Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Making Peace With the Internet

I decided Sunday night when I was sitting at the front of a new week that I was going to make peace with the internet.

There is a lot I love about the internet. It connects us. It's useful and informational and entertaining.

We also know the internet has the potential to be destructive and a time-waster, and can suck the very joy out of our lives.

My biggest beef with the internet personally is when it keeps me from being productive. There are times when I close the laptop and think, I think I could've done a lot more with the last 45 minutes of my life than I just did, and I have nothing to show for it except being totally up-to-date on the trip a friend from high school took to Rome.

So several weeks ago, I made a deal with myself. My getting on the internet had a lot to do with checking to see if things had changed... checking my email, checking on my business, checking my Facebook... so I decided I could get on twice a day, once at 11 am and once at 5 pm to see what had changed in my little spots on the internet. It was somewhat effective. I got a lot accomplished before logging on.  But whoops, I needed to pull up the internet to follow that recipe I was making for dinner, and that couldn't wait til 5 pm. I needed to pull up the internet to transfer some money from checking to savings. I need to pull up the internet to see if the chair I'm watching on KSL has dropped in price. And part of me would say, "Oh, good, I'll get on really fast AND see if I have email," and the more disciplined part of me would say, "You will not, you will get on, get what you need, and get back off." This battle has been going on for awhile.

And sometimes when I had been really diligent at staying off the computer until my designated times, and then discovered not much had happened, like I hadn't gotten responses from the emails I was hoping to, it made me grumpier than I'd like to admit.

Darn, I knew the internet could have an affect on my mood, and I don't like the way it makes me feel when I allow it to. 

So this is what I decided Sunday night after a good day of church. I know Heavenly Father cares about (what seem like) the trivial matters of my life, and I prayed for help this week to use the internet better than I have been... and this is what I was able to come up with.

The internet is like a catalog and a recipe book and a phone directory and a newspaper and a bank and a mailbox and I might have to access it several times a day. But when I do, before I click on that link or press play on that YouTube video or even log in to Facebook at all :), I stop and think, is this going to bring me up or bring me down? I imagine an up and a down arrow sitting in the top corner of my laptop. Sometimes the answer is, down. I know that the real reason I want to search for new recipes for dessert is so that I can avoid vacuuming the house, and I know that I will feel better when the house is vacuumed than I will with six new pins on my Pinterest dessert board, and so I close the laptop and grab the vacuum. Sometimes the answer is, up, my sister is in New York this week and I want to know if she got my message or posted any new pictures. 

I'm happy to say that it's been working. And that's how I have made peace with the internet this week.


Katie & Michal said...

Please tell me that I am your lucky friend who you were following about my trip to Rome. Britt - I just love you!

Jessica said...

I have felt the same way about the internet as well! It is so consuming. The rule I try to use now I heard at BYU women's conference last year. The speaker said when we use the interenet, "we should go with a purpose, and leave when done." I have a sticky note next to my screen with that written on as a reminder! It helps so much.

Amy Lyne said...

It is so true isn't it?! Just try having 3 kids and you won't have time for the internet anymore :) Ha!

Angela Noelle said...

This is a great post! My biggest time suck is image editing. I think, "Ooo, I could create a favicon for that person," or "I could create a button for that," and what is meant to be a few moments tinkering because a full-blown photoshop extravaganza and pursuit of perfection. /sigh

P.S. Good luck with toilet training!

Darcee/Daryl said...

Love it! I actually ended up deleting my facebook.....too many people expected me to be following their daily activities.......but I still waste a lot of time. I'm going to try that! thank you for sharing.