I came across these questions somewhere, but I cannot find the thread, so I’m just going to post it here
Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m evasslef. I see that a lot of people are giving their real name, but I’m kind of paranoid about attaching mine to a username under which I’m revealing so much personal information. So feel free to call me Eva. I’m in my mid 30’s and female. I live in a small city in the Midwest of the USA.
What do you want to improve about your internet use?
I need to decrease the amount of time I spend on the internet immensely. My home currently does not have internet service, so I started using my phone’s data almost exclusively for about a year. I’m pretty sure it has only gotten worse since I’ve practically become chained to my phone.
I downloaded the QualityTime app and, despite the fact that I knew my usage was bad, seeing it in numbers was sobering. I have used it as a crutch and as an escape, but looking back, the time really all runs together. It’s not like I have anything to show for it.
What are your goals for the next year?
I’d like to reduce my reliance on the internet
I would like to improve my social life, making new friends and reviving connections in friendships that have gotten more distant
I want to improve my health and reduce stress and anxiety
I want to save money by spending more time preparing meals and less time eating prepared food
I want to keep a more organized house so that I can enjoy living in it
I know that sounds like a lot, but I’m not expecting perfection in anyone area. I would take gradual improvement that I can maintain and improve upon over going all-in and backsliding later.
What are you most excited about in terms of our growing community?
I’m looking forward to talking with people that I relate with and getting suggestions from people who are actually living a better life or or are working to overcome.
I understand your concerns about privacy. Though Alex is my real name an I really doubt that anyone can make anything out of it, I surely don’t entertain sharing my surname
I’m quite the opposite in terms of net usage, I have a laptop at home with web access, but of gadgets I have an e-ink reader with no access and a dumbphone, too with no access. It’s good, because whenever you’re outside, you can’t access the net this way.
What are your plans in improving your social life? In the modern age, it’s even trickier to make new connections offline than online!
I’m currently at the same page about foods. Last month I almost exclusively ate processed and fast food and that was nightmarish. Can you cook well? What are your fav meals?
Hey Eva! I think the thread you might have been looking for is this one: WELCOME TO THE NOSURF COMMUNITY! - Introduce Yourself!. I stickied it when I made it but Discourse is a little strange with stickied threads, after you click them once they no longer show at the top! So I can see how it would have been tough to find the welcome thread again (the last reply is from 5 days ago so it’s probably far down on the “latest” list).
I really enjoyed reading your intro! I found your home situation really interesting. Did you always not have internet at home? Was it a NoSurf related decision? Something else?
A lot of people voice their computer being their biggest time sink but my story is very similar to yours in that I was part of the smartphone crowd. For me it was super easy to just sprawl out on my bed and surf social media on my phone for 5 hours at a time, whereas my laptop use (though still a problem) I found was a little easier to manage.
Do you know if there are any phone service providers that are in your area which feature pre-paid data? I remember one guy using that as his NoSurf strategy. He would only put $5 or $10 worth of data for the month on his phone so that he would run out as opposed to being on an unlimited plan.
I always found the idea of introducing some kind of element of scarcity in internet access interesting. I’ve wondered what effect it would have on people who aren’t happy with the way they’re spending their time online.
Where this thought stems from: I’ve noticed there’s something about the illusion of time abundance that makes people make really poor decisions. When people get a terminal illness or have a near-death experience they wake up from the illusion and understand that wow I’m not going to be around forever. Their lives often change dramatically for the better once a degree of scarcity that was always there, but not accurately perceived, is re-introduced into their lives. Priorities are re-arranged. Time allocation is changed. Actions is taken towards the pursuits they’ve deemed most important and most fulfilling in life.
Unfortunately it isn’t easy for a person to become enlightened in that way without actually going through a powerful emotional experience like a near death experience. But I do wonder what would happen if scarcity was introduced not on a big picture how-much-time-do-i-have-left in my life level, but on a smaller how-much-time-do-i-have-left on the internet level.
If someone knew only had 8 hours a week of internet this week, would their pie chart breakdown of the time they spend on websites change? Would that person visit entirely different sites altogether? Like maybe a friend meetup site instead of a newsfeed. Or a programming course instead of a gifs page?
Would running out of time motivate that person to go outside, meet people, and pick up hobbies?
Maybe, maybe not. But it’s something I’ve definitely thought about in the past and would love to see someone in the community try at some point.
Some related questions I’ve pondered before: Do we need unlimited internet access? Does unlimited access make our lives better or worse? Could limited hours of internet access make our lives better?
The only downside with the prepaid data approach is that in the beginning of most people’s NoSurf journey, willpower and discipline tend to be really difficult to exercise. There’s always that chance that you could go out and add more data to the card, but I think for anyone considering this strategy, it still makes sense to try it first before assuming it will fail immediately. There’s been some really simple systems I’ve stumbled across that have worked wonders for people. One guy I spoke with puts his laptop in his car at 7pm everynight and for him its the difference between a night filled of surfing and a good nights sleep.
Using the right software may be something worth exploring in the initial stages. On computer it’s really easy for me to recommend Cold Turkey, but I know from experience the situation on mobile is very different. All I’ve ever used on iPhone is restrictions to block certain apps (with a friend being the only one who knows my restrictions password). The new Screen Time app coming with iOS 12 is something I’m really interested in playing with. If it works on a password based system like restrictions, then it’s going to be awesome.
With regards to android phones, I know @Nik has a lot of experience with app and internet blocking.
Dumbphones are also an option on the table. I used one for several months and it was once of the best things I ever did in my life. It was a life-changing experience.
It’s great to see you’re working on your social life! It’s an area of my life I’ve neglected for far too long and am only realized the importance of it recently. Have you thought about the first 3 steps you could take to help you accomplish this goal? What I’ve done so far is hosted a game night at my home with a couple of my close friends (I’ve never hosted anything before). Was curious if you have any ideas you’ve thought of that I might be able to learn from
“I know that sounds like a lot, but I’m not expecting perfection in anyone area. I would take gradual improvement that I can maintain and improve upon over going all-in and backsliding later.”
This is a beautiful mentality. Have you ever heard of the philosophy of kaizen? I suspect you might have, but if you haven’t you’d probably love having a name for what you’re already practicing
@seamus_tbnh - Thanks for the reply. Yes, the privacy thing is a little paranoid, but I have accidentally gone in the other direction before and am trying to be careful now.
I would like to switch to a “dumb phone” at least some of the time, but I use my phone for so much right now. I do internet banking, use texts to keep in touch, snapchat to see videos of my niece and nephew that live several hours away. I use a notebook app to make to do lists and jot down ideas (which has been more successful than any physical list I have ever used). I listen to podcasts and audiobooks sometime (but would like to do that more). I have a medication reminder app and I reorder my rxs on it. And those are not really my “problem areas”. I have an old e-reader, but it doesn’t have a touch screen.
I am a terrible cook and I don’t really enjoy it, so I am trying to stick to simple things right now. I also hate cleaning, so it is a touch mix :). I am thinking of trying a couple of cooking classes, which would help with the social thing and the cooking thing.
As for my social life, that is going to be the most difficult thing. I have a history of doing okay with initiating friendships, but a terrible time maintaining them, especially when I get depressed or especially anxious. Because of the situation I describe below, I am extremely hesitant to reach out and try to make friends.
I came across a fantastic group that started up on meetup and built some friendships through there, but the group wandered away from me… as in, I we didn’t have any blowup or issues that I am aware of, but I was slowly ghosted(?) out of the group. One of my main friends there moved further away and the main host (who I also considered a pretty good friend) slowly stopped inviting me. It turned out that I wasn’t really that close to the other people at all, I was so upset about this that I considered cutting everyone off completely, but I’ve settled for seeing them occasionally. However, I’ve completely backed off from our shared hobby because I feel like I am unwelcome, even at open events. Even talking about it is hard, probably because I felt so abandoned. I thought that I have found “my people”, but I guess they didn’t think so.
Anyways, that is depressing, but I’m still trying to build myself up. Even if I don’t want to do something, I am trying to say yes to anything suggested by the acquaintances and friends I do have and even to make tentative suggestions.