Are You An Internet Addict?
Are you spending increasing amounts of time in front of your PC, phone or tablet screen? Are you getting less done than ever? Is your need to check things online causing problems? You might be an Internet Addict.
Dictionary.com defines and addiction as:
If you are finding that internet usage if causing any of the following, it’s time to make a change:
- Making you unproductive in work.
- Stopping you from spending quality time with friends and family (and upsetting them as a result)
- Stopping you from looking after yourself.
- Making you feel anxious when you are without access to the internet.
Monitor, Identify and Alter
Once you have accepted you are and internet addict and you want to make a change, its time to:
- Monitor your usage.
- Identify your triggers.
- And then alter your behavior.
Monitoring Yourself & Identifying Triggers
The internet is ingrained into our everyday life and almost impossible to avoid. If your job or family requires you have devices connected to the internet, a cold turkey approach can be impossible.
By monitoring how you use your internet connected devices and identifying the triggers that change your internet usage from healthy to damaging, you can learn strategies to avoid falling into traps.
Start By Monitoring What You Do.
Writing down when you are using your internet connected devices is a flawed way of monitoring yourself. You will underestimate how long you’ve actually been online or simply just forget before you get to a pen and paper. Internet addicts, like any addicts can lie to themselves.
However there are app’s that can help you monitor what you do without you having to do anything.
Rescue Time is a time management application that can be installed on your phone, tablet and PC (or Mac). It monitors exactly what you do on these devices and produces detailed reports on your usage. It will help you to see the times of day you are most distracted and show you the applications you spend most time on.
You can then use this information to set goals or to block distracting websites.
Identifying Your Triggers
Using the information you have collected from Rescue Time, you will be able to see when it is you start to lose control of your internet usage.
Spotting the triggers is simple, for example you may notice:
- At 7AM when you wake up, you go straight to Facebook for 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes on Instagram and a further 40 checking various news websites. Your trigger isn’t waking up – it is having access to these things when you first wakes up.
- Once in work you might check your emails as your first task. This may then lead to hours browsing useless websites.
There are plenty of ways you can get sucked into losing hours online. You need to really look at the data and think about how you use smartphone, tablet or PC.
Altering Your Behavior
Once you have spent time monitoring your behavior and identifying your triggers, you can adjust how you act to avoid falling into your most common traps.
Lets take the waking up and spending time on your smartphone;
With this you are starting the day negatively before you have even got up. Once you have started looking at useless information on the net, it’s hard to adjust what you do for the rest of the day.
So instead of having your phone by your bed, leave it in another room the night before, make sure you are up and ready before you pick up your mobile.
“But its my alarm!”
Either buy yourself a cheap alarm or switch your phone onto airplane mode, and plug it in AWAY from your bed.
At first it may be difficult to separate yourself from your phone in the evening, but you will soon get used to it and be able to start the day with your best foot forward.
Small changes like this can make all the difference, but they might not be enough.
Going Cold Turkey
For some people going cold turkey is impossible. With work and family commitments it can be hard. But not always as hard as you think!
If your smartphone is the trigger get rid of it! Swap it for a phone that just makes calls and texts!
Going smartphone free can be a liberating experience, don’t allow false obstacles get in your way. That WhatsApp group you’re in probably doesn’t have any useful information in it. If you don’t catch an email immediately, it can usually wait. And if it’s an email that really can’t wait, the person will phone you.
Really ask yourself if the excuses you are giving for having a smartphone are as important as you think.
It’s the same for your tablet and PC! It’s easy to think of excuses that will enable your behavior, try writing them down and then reading them back to yourself. Are they really things that matter, or just ways of allowing yourself to remain chained to the internet?
Only You Can Make The Change!
Many people don’t understand how damaging internet adiction can be. And telling everyone your addicted to the internet may not get you a great deal of sympathy. That’s not to say talking it through with those close to you won’t help.
But there is only one person who can really help you and that’s YOU!
Write down why it is not being hooked to the internet will help you and when you feel your losing control again, go back to it. Always keep in mind the damage wasting time on line does to you, don’t allow yourself to be an internet addict!