My NoSurf Journey


#1

Thought I’d start a progress journal. I already introduced myself before but I’m gonna tell a bit about myself here too, maybe updating some info. Basically, I met at a friend’s party this girl from another country who wasn’t really on the internet, no social media, I only got her mother’s email. She did talk to me about being on the phone the whole time, asking me if I used to be, which I answered no (at least not at that party). I started thinking about it. I don’t quite remember when I started thinking about internet addiction but I think it might have started around this time. I also don’t remember when or how I found the NoSurf subreddit either. I got into NoSurf around one year ago, I think.

During this time, I’ve read the NoSurf subreddit and moved over the NoSurf website when it began. I’ve adopted some of the software recommended in here and I’ve started tracking my phone and computer usage. My phone usage decreased a lot and my laptop appeared as a problem. At some point, I accidentally took Rescue Time from the apps that start with the computer, so there’s a blank space in laptop time measurement.

When I started measuring my phone usage (around the end of march and the beggining of april), according to the app I use, my highest phone time in the first week was less than 36 min and my unlocks were under 13 times per day. WhatsApp has been the most used app in my phone ever since. Nowadays, my phone usage has been a little higher than that sometimes, not passing 1h50m though. With time, more apps appear on my measurement.

On my computer, my first correctly logged week logged a total of 25h 15m. Last week it logged 10h 8m in total. Recently I moved to a new country, in a historic turistic city and we explored the city a little so that helped keep my numbers down. On the week prior to the moving, it logged 30h 41m in total, with most being YouTube, cause I listen to music a lot. I’ve been trying to change my music listening habits and it’s on the works.

I do not use my phone, tv, computer after 8 PM and use only one hour after I woke up. I have a sticker I got from gogray.today on my phone. It says “This way up” and goes on the back of the phone. If anyone is interested, you can get one from their website, gogray.today

I’m at at hotel right now. I don’t know what to do because it’s a touristic city, so there’s not much else to do other than visiting museums and churchs. I recently found the multimedia room, where there are computers, and I found it would be a good idea to use it to access NoSurf rather than from my laptop. It didn’t quite work today because I decided to check my email and I only do it on my computer, trough Mozilla Thunderbird, which is not a website, so I also listened to some music and got caught by the recommendation system on YouTube and my morning was gone.

I’m at the multimedia room, alone, and decided to start a journal. I’d like to start a physical journal, journaling, writing about my day to pass the time and maybe keep this progress journal updated, but I only brought a pen but no paper or notebook to write on, so it’s a little difficult. Maybe I’ll start learning a bit more about meditation and mindfulness. I’m sharing the hotel room with my sister, so I’m not alone. I’m not sure about getting an accountability partner. I think maybe having someone to talk about NoSurf related stuff and maybe get to know each other would be cool, but I’m not entirely sure, though. I do talk to my mom a little about internet addiction and mention some facts I’ve seen but she doesn’t seem interested. Maybe having someone who would be interested in talking about it could be cool.
Since I’m gonna be on vaccations until September, I have a lot of free time. My mom and my sister will go back home in my country and move in the end of the year and my dad will be here working, so I’ll be alone during August, so I thought I could make friends, but I’m not sure how. If anyone knows something to do in a hotel or in a touristic city other than walking around visiting places or have any ideas in how to make friends in a city where I don’t know anyone, I accept suggestions.

I don’t think I have anything to add anymore. I went back in the text and added information, so I hope it doesn’t get confusing. Hope I’ll keep this journal updated regularly.


#2

Here’s a thread on music I made a while ago: The changes that drive social media will soon drive music

I think these effects combined with the youtube algorithm can definitely keep you on it for hours. I’d recommend switching to Pandora/Spotify so at least the sidebar recommendations aren’t an issue and also don’t conflate your time tracking data.

I’ve quit music for some time now and I did notice a lot of benefits from the silence. I felt the extra “quit space” everyday is really helfpul for keeping the stimulation threshold of your brain low and also good for creativity. Boredom and silence seems to free up cognitive resources for your brain to synthesize new ideas with.

I did notice however that music can help mood a lot when you’re feeling down so I listen to the “Ludovico Einaudi” and the “Classical Relaxation Radio” on Pandora a lot now. I tend to stay away from music that is electronic or has words.


#3

I did change my habits a bit. Before, I would listen to playlists with lots of different songs and I would listen downloaded songs on the bus, while walking around, almost everywhere. Before I moved, I had this schedule where I would listen to an entire album by an artist at given time after lunch and try to pay attention only to the music and do this all the weekdays and then, on the next week, listen to another album from the same asrtist or choose another artist on the “related artists” page of Spotify. I’m starting it again now, scheduling albums to listen to each day. This way, I can focus in one style of music from one artist without using it as background music. But only albums, no singles or EPs. Maybe this helps me appreciate music a little more. On the thread about music, you said about 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s music would be fine to listen to. Does something like Postmodern Jukebox, nowadays songs covered in an older style, count? Or is it the lyrics? And there’s also Electro Swing, which is like swing, from 1920s I guess, mixed with electronic. Would this count as well? Those are modern but with an old style touch


#4

I spent one whole hour on the hotel computer, mainly reading NoSurf and editing my profile and I totally forgot to update this journal so I’m doing this from the hotel’s bedroom. Today I left the hotel to play Ingress outside in the morning and came back to the hotel to watch a little of TV and in the afternoon I listened to a bit of music on my laptop but fell asleep at one moment and lost one or two songs from the album. Then I went to the pool and just sit on the chair and stayed there for 1h 30m. And then I came back to the room, watched some TV and then went to the hotel’s computer to check NoSurf. Then I came to the room and then I notice I forgot to update this on the way and updated it while watching TV, which didn’t let me focus so much on writing so I hope this isn’t confusing or anything. I’ll go out to eat dinner with my family and my parent’s friends. Gotta go now.


#5

So today, after breakfast, decided to look at my email, which I need to do on my computer and am not able to do on any computer other than mine, unlocked YouTube from K9 to listen to some new songs that were announced on my email, started listening to others and most of my time was gone. I also looked at some pictures on Instagram of a pornstar I think it’s cute (I’m talking about the face, not the body. I’m not there for the body.) and lots of tabs opened. I closed everything and left because the room needed to be cleaned. Me and my family went out to walk a little. We had lunch on a Burger King and came back to the hotel. On the afternoon, I left to play Ingress outside and meet another player. We spent the afternoon playing. At first, I didn’t like because people seemed to take the game too serious but then, once we started walking around, it was kind of fun. I came back to the hotel and came directly to the computer check NoSurf. That’s it so far.


#6

To be honest I’m not too sure about any of those genres. I’m not that music saavy myself. But it’s really the constant stimulation that I think is a problem. Where you’re kind of using it as a background noise to cover up the slightest hints of boredom or monotony.


#7

Today I checked my email and listened to some music. But I blocked YouTube again. So later on I left and me, my sister and my mom we were going to get the bus to the mall, but suddenly my sister claimed she wasn’t feeling good right when we were leaving the hotel and we didn’t go. We left her at the hotel and went walking around the city. I looked on some stores for some magazine that could be nice to read. Found nothing. Got into a book store. Looked around, nothing seemed of my liking. Remembered The Shallows, which I wanted to read. Found the name in this country’s language and showed the image of the book. They didn’t have it. We waited my sister to lunch. We lunched and then walked a little and went back to hotel. In the afternoon, a little after going to the hotel, we left to get the bus and go to the mall. My sister didn’t wanna go. We went without her. We went to the book store there but no book interested me. Also, The Shallows was sold out in all their stores and they didn’t have The Joy Of Missing Out, which I only found name in English. So we walked around the mall a little and my dad came from work to pick us up. Left a little sad with no book to read, thinking about the month and a half I have before classes begin that I’ll have not much to do. Arrived at the hotel and came to the hotel’s computer to check NoSurf and update this journey.

Going back to my not really used strategy. I’ll check RescueTime to see what I used the most during the week and then use K9 to block that and try to lower my usage on that specific website/program and then do it again every week, checking my usage and decreasing my usage one service at a time.

The most used this week is YouTube, with 4h 14m. So I blocked YouTube today earlier. Next week I’ll check to see if my usage lowered or if I need to persist on YouTube.


#8

I’m thinking a bit more on this whole thing of making a journal. I’m not sure I want to come back and post about my whole day. One thing is people asking me about something specific. Now, writing my whole day I think is too much work. Maybe if I post once in a week, maybe at the end of the week, to talk a little about my weekly usage and improvements related to NoSurf.


#9

I read @acertaincalmnesss story on internet addiction yesterday and the part about quitting the internet for 6 weeks was interesting. I have wanted to do this before but I always felt like things that are actually important would be missed. Like important messages and this kind of stuff. But I thought today that maybe nothing is so important that I can’t miss. And so I decided to try this as well.

Now, I’m not at a home of my own and I’m not sure when I’ll be home because I moved and the house needs to be set up (energy, water, etc.). So I can’t turn the internet off. Even if I was home I woudn’t be able to because I won’t live alone. So I’ll turn my devices’ internet off and hope I won’t try to come back to the internet, relying on willpower. Maybe this will work, maybe not. If it doesn’t work, I’ll wait till things get solved and try again

I’ll probably copy the “big list with suggestions on how to use the sudden free time you have from reducing your internet use” to a paper in case I need ideas on something to do.

I’ll probably be back later today just to check NoSurf one last time before leaving the internet. I hope I don’t give up before starting and that nothing gets on my way (not excuses, actual reasons)


#10

That is such a brave decision, CONGRATULATIONS !
Also, mind you, I also wasn’t able to really remove my home internet since I had a roommate at the time, I just removed the wifi-connection from my laptop so if I wanted to get back online, I would have to take the router off the wall (which was a rather difficult thing to do) and enter the long, complicated password again. I think this method worked for me because I was in such a now-or-never-!!! state of mind, panicked about ruining my entire future.
I wish you the best of luck with those 6 weeks!! In the beginning it might feel like something very substantially has been suddenly taken away from your life, like suddenly not having running water anymore or something, but you’ll get used to it quickly!!


#11

So yesterday I realized July has 31 days, not 30.

Also, I started to think maybe this is too extreme to do. But I won’t fall for that excuse, I’ll do it anyways.

Thanks. It was so last minute because I decided on July 30 to start on August 01 and didn’t even remember July had 31 days.

I’ll probably have to turn off the Wi-Fi on my computer/phone and try really hard not to connect. I can’t do anything to the Wi-Fi in itself, only my devices. I don’t know exactly if I would be able to do it since I never tried before. I hope this goes well

Thank you so much!! Also, I was thinking a month would be better than 6 weeks because it’s easier to measure. Maybe after that I end up deciding to continue without internet. If I come back, I plan on talking about in here and just that. Not going back to old habits, just NoSurf.

I hope so. I don’t want a month of suffering because of lack of internet


#12

If you think it’s too extreme, you can always leave the internet turned on on the less addictive one of your devices (if you have such a thing) - I left internet on on my phone because for some reason it never has been that addictive to me. It’s old and slow. But I could look up the weather at least or a train schedule or something!


#13

I didn’t mean that I think it’s extreme as if I didn’t want to do, I mean as an excuse I’m creating to not leave the internet. As if I would not be able to do some things without the internet. As if important things would come up and I would be losing them. But I really want to try and disconnect, at least from my computer. I really wanted to disconnect from everything, the internet in general.

I think I’m not as addicted to my phone as I am to my computer but sometimes I just randomly unlock my phone when I’m bored. Sometimes I’m having lunch with someone and unlock my phone and try to remember something I can show the person. A funny video I’ve seen online, sometimes I open Photos to see if there’s any photo I could show… Maybe someone sent me a photo I could show them…

I don’t think my phone is really a problem in itself, maybe if I block non-essential apps and turn off the internet/mobile data I can keep using my phone as a tool. My home screen looks a bit like the Light Phone 2 already. I really liked the idea of the Light Phone 2, of being a more basic phone, more of a tool.


#14

So I just made my phone more of a tool by blocking all apps with AppLock, with exception of calls, messages, clock and a few others. Numerical password on AppLock is the biggest I could set, even though I remember the password and can quickly set it. My home screen has Phone, a folder with Play Music, Maps and Uber, Contacts, Clock and Settings. My home button locks the phone if on home screen. No icon that opens app drawer or shows other apps, so can’t access easily. Set one color wallpapers, but that’s just to look more like the Light Phone 2. Actually, the whole home page looks a bit like the Light Phone 2, except icons instead of text, with touch instead of buttons on the side. I use the Nova Launcher because of personalization options, which means I can make my screen looks like that, with just the background image and the icons, nothing more. No notification bar as well.

That’s maybe the last time I post in here before I leave. But I’ll probably be back later today, if I’m not too busy with other things. Gonna live my life now.


#15

So this is probably the last time I post in here before my journey on this internet-free month. I don’t have much to say other than see you all in a month. I’ll be back to tell how it went, even if I don’t make it to the end


#16

Good luck enrrari, congrats on making such a strong decision for your future!! :facepunch::muscle:


#17

I’m back. I came back to my computer after a month some time ago, but I decided to share some weekly statistics here, starting with last week, so here it goes.

For the week of September 9, 2018, I logged 37h 20m on the computer with RescueTime. 4h 44m of that time was scored as “productive” or “very productive”, while 5h 34m was scored as distracting. I’m trying to limit my time on entertainment 5h 17m. What I really want to be spending more time on is real life, and I managed to spend 37h 20m out of it.


#18

My classes started on Monday. My computer usage should then go down, which it did, in general, but the distracting time went up a lot. My phone usage was higher than it should because I got a bit nervous on the first day when I didn’t know anyone and needed to find my classroom, which I later found thanks to the cleaning lady. And at night, when there was a dinner and I had to meet people but I didn’t remember anyone, so I stayed on the corner chatting with a friend about it and left without the dinner and made a sandwich home. And usually, when I get a bit nervous, I go to my phone to not be noticed by people and keep on doing nothing on it.

My phone usage was 5h 8m, with 114 unlocks. Last week I did not announce my phone usage so here it goes. Last week, my usage time was 1h 42m with 61 unlocks. It went from 1h 42m a week to 5h 8m. Really bad. I try only checking when necessary and by the end of the day, at 18h, checking again a few times between 18h and 20h, when I begin the evening protocol

For the week of September 16, 2018, I logged 26h 41m on the computer with RescueTime. 5h 14m of that time was scored as “productive” or “very productive”, while 8h 34m was scored as distracting. I’m trying to limit my time on entertainment 7h 56m. What I really want to be spending more time on is real life, and I managed to spend 26h 41m out of it.


#19

So I changed things a bit. I decided (and am already using this new tactic) to combine Cold Turkey and RescueTime to help me. I check the week’s use on RescueTime, I get the top 10 apps and sites in Very Distracting and Distracting and put the sites into a Cold Turkey block list (I don’t have the pro version, so only sites), separate in their own block lists. The Very Distracting list I activate during the week, manually, to end only in saturday. The Distracting one I activate until 18h of the day, that’s the time I usually check email, NoSurf, WhatsApp and a few others. I then delete every website from the lists on Sunday and update with the new top 10

I recently created a Facebook account. I have very basic info there, just what I had to give to create an account. I only use Messenger, for university messaging group, and I rarely check Facebook. When I do, I only check notifications, I have Facebook Feed Eradicator so I don’t see anything. I only add people who send me a request and I set to get requests only from friends from friends. In just 2 or 3 days, Facebook suggested me a friend I had in high school, even though I am in a different country on the other side of the world and basically no info on profile, so it’s scary. I did not add because I’m keeping it to university people only.

I also got back to YouTube, because I recently saw an interesting video on the changes of YouTube over the years and, from the same creator, a video on social media (a look on “the death of the hobby, and how social media has impacted the mental health of gen z, and hopefully finding some solutions”). Here it is, if anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV_SEs9li2s

I realized that YouTube can have useful content, so I unsubscribed from all previous subscriptions and subscribed to this channel, as these videos are really interesting (not all are like this (essay), so I don’t know what’s to come.) And a Brazilian rapper that has great music with great lyrics and a recent project acoustic, so I like it. Not your average pop addictive song with repetitive lyrics and simple music that quickly gets into top 10 songs of the year and plays everywhere.

He has a song called “De volta para o futuro” (Back to the future), about how the world might change in the future (“I have a bad feeling that this wasn’t a dream, but rather a travel trough time”) and a few lines go as follow (translated by me): “Kids no longer learned names like Hamlet. They were thaught by smarthphones and tablets. There were no poetry or books. And social life, got replaced by apps.”

As for last week’s computer usage, here’s a few info:
“17h 49m
Time logged — 3.9h more than the week before”
"Yay! Your productivity pulse this week is 11% higher than your normal average of 47. "
“This week is quite a bit shorter than normal for you.”

Because I only block top 10 sites, I usually get to some sites I never got before which are Very Distracting and I don’t know. I generally try to avoid websites I remember being not productive in general in previous weeks, so it’s a mix of software with willpower.


#20

Awesome dude! This strategy is super smart although I’m probably biased because it’s the exact one I used in the early days of my addiction lol.

I think the combination of willpower + software is really powerful and is something I hope more people start implementing too.