No Home Internet Experiment

Right now I am trying a little experiment. I notice that I get easily distracted on the internet. Actually, the way the modern internet is designed, it’s actually made to be super distracting. Any content creator, including myself, posts links to other articles to entice people to view more of their content. This is just a good practice and also keeps people engaged. The thing is, companies like Google and Facebook take it a step further. While I will post static links to other content that is relevant to a blog post I am writing, these companies will write algorithms to dynamically post links of related content. These algorithms not only take into effect the current content, but also examine your browsing history to hone in even more specific content it can link you to. If you ever watch a YouTube video and see all the related videos, this is exactly what I mean.

It’s easy to do something such as check your email and then get derailed for hours and effectively accomplish nothing in that timeframe. I found myself doing this a lot. I decided I was going to do a little experiment and get rid of my home internet. I know for someone that works in the tech industry, this sounds very extreme, but I was designing a system that eliminates the distractions so I can start focusing on the stuff I really want to accomplish. This is no different than getting rid of all junk food lying around the house when you are going on a diet.

Prior to me eliminating the internet, I made sure my air card was fast enough at my apartment so I could continue to fulfill my on call duties when my turn came up in the rotation. It did turn out to be fast enough. I also made a plan on where to use the internet because I still had my online classes and also didn’t feel like cutting myself off fully from the modern world. I found that there is free internet by the fitness center and pool of my apartment. There is also a public library and Starbucks down the road and a ways further away, a McDonalds with internet. Also, in a pinch, I could tether my cell phone and use the data plan from that but that would obviously be in an emergency since I have 1GB of data and don’t feel like spending more money for more data.

Before I came up to Wisconsin, I cancelled my service and turned in my router. I was up in Wisconsin for 2 weeks and had internet at my parent’s house. The first day truly without internet was August 31st. So far it hasn’t been too bad. I find myself way less distracted and actually getting more things done. I have made a huge list of things to do and also have a pile of books I’m starting to read.

If I do need to use the internet, there are obviously barriers to using it. As of right now in September, it’s still 90+ degrees in Texas. That means to use internet, I need to sit outside on a picnic table in the hot weather, often with the sun beating down. If I go to Starbucks or McDonalds I need to go down the road to get there and also buy something. I am also limited to the 2-3 hour battery life of my laptop. Basically, to use the internet, it isn’t the most convenient and can be a pain in the ass.

One thing I’ve found so far is I’m way more productive both online and offline. When I am offline, I can’t quick check something online and become distracted for hours. When I do go online, I usually have an agenda of what needs to be done and stick to it. Between sitting in the hot weather and also the limited battery life of my laptop, I need to make sure I am efficient when I go on the internet. It will be interesting how this experiment does turn out. I am keeping track of things in a journal and tempted to start another blog on it. I am actually posting this sitting on a picnic bench next to the fitness center and pool of my apartment.

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