As I set my goals this year, I started by thinking about some of what I had been struggling with during the previous year.
I was frazzled.
I felt pulled in all directions.
I wasn’t paying enough attention to any of my children during “school time”.
I was exhausted.
I determined that there were a couple of things contributing to these problems. One was biological.
I have this amazing device that sits open a good portion of my day. Its home is right at the end of the dining room table.
It’s my Macbook Pro.
And while I was “teaching” it sat there open.
I heard my e-mail notifications.
I heard my Facebook notifications.
So I would stop by and “just check my e-mail really quickly.” Frequently.
Unfortunately the “really quickly” was rarely quick. Usually I saw something to respond to, a link to check, or I thought of something clever to post on Facebook. And the next thing I knew, 30 minutes had passed, and I had several kids waiting on me to help them with something. (Sometimes they were physically waiting, more often, they just quit doing their school work and disappeared.)
I was frustrated when I was interrupted, but I was almost always doing something where my children would have to interrupt.
Finally, I realized what I had to do.
I needed clear and defined times when my laptop (and my Kindle Fire) were off-limits. Completely. No exceptions.
So I did it.
I made 8-11 am a “NO computer time”. The laptop was closed and put away. We also set 6-8 pm as off-limits for both my husband and me.
I have to confess it has been HARD.
At first, I had to be extremely legalistic about the hours. I would find myself nearly desperate to open the laptop. Really. It was pathetic.
Addicted to Distraction
Once I got used to my new off computer hours, I felt like I had mastered my addiction, so I let the hours be a little more flexible. And I would occasionally pick up my Kindle Fire at 9:30 or so, just to see if there was anything important.
Then I realized that I was slowly sliding right back into the same pattern of distraction during our morning school hours. I realized, that like a recovering alcoholic should avoid bars, I needed the strict rules. Legalistic or not.
So even though there are definitely times when I don’t need to be working with any of my children in the morning I do NOT allow myself any computer time during those hours.
What have I been doing instead?
Folding the laundry
These are all things that I either enjoy or need to do that were getting pushed aside because of the amount of time I was wasting on the computer.
I have a long way to go. And with summer coming, I may not keep the same off-limits hours. But then again, it may be best to keep on with my routine.
How about you? Have you been able to successfully decrease your computer usage permanently? How do you do it?