps for navigation
- Check out gps stuff when sitting in a plain
- use the sync feature to have an up to date contact list
- get calendar notifications
- use it as an alarm clock
- use it for listing to music (but not that often)
Otherwise it is in my pocket but thats it. Like my keys. I don't use it at home at all.
If you take public transportation, look around, everyone is looking at their phones and no one is interacting with the real people around them.
We have become a society lost in their digital devices.
I don't value shallow talk with strangers very much. Or have you been on a subway and was discussion with someone strange daily politics?
Selecting for proximity means wasting my life on random noise.
An $800 phone is a bargain if It lets me spend my limited time on good stuff.
I found the worst people around me with phones are the older ones. The teenagers put it down but the older people seem to think that a text will expire if they don't respond immediately, regardless of what they are doing at the time.
I'm not saying they're plain useless. I just don't risk getting hooked on them in exchange for a handful of useful services. I can live happily without owning one. If I ever feel that owning a smartphone will make my life better I'd gladly buy one. It's not ideology that stops me from getting one. I just don't want to end up like those guys who meet up for a coffee and spend two thirds of their time watching their smartphones. I don't feel sorry for them, I think they're hooked to the damn thing as I could easily get hooked if I had one. So to relieve me from the temptation of checking it every other minute I simply don't have one. Problem solved. As always, YMMV.
My contacts are synced automatically and i can read news on it.
I'm not forcing people into using a smartphone and i don't have any issues with how i use it.
For the laptop, I've experimented with logging out of most social networks with some good results.
I block out an hour every day or so for email and the like, and during that time, I'll re-log-in to Facebook. But outside of that, I stay logged-out, and 2FA helps by making the login process even less convenient.
Messenger and Twitter do get re-enabled when I'm at a conference or need to coordinate with people via those channels, but otherwise, it's just another cognitive burden and potential source of bees-in-head.
When I'm at home, I also leave my phone in the charger in the bedroom. Out of sight really has been out of mind.
Oh, and no phone in the bathroom has been a very good rule as well, in terms of breaking bad habits.
"I think of different communication media as having different urgencies / time constants. Emails are a daily report. My phone's notifications are an hourly report. Notifications which I forward to my watch are the instant things. Be sure to mercilessly "mute" most apps from bugging you on your wrist. With this setup, I never feel the urge to check my phone. If there is something important, it would've buzzed my wrist."
Anything that asked for permission for notifications, alerts, just do not allow them. That should solve most of the problems.
I wrote an article about it long back (2014) and people really seem to like it [personal plug] - http://brajeshwar.com/2014/missing-step-productivity-activit...
I killed my Facebook account 3 months ago, and switched to a dumb phone (from a Pixel phone ;-) since the beginning of the year. Now I'm rocking a webOS phone and no IM account except for hangouts which I check on my computer when I want. I no longer reach my pocket to check for message or anything when I enjoy my meal or go travel somewhere. There is no push or anything I can play when I wake up in the middle of the night to keep me up. Also, looking up and navigating to places by instinct sucks, and is fun at the same time. I no longer have any idea how highly rated any place is before I walk in, and I had plenty of surprises since then. Just last weekend I traveled somewhere and interacted with the locals because the only place in town was closed - I wouldn't have if I had a smartphone to "OK Google." Without the smartphone, I now carry a big, beaten up mirrorless camera in by bag, so I am more or less have to do more "proper" photography now, instead of disposable instagram stuff to get likes (this I have to credit the Pixel, it was an incredible camera for how thin it is). Learning photography with a camera is super fun, although the end result seems to be the same.
I'm an immigrant. Other than the Trump stuff my liberal friends were talking about here, there was another alternative flow of stressful/irrelevant celebrities news from my home country. I realized that without Facebook, I actually extremely rarely check or care what's going on, about who is fucking who and who is getting fat. The amount of stuff getting in my brain is dramatically reduced. I thought I would miss Facebook, and it turned out I don't. The benefits far, far exceeded the negatives.
Without Facebook and a constant smartphone influence to consume, I write way more, about what I like and what actually matters to me, not to get likes from my friends and to appear intelligent. I get downvotes from Hacker News when I say something stupid, which I don't get from Facebook. It's alright :) I honestly feel I learn everyday.
I get so much better sleep, way less stress and I have so much free time since then. It was like an enlightenment for me to be taking control of my life. I will try to cut back the internet also as the author suggested. Now excuse me, I have to get back to work on my writing.
I generally try to stay off the web after work unless there's something I NEED to do after hours (right now I'm just finishing a database upgrade) and that easy enough. Killing Facebook ended up being the real cure for me. Any other sites I check I'm generally done after about 15 minutes...for the day. Facebook is just constant though. It's just such an easy go-to. Like the author of this post, I find myself reading books a lot more (for a really interesting read, check out The Undoing Project btw).
I see some other comments on here being critical of the decision but the real key is just identifying an acknowledging when you have a real, legitimate time sink problem. When you do and you can get to the bottom of it, it's like a weight off of your shoulders. Some people are better at moderation than others. Others are much better at quitting cold turkey.
When you really identify how much time you're wasting per day / week of something that's in short supply, especially when there are things you keep wishing you could find time for...the decision to do something like this gets really...really easy.
And once you do it, it feels pretty great.
I heard about it on Freakonomics. I will check it out as I have time now ;-)
Which phones are webOS? I thought that it was essentially dead.
I'm not sure how this is any different. The author of this article is an Internetaholic, therefore I should cut my tether to the Internet? And what of my LTE connection?
There's something truly unique about alcohol that isn't true of any other addictive substance on the planet.
Except nicotine, sugar, caffeine, etc.
Honestly I'd say your argument is a much better fit for sugar.
I'm saying this as someone who went off it for a few years, and now back on it, trying to quit.
Tremendously addictive, and it's EVERYWHERE.
Birthday? Cake. Meeting up with friends? Drinks. Easter? Candy. Date? Chocolate. Did something good? Reward with cookies.
I sound like I'm on some bandwagon, but I'm not trying to argue that honey or agave or anything else is better, but there's very little sugar naturally in any real food, and we can't escape it.
Alcohol is at most gatherings, but it really isn't nearly as pervasive.
By the way, if you're looking for a way to get a clean break from sugar, following the paleo induction plan "Whole30" has worked well for me. The initial withdrawal symptoms are not fun, but the limited time span and the clarity of the program made it relatively easy to do.
Feel free to email if you want to discuss. I'm so glad to be off it again; I feel healthier and my mood is so much more positive and even.
I didn't have any trouble quitting last time, but having a family and more commitments now makes it tougher to completely revamp your habits.
What I find most fascinating is how I can look outside myself and notice how my rational brain time and time again gets disregarded by impulse, while knowing what I know. It's like observing someone else.
I have clear memories and notes over how (as you describe) my mood was better and I felt healthier, yet an immediate impulse with a fleeting effect takes priority, while knowing it will only prolong the problem.
Fruits have a surprisingly low glycemic index because they aren't processed and you have to get through fiber and digest the cells before having access to all of the sugar. I've changed my diet to avoid sugar and notice that I very rarely feel actively hungry/crashy vs. before, and most fruit is just fine.
Ice Cream (premium): 37
Sponge Cake: 46
Frosted Flakes: 55
Snicker's Bar: 55
Fruits really are very high GI compared to regular snack foods. They're relatively healthy for other reasons though.
But I get your point, it shouldn't really be about what's naturally occuring, but how it affects your body. I stay away from fruit as well.
Alcohol is a viable a substitute for carbohydrates for feeding nerve cells. Ethanol -> acetate -> ATP. Some research was published a few years ago about how the brains of heavy drinkers switch to running on acetate....
I'm not sure about pervasiveness, though. In the US, a lot more people are caffeine dependent. And Facebook's MAU is way higher than alcohol's.
But there only so much parents can do AND there is this thing called 'sense of belonging' that influence kids to be as much as their peers
That's really insane man. Take care of yourself. :)
However, to me, there is something special about emails that makes them a much personal way to communicate. When I send an email to a friend, I feel like I made a personal connection. I feel I like the person a lot more when I write an email to them and get an email back. When I commented on/liked a facebook status, it just feels like it's some shit I have to do when I am bored. Since I deleted my facebook, it turns out that there are very few friends/acquaintances that I added on Facebook that I feel like I need to connect on a personal level. That's very strange.
In some ways it feels like I've never been this lonely before. It makes me realize just how superficial most of my connections really were. I moved around a lot and had a sizable group of friends I would interact with on facebook, but now that it's gone... only three of them still make the effort to text or call me at least once a week to catch up. Sure, I have more friends who are simply indisposed and busy, but because they have social media they don't seek much interaction outside of it and so we don't talk.
It honestly hurts and the last two nights I've actually broken into long crying fits over how lonely I feel, because I feel like I don't connect with anyone, even the people I do talk to. I know facebook wasn't providing that level of connection I desired, but I realized it had tricked me into thinking it did. I realized that in the past, when I felt this kind of loneliness-induced depression creeping up, I would get on social media just to look at other human beings and remind me I'm not on a rock by myself and other people are dealing with the same emotions. Decent short-term solution for getting rid of the symptoms, but it did nothing to address the problem itself.
Incentivised social media like Facebook is really not healthy for the developing psyche. It's shaped the way I think and feel, and what triggers my brain's reward systems, and now I'm suffering for it.
There's a GREAT book that I am careful recommending as indeed I think it explores ideas that can be abused easily: Hooked, how to build habit-forming products ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hooked-How-Build-Habit-Forming-Prod... )
1) Facebook is part of an initiative to lay down internet infrastructure in Africa, with the catch being that access to Facebook, Google, et al. is heavily subsidized. They are attempting to trap an entire continent on their platform, with subsidized tax money, knowingly simultaneously creating the most advanced social monitoring tool ever to exist. The CIA already has "social unrest" prediction mechanisms and, regardless of what some people involved think they're doing it for, this tool will be used to enslave the continent, continue preventing its people from achieving economic parity with the West, and provide better data for three-letter agencies to use in their sociopolitical and economic targeting (targeted propaganda, red herring social issues, media blackouts, even full-scale political coups)
I have not read this article but I was in a hurry to find a source to give you. I'm hoping the Guardian doesn't let me down here:
2) They have better data than anyone else with respect to gauging addicting user behavior, and instead of taking the Nintendo approach ("Why don't you take a break and play outside?") they actively exploit these behavioral patterns to increase user engagement. 1/4 of the world's population exists on an insulating platform that does not have their interests in mind. They are unwittingly paving Facebook a permanent highway over our social systems. This creates negatively-reinforcing social vacuums and a massive chilling and normalization effect. But even worse than this normalization is the ideological reinforcement and mass hyper-emotional response that tends to result from an network of humans all checking their emotional response against others in a social vacuum. To make things even worse, Facebook capitalizes here as well and exploits users' emotional response mechanisms.
Here's a paper from a few years ago exploring this concept. I wanted to find a more recent article that was quite good but I couldn't locate it with a quick search:
The article I wanted to find mentioned one of the ways Facebook would exploit peoples' emotions to provoke their addictive behavior:
Facebook knows John spends about 10 minutes going through his feed at a time. During work hours, this number is 3 minutes. Right when Facebook thinks John might be about to put his phone away, they will suddenly show him a post from a friend he likes. He might stick around a little longer and comment. He scrolls a little more just because he is used to the behavior, and when Facebook thinks he is about to leave again they show him a post from someone he doesn't like. Bonus points if Facebook has determined the post is positive in nature. This triggers a negative emotional response in John and he scrolls a while longer, looking for a post that will give him another dopamine rush and return his "happiness" to him.
It's disgusting. It's predatory. It's abusive. It's no different than the CIA knowingly spreading crack and fentanyl to control the population and create pockets of crime that call for increased enforcement.
In my search, I did come across this and it concerned me. Seems like Facebook is expanding the ability of its users to enforce the chilling effect by allowing them to report "mentally unhealthy" posts so the users can be targeted for behavioral modification and automatic reporting to mental health agencies, as opposed to say, just messaging their friend directly and saying, "Hey, you OK man? You seem a bit sad."
They are also using ML to do the same thing, automatically. Just further separating us in the name of bringing us together.
Having personally been on the fringe of "high functioning" alcoholism on a few occasions, I don't think the comparison works. Alcoholism is inherently negative. Drinking alcohol in moderation may not be extremely harmful, but is still not necessarily great. While I certainly won't tell anyone how to live their life, cutting out alcohol use is still a "good" thing. Even if it's not a problem for you. Edit: I also still drink periodically because I enjoy it.
Internet use is not inherently negative. "Addiction" to the Internet may not be great, but is not necessarily all bad. The tricky thing about Internet use is that it's generally not something with negative social connotations. So even if someone is "binge consuming", one is not likely to feel negative social pressure because of it.
So I ultimately agree that he shouldn't be touting no Internet as a solution for all people, but I can't get behind the Alcoholism comparison.
I just don't know about that, even though I know you're trying to be fair and reasonable. Even ignoring the reported possible health benefits of alcohol in moderation, if it's slightly bad for your physical health it can still be a net positive in your life.
I also don't drink, but when I did I saw it as a positive thing as it got me outside and I was able to socialise with people when I was drinking. That was all just a state of mind though - there isn't anything magical in alcohol that makes you more confident (other than removing
Since I've quit I've made many new friends and my relationships with them are much deeper than any of my previous 'drinking buddies'.
 I occasionally drink kvass which has very small amount of alcohol (usually <1%). It is more natural (not pasteurised and filtered like most alcoholic drinks), so I wouldn't be surprised if it also has the same or greater health benefits.
But if you look at extreme overuse of alcohol, there is nothing good about it. Pretty cut and dry.
Extreme "overuse" of the Internet - may have negatives attached, but is still in that "debatable" territory. True impact (positive or negative) depends on what the person is spending their time on, depends on the nature of their work and personal relationships, depends on what they have access to away from home, etc. etc. Even the definition of "extreme" or "overuse" is entirely relative and depends on the specifics of the situation.
And I've had friends that I've just lost to online games for a long spell.
I'm not convinced that causality is not inverted there.
See, I'm not so sure about that. I spent probably 7-8 years without alcohol. It was never that I drank often, but my ex really had issues with it along with mental health issues. Part of making a good environment for him was to keep alcohol out of the house, and I couldn't really afford to be that impaired.
After we broke up, I started drinking casually. Its been years, and I still don't drink much, but it is a unique occasional enjoyment. I neither have pressure to drink nor real consequences from it - after all, I'd be spending the money on other entertainment anyway.
It was much harder to not be part of social media networks, honestly. No one cares if I drink, but folks will simply not talk to others if they don't share the social network.
If there is a distinction between those things and internet use, you haven't made it clear.
They have at least the first two, and tobacco companies have, or historically have had, all three. Job titles are slightly different, but basic functions are the same.
Yes, it is.
> . Go visit a vineyard, distillery, or a brewery. People may be trying to improve the quality of the product, but they are not relentlessly trying to increase "user drinking minutes" or any metric like that.
Yes, that's exactly what the marketing arms of the firms involved, and the advertising agencies they employ, are trying to do. (There's some actual product-development involvement there, too; light and ultra-light beers were invented pretty much exactly to maximize user drinking minutes.)
Half the craft microbreweries are owned by Ab-Inbev and the likes.
Also, I am not aware of the craft microbreweries owned by the big companies engaging in the sort of abusive behaviours that the main brands engage in, are you?
Needless to say, it's a complicated picture.
However because addiction is a known factor in their industry, I think they are kept somewhat in check, if only for legal reasons. I don't think Internet companies have any such qualms, so I would agree that they basically are trying to 'weaponize' this addiction.
The fact that many find it to be so inconceivable to go from having the internet 24/7 to having the internet for your entire workday and any time you spend in a public place with internet, really points out how psychologically dependent we've collectively become on the web.
How many of us didn't at least go through a phase of abusive use around the internet, or games, or something like that? When you add that having an FB account and the like is often seen as ultimately normal, it starts to add a lot of pressure for some people. As someone who has always hated something like FB, it's been disturbing to see it sink hooks into so many.
That said, I saw it coming because when I was a teenager I was hooked on mIrc for a while!
SO no... don't cut your tether, you're either naturally immune or like me developed an immune system. You should recognize though, that plenty of people aren't going to have such a successful outcome playing with that particular fire.
Alcohol-ic so Internet-ic
I was wondering this too after reading the "call to action" -- do I get to keep my data plan? (Did the author keep his?) I assume the answer is supposed to be no, but that might be good to note explicitly as this wouldn't be nearly as life-changing if taken a little too literally. (Not to be too nitpicky -- the article makes great points!)
My general heuristic is that anything with an infinite feed is designed to suck you in—so avoid apps that provide them, as much as is feasible for your lifestyle.
Keep two or three parallel lists for different kind of internet use (e.g. research, message a friend, check for news about x, buy y).
Keep writing tools nearby always, even if it's just a pen and a scrap of paper in your pocket.
How do you solve that, by carrying a notebook and pen with you everywhere?
And before someone weighs in with the inevitable "but virtual keyboards are totally cool, bro": I get it, they can be quick, but no they're not. Not when you switch between languages, not when you use a lot of technical or uncommon terms, and not when you appreciate a low typo-oops-correction rate.
Thinking about how easy it is to get distracted when I'm online 100% of the time, no access is probably a good choice. It's going to hurt but this is something I'm going to try. Good article.
If they are also friends, fine -- make after-work plans face-to-face. Otherwise, talk to them at work tomorrow.
YouTube will load faster, yes.
I mean, I get it, you have to rebalance, which sometimes calls for going overboard. Just don't get too excited about it being the One True Way. 50 years from now?
Fast forward to after college, I found myself at a career-y job I disliked. Each lunch break I loaded up my (shiny new 2011) Macbook Air with a few tabs-worth of chapters of How to Think Like a Computer Scientist  and headed to a Wendy's that didn't have an internet connection. So, for 45 minutes I could eat my spicy chicken nuggets and apply what I was learning from the book in console at a Python command line. It was so simple and fun, I was hooked. Within a month I was taking on programming-related responsibilities at work, soon thereafter auditing a class at Uni (I specifically chose cause it interested me), and within 4-5 months was being paid by my professor (from audited class) for web dev grant work, and a few more months and I was being paid as a developer by the University directly. The rest is history.
I think one key part of why it stuck the fourth time was because my routine allowed for 45+ minutes of time away from the internet each day with learning materials. The satisfaction of learning is incredible but more of a "slow drip" compared to the kind of instant satisfaction one can get by opening Netflix, Facebook, or whatever. Going without the latter during a key period I think changed my life.
 - http://openbookproject.net/thinkcs/python/english3e/
> job I disliked ... How to Think Like a Computer Scientist  ... and apply what I was learning from the book in console at a Python command line. It was so simple and fun
I'm struck by how the right guidance was also helpful. Actually making something new happen is rewarding (py console), you experience your progress. But it can be tricky to divide a topic into bite-sized things, that can be experienced. That's where guidance helps.
Unfortunately, some topics have so many layers, they're difficult to break down into these learnable, rewarding chunks (e.g. computational fluid dynamics).
So (if you don't mind a reframing) while the slow drip of a consistent routine over a long period was crucial, each drop gave fairly quick (though not immediate) gratification.
"How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind — from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist"
Once you see how subtly dark patterns borrowed from advertising and casinos tap deeply into your subconscious impulses without your knowledge, you will likely jettison any cavalier conception of things like Facebook, smartphone notifications, etc., and begin to treat them like the subversive, profit driven intrusions that they are.
> You probably don’t, and maybe it’s time to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.
That's where I stopped reading as obviously this article is not directed at me.
Unless there is a way to troubleshoot and fix remote servers in the middle of the night without internet.
But LOVE my audio books and podcasts and google maps and digital note pad and dictionary and wikipedia... And never feel guilty about those things.
But sure, better to get rid of the data connection than the smarts.
You seem to have dismissed the former entirely with "that doesn't seem sensible to me at all", and here leave it as only a last resort. I don't believe that's a useful way to view it. Use the tools you have available to modify your behavior.
You will need more willpower than what most people have, and so the problem remains.
A bad habit I can fall into as easily as breathing is a problem.
A bad habit I have to indulge in some effort to perform, puts me in the position of needing willpower to indulge in it!
Please don't do ad hominem; it is not conducive to a healthy discussion.
Fun (semi-related) story, I once had someone steal my mac power cable on a bus ride from Quito to Banos, Tungurahua in Ecuador http://bit.ly/2olVpLT and had to install putty on an internet computer from 2003 to get into a server to reboot a process. That was when I realized that Internet access was no longer a luxury for me.
It's true. This stuff is addictive, and I've known that for over two decades now. And I've been addicted ever since my older brother told me about the Internet when he went to university. I don't fool myself that I can stop anytime; I clearly can't. I don't want to. But it's true that it's sucking up way too much time.
I don't read books anymore because I read HN and Google+. I have trouble of focusing on boring administrative chores because there's always this info-driven dopamine boost within reach.
I'm a minimalist but it doesn't mean that i have nothing in my flat. I enjoy watching stuff on netflix or playing computer games.
Being a minimalist and have basically nothing is just another form of 'hi i'm peter and i did something to an unnecessary extreme, please look at me'.
No internet at home no one will do this. Lots of people will try it but will stop doing it and haven't learnt anything from it.
Being a minimalist means having that mindset and evaluating all the time but being content with the status quo. If you have the feeling that you are using the internet too much, reduce it somehow but not by removing it completely.
It is the same with diet: No one will keep there weight when dieting. Change your eating habbits instead.
I wish there were good software solutions, like a way to schedule a blacklist of websites on your phone and computer that you simply couldn't get around. Almost everything I've seen is set up to block access for children, or is easily bypassed. I feel like it's an area that could be a huge benefit to a lot of people.
Completely killing your home internet is extreme. I'd have to change careers, hobbies, and it would even interfere with friendships. But there's no reason why it has to be all or nothing.
For similar reasons, I've had trouble detangling from Facebook. 10 years ago, if a friend was getting married they'd send out announcements -- now they just "announce" it on Facebook, and if you don't log in that week, you don't find out about it.
So part of the reason it's hard to disconnect is because the previous methods of staying in touch have atrophied in favor of these new, more toxic systems.
Nevertheless, I'm trying a couple of things (with varied success -- I really do much better cold turkey):
- Trying to reward myself with internet time after I score enough points in Habitica (aka HabitRPG)
- Trying to turn off the modem at a certain time of night like 10 pm (I find I sleep better too -- might be coincidence but I've noticed the difference many times)
Ultimately what would help me would be a pay-per-use internet plan versus an "always on" internet plan. If I know that my plan fee increased after 20 hours / month, I'd have access when I needed it, but then I'd have to "save up" for special occasions like streaming a show. As of yet I haven't found an external limit that doesn't also make life too logistically challenging.
Pay-per-use would is an interesting idea, but if you live with other people it gets a little more complicated.
The best tool I've found is an app called Self Control. It puts rules into your hosts file and either blacklists certain websites or blocks all of them and whitelists the ones you want. It uses an external timeserver so you can't get around it by changing your computer clock, and it runs regular checks to make sure you don't just edit your hosts file yourself. It's really pretty good. And in theory you could set up scripts that would start up certain blocks at a scheduled time every day. The one huge problem though is that it's Mac only.
I don't think there's a way to completely fix the issue externally, but having some powerful tools for limiting yourself would go a long way in making it easier.
In retrospective, I wonder if we will have the same "relationship" with Internet our parents have with the TV, and if our children will behave the same with Internet as we do now regarding our pride not to use a TV anymore.
This is hardly new. People complained about individuals wasting their lives reading books all day too.
From the FAQ:
In my profile, what is noprocrast?
It's a way to help you prevent yourself from spending too much time on HN. If you turn it on you'll only be allowed to visit the site for maxvisit minutes at a time, with gaps of minaway minutes in between. The defaults are 20 and 180, which would let you view the site for 20 minutes at a time, and then not allow you back in for 3 hours. You can override noprocrast if you want, in which case your visit clock starts over at zero.
Thanks for the tip.
Not sure I agree with this entirely.
Sure, facebook/twitter/social media et al are obviously utter dross, but why cut yourself off from learning & knowledge like some sort of troglodyte?
People say books are great - and sure they are, but I have yet to find a book that 100% answers every question I have right there on the page as I am reading it. I frequently find myself thinking "hmm interesting - I wonder...." and look up stuff on the internet for more background/context/history/examples/whatever.
In my opinion curiosity is something that should be encouraged and not put on a rationed list of "things to do later, if you have the time"
My advice would be:
- delete all social apps
- star your immediate family contacts so that all other calls/notifications etc are silent
- stay observant and curious, and embrace the pursuit of knowledge & learning
This has resulted me to find and appreciate connections between various stuff, things I never would have in a analog fashion of only reading books(which I do as that deepens the knowledge).
The internet expands and augments our perspective with that of so many others in a searchable fashion with element of serendipity & discovery to it.
Social media may contain lots of irrelevant noise, but that doesn't define the internet, like reality shows don't define existence.Te web in general has been a extremely positive gift to me, and to spurn it is not a option for me at least.
However it is a whole different story when things, like a cable tv, affects every member of your family. I was faced with fierce objection when I brought out the idea to cut out cable tv, and removing all TV from home.
It seems to me that the market value of "media" is how much time people are willing to waste instead of doing other stuff. For instance facebook now worth about 400B. What happens to global economy if facebook doesn't exist and people divert their attention to do whatever they interested in?
- Install a nanny software to block time-sink sites at specific time (chrome nanny was an awesome tool)
- Schedule appointments in advance with your friends/relatives to keep the relationships active
- Enroll in social events to be around with people and work for a cause you care
- Go for group studies/writing workshops/book clubs etc to rekindle your passion of reading/writing
There're a hundred other hacks which you can use to ensure you're productive/social !
Apparently, people who tried to eat less were also more successful in losing weight.
Cutting off home internet is the option of less eating. Seems more drastic, but is actually more tuned to how our brains work.
Your suggestion is similar to doing more exercise. It can also work, but it is just a whole lot more work and cognitive overhead.
Besides, its not like the author is asking people to go off the grid.
- Productivity is the be all, end all of life
- It's somehow wrong to "waste your time" with things like Netflix, Gaming, etc.
I do agree with some of the less extreme sentiments here on HN that it's good to be more conscious about how you use your "internet time". I quit Facebook, and it has gained me more time to use for other stuff, and it strengthened the most important relationships in my life.
What good advice would any viewer give to a life I just described? How could anyone (I) separate the Internet from a home life when being off that grid for a weekend could cause catastrophic failure without the dev leader their to fix it?
I've learned that I am very sensitive to physical spaces in my life, and I have made an effort to set "space boundaries" for myself to help with my tendencies. For example, I got rid of my desktop computer, replaced it with a laptop, and got rid of my desk in my room. It was calling me every day to sit down and use my computer for hours on end. It's been that way since childhood - the habit is deeply ingrained.
Now, I use my room for relaxation and I try to keep it that way. I'm not perfect, but when I have to work from home I make sure I don't do it in my room. I sit at the dining room table most times, and that has become a "work space" for me. I've trained myself to not work in my room, and, while I still use my computer and the internet in there, I only use it for personal things.
This solution is still in flux for me. So far it has been successful in turning my room into a relaxation space, which was a real lack in my life before. I hope that helps!
Also, more/better automation and fallbacks, an employee to cover all these extra shifts you're working, or trade out time with a colleague where you cover for each other which brings you back to having two dev leaders.
Either the business is successful and you can hire another 2nd leader; or can merge with a competitor to gain the 2nd leader and more resources of some sort (you have too many customers too little infra, so look for a company with underutilized infra). Or it's actually not that successful and is using your life 24/7 as life support for itself and it's past time to cut it loose.
I actually block a lot of stuff in /etc/hosts, and that helps temper habits. Deleting Facebook is up there in the top 10 greatest things I've ever done with my life. It re-expanded my whole universe, reintroducing such things as mystery and intrigue. There was a kind of perpetual 'wavefunction collapse' that Facebook imposed on my social and spiritual outlook. I really needed to let that one 'decohere' permanently.
When I say delete, I mean delete, as in https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=224562897555674
Pro-hacker-trick: If you want to get all of your activity off of facebook, open your activity page and put a heavy object on your keyboard's 'down arrow' key. Then wait for an hour or two while it loads the entire endless scrolling page. Once it finishes, use your browser's save feature to save a web archive. Now you have a record of all the links you've posted on that damn thing.
I wish it was easier to extract content off of facebook. Going through the process of doing it myself really drove home how parasitic the platform really is.
It's a non-committal way of writing that I've been seeing lately. As if you need to pre-empt and soften the possible "no" answer to your yes or no question.
Pointing out the obvious fact that it's not necessary doesn't serve any purpose.
I remember the days before the internet and mobile phones. They weren't better (well, apart from being young and fit and knowing I was immortal, obviously). We like these things for a reason.
Yep, can confirm that. I haven't had any Internet in my student flat in the past 1 1/2 years and am thriving on it :-) I have Internet at university and when I go home for the weekends, so I'm not cut off from the world; but I do need to much more deliberate in how I spend my time online.
One of the biggest advantages: I have time to read books again. As a kid I was a voracious reader, but that decreased in high school, partly because I was spending the time on the web instead. Giving myself the opportunity to go back to books has been tremendously satisfying. (HN and the Internet is great, but you learn so much more through books.)
I spend much more time in the office, because the Internet connection works. But that makes me use office time to live my online life, instead of doing company work.
killing the home internet is an obvious click bait.
I suggest for people who have a serious problem, to try out time-managers and site-blockers.
When I was going through a highly unproductive phase, I used ColdTurkey. The software's not too good and if you're really craving for a fix, you'll find a way to get past it. But, for the regular procrastinator it does wonders for productivity.
Don't be rash and cut out one of the most important utilities there is just because you're having some issues.
Do be intelligent and work around the issue.
I agree. As for me, I'm a remote worker but I rent a desk in a coworking space, which means I can use their high speed internet for hours every day. That's a lot of time to acquire information and do chores.
So the consequence of not having internet at home would be, basically, that I'm offline between 7 PM and 9 AM, or whatever. When I've lived without internet before, I've spent a couple of hours on weekend days in cafes checking my websites.
It's not necessarily a horrible austerity. For me, I've always experienced an offline home as very relaxing, nice, and peaceful. (Of course there are many factors which can make it impractical, e.g. family.)
Perhaps it is my young age, but all the people I know are effectively lepers if they're not, atleast, connected to the internet.
I was rash in assuming everyone was similar. Now that I think of it, there are older people that wouldn't miss a beat if they took time away from the internet.
I just discovered the public library which is great for getting work done, but I have to leave my room to get there. Most cafes either don't have wifi or impose a time limit w/ a user/pass login (so changing mac address won't defeat it).
I'm mostly finding it makes me more productive, though it's sometimes frustrating if I need to search for a quick Stack Overflow answer.
Basically, I pass my days in my idle ways, and I don't think it matters what the medium. I can say that I don't pass my days on social media, its tedious.
I noticed I did that and decided to just leave my phone in my pocket and watch it directly with my eyes. You feel so much more connected with the moment and your kids value the eye contact.
I was thinking about cutting off internet, but the other members of my family would go bonkers.
No thanks. Removing internet from my home won't make me more productive, in fact it will make me less productive, as I won't be able to get information instantly, like a recipe for the things that are soon about to go off in my fridge.
At what point becomes productivity and efficiency an addiction as well? Don't we already call those people workaholics?
Coming home to a house without internet is a very special feeling to me, aside from concerns about time management or getting stuff done. It's just peaceful. I come home and can immediately focus on, for example, cooking, reading a book, meditating, exercising, etc.
The entire stackoverflow dump is about 10 Gig.
When I actually do visit Facebook, I use a private window. That way I won't forget to log out.
1. to retire early
2. if you are in america, to ensure you can afford to live someplace where the schools are good for your kids. A sad state of affairs but it is what it is.
3. assuming you enjoy your work, to make some positive difference in the world before you inevitably die.
4. if you do not enjoy your work, then so you can get your hateful work done sooner, and then have time to do what you actually want to do.