Regular internet detox tips?

Over the past few years I’ve heard a few friends talk about plans to get off the internet for one day a weekend, one weekend a month, etc. Each of the past two years I’ve tried to take 3-4 days off the internet, and both times it has been rejuvenating- I come back feeling pretty invigorated, focused, etc. But that feeling didn’t last too long last year and I doubt it will this year.

Small waterfall on the side of a trail off Skyline Drive, Virginia, May 2011

 

 

So … do any friends who have tried similar things have tips or thoughts on how to do an internet detox on a more regular basis and actually make it both effective and sustainable? I imagine that the “make it sustainable” part inevitably involves advice on how to handle email, work, twitter, etc. while you’re gone. Twitter and greader I’m actually pretty good with just “mark it read and move on” but that’s much harder with email for me.

14 thoughts on “Regular internet detox tips?”

  1. I often think it’d be more valuable to just confine the Internet to certain periods during the day (don’t check it on phone whenever bored, don’t sort of zone out reading crap on the Internet instead of going to bed, that kind of thing).

    But I haven’t had a lot of luck accomplishing that. ;-)

  2. Get interesting stuff in computer (reading, writing, playing) & your regular connection space. Unplug modem/router. Turn off smartphone then grab an old non-internet phone for emergencies so you don’t feel too much in Bora-Bora or Zipolite.

  3. Well … I’m hardly one to give advice on this although I do get regularly dragged to places without internet. (And I think it’s a conspiracy to get me offline, especially since my 4yo pointed out that I couldn’t check my email while camping in Wyoming. And then at Lake Powell everyone’s phone but mine worked … definitely something up there.)

    I personally have to go some where I *can’t* check it either because there’s no cell network or because I didn’t bring anything to connect with.

  4. I’m kinda with Havoc; I think the idea is fundamentally wrong. The key is to focus on doing interesting stuff and not wasting time. I do lots of interesting stuff and the internet makes it better. I go snowboarding…but I check the weather report online first, and put pictures online when I’m done. I play golf…after checking the weather and booking a tee time online. I read books…which I download from the internet. I go on interesting trips…which I plan on the internet. Just focus on doing specific things you really want to do, and don’t waste time doing nothing in particular (too often) – whether that’s sitting in front of the computer reading stupid websites or sitting in front of the TV watching stupid programming doesn’t really matter.

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  6. I have found success instituting a rule like “no computer after 10pm”. It turns out that I mostly goof off after that point (compulsively reload news, etc.) and without that I either read or get sleep, which allows me to focus more the next day.

    (PS: when I tabbed through the comment form it started a spinner in the “website” box that never stopped. Dunno if you’re responsible for that.)

  7. Hi Luis,

    In spite of my snark, I have managed to stay mostly internet free 2 evenings a week plus the weekend for the past few years.

    Here’s some tips:
    * Have kids – they’ll keep you busy
    * Get into an off-line activity – it could be walking, gardening, cycling, whatever. That will allow you, potentially, to find other people with the same activity, which will allow you to:
    * Have a regular off-line appointment. I joined an athletics club a few years ago, and that’s a 7pm meeting with no internet twice a week. I also go for a run on the weekend usually.

    It doesn’t have to be running – a chess or Go club, a class you take weekly, whatever – actually going somewhere with a regular appointment is a great way to create a positive habit to break a negative one.

    In general human contact will do the trick. If people are expecting your presence at something with real people there, then you will tend to be there.

    Cheers,
    Dave.

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