Saturday, June 12, 2010

addiction, habit, what-have-you

In my ongoing attempts to scale back my Internet habit I have switched back to Firefox from Google Chrome so I can use the Time Tracker add-on for Firefox. My goal is less than two hours of Internet time a day, which sounds simultaneously decadent and difficult. Decadent because, come on. Two *hours*? When there are people who walk miles a day to get water and wood to cook with? Poor widdle me, wif my two widdle hours! Difficult because, ack! Only two hours!

Time Tracker doesn't track while you're idle (mine considers 'idle' to be 30 seconds without mouse movement, the default is 60) and can be set to not track particular sites at all (I don't track Pandora or this blog server, for instance.)

If I can't do this the next alternative for me is to not have an exclusive computer, and put this one into communal use. I don't kick the kids off the computer unless I have to look something up like a recipe or a phone number, and I give it right back. The interesting thing about that scenario is the lack of stress involved. I'm much more likely to be jonesing for my computer when it's MY computer, and not in use unless I'm using it. When I shared a computer with the kids before I got this one I didn't resent it at all, even though there were days when I didn't get on. Maybe I should just do that.

Is this all part of the bargaining addicts do rather than quit for real? Probably. But maybe I'm not addicted so much as a heavy user. If I can control my habit, then I'll know. If I can't then I'll deal with it then. Gulp.

Here's a guy who has asked himself the same questions: Slate columnist James Sturm is halfway through his four-month Internet hiatus. After the first shock it seems to be largely a non-event. Could it be that easy? [Offline: What happened when I gave up the Internet](