Scrum's weekly journal


#1

Hi

I have tried to get my internet and computer usage under control for over a decade now. Nothing really seems to work long term. I can ride the wave of motivation for a week or two and then I’ll binge for a month or so, or until I’m disgusted with myself. Delayed gratification is the name of the game and I suck at it.

This week I spent over 7 hours per day on average surfing the web. This number has been increasing over the last few weeks and that is a bad sign. On a longer timescale I think the average is about the same, however. There have been better weeks, there have been worse months.

Keeping a public journal of this kind is something I’ve never really done. I’m mostly interested in seeing if it has any effect on my ability to refrain from mindless surfing. It would be a way to be accountable for my actions to anyone who might read this journal.

The main issue is the fact that ever since I was a small kid I’ve used my computer as an entertainment device and of course as a way of coping with real life events. It’s easy to just dive into the happy world of endless entertainment instead of processing and dealing with things that are real and difficult. This is what I want to change most, to turn this device from some kind of emotional crutch into a pure productivity tool. I want to get enjoyment out of other things besides this rectangle on my table.

Goals for next week:

  • Always have a productive reason for using the internet (no reddit, youtube, rss feeds, news)
  • Don’t use the computer for entertainment
  • Check RSS feeds on Sunday at the earliest

Until next Sunday,
scrum


#2

Hey @scrum, looking forward to your weekly updates!

I have similar goals like yourself: Only productive surfing; no online entertainment.

This quote describes my own internet usage nearly perfectly, I use it to flee real-world feelings too. What helped me a lot was to identify the exact feelings that make me open my browser. Or more specifically: What concrete problem in your life creates a bad enough feeling for you to flee into addictive behavior?

For me, that problem is my loneliness.

Once you found your ‘core problem’, you can translate into a goal.
You don’t have any friends? Okay, that means your daily goal is to go meet someone that might become a new friend.

If you only set “elimination goals” for yourself, you are suddenly left with an empty day.
“Don’t surf youtube” doesn’t tell you what to do instead of watching videos, it just eliminates the 7 hours from your schedule. Suddenly you have 7 hours of free time, but no idea how to use it. Plus you’re constantly thinking about not using youtube, which still puts it into the center of your attention. And once you have to face your core problem, you are already thinking about youtube, which makes it much easier for you to fall back.

But if you create an “additive goal” (on top of an elimination goal), you can change your focus. Suddenly your attention is set on “meeting one friend”, which gives you something to do in the 7 hours. And once you start feeling lonely, your mind can wander to “okay, let’s go meet a friend” instead of “okay, jump on youtube”.

Giving myself clear and easy-to-follow instructions (additionally to NoSurf goals) helped me a lot to shift my focus from “stopping addictive behavior” to “rebuilding my life”.


#3

Hey! Welcome to the forum!

It absolutely does! The thing that helps the most, is that, everytime you write a new jounrnal entry, you’re not only summarizing your progress to us, the readers, but, more importantly, also to yourself. By writing everything down and thinking about it you’re able to better reflect on your progress and see if there’s areas that you can improve.

Just like @dino said, it’s helpful to search for thing you can do instead of surfing. When you only tell yourself “I won’t surf the web” and actually stick to that, you’re left with (probably) 6-8 hours of free time where you won’t know what to do. This results in boredom. This results in mindless web browsing. Try to actually find activities you can do instead: start a new hobby, meet with friends (or try to find some), study for upcoming exams (if you’re still in university/college/high school/whatever), etc.

I’m looking forward to reading your future journal entries!


#4

Hello

I have managed to fulfill the goals, or I guess you could say comply with the rules, that I set last week. It has been surprisingly easy. That is to be expected since it was only the first week and motivation is still high. I’m eager to see how I’ll behave once motivation starts to wane however.

I completely agree with what you wrote about elimination and additive goals here @dino. I guess I should have mentioned in the first post that I’m in college (again) and I have a long list of things that I should or could be doing instead of surfing. So mostly I just focus on studying now, instead of surfing online.

You couldn’t have said it better @MaxWolf. In the past I’ve always had this idea in the back of my mind that I should try to summarize my weeks, so I could have a better idea of what I managed to (not) get done. Creating a habit out of it isn’t something I’ve managed to do yet, even though I journal quite frequently otherwise. Hopefully I’ll create that habit with this online journal here, it’s a bit different from writing only for my own eyes.

For a few years now I’ve diligently kept track of what I do every hour of every day. There have been productive weeks that felt like months, there have been unproductive months that felt like days. This log helps me see what I have actually done. In any case, I haven’t done much with that data yet, but I thought I’d post a little chart based on that data here every week. Just to have a better overview of how I’m doing on this journey.

Since mindless surfing and studying seem to be polar opposites for me right now, I only included those activities on the chart. So it’s hours spent every day on surfing and studying, for the past three weeks.

test5

It has been a strange week. Mainly because I’m not entirely used to feeling so contented. Knowing that there’s nothing else out there that I should be doing, because what I should be doing, is what I am doing, every day. I’m sure that my moods and overall well being have been positively affected by the fact that I’ve been meditating three times a day for 10-15 minutes as well this week.

Goals for next week:

  • Productive use of internet only
  • No entertainment on the computer
  • Check feeds & forum on Sunday at the earliest
  • Work out on at least two days

Until next Sunday,
scrum


#5

That graph is looking awesome! Good job on catching yourself on 11-25 and turning your week around - I hope the next week will look just as promising, keep it going :smile:


#6

Hi

The initial motivation has passed. Tired, bored, demotivated on Wednesday, ended up surfing a little to comfort myself. Spent Friday doing almost nothing besides surfing. Saturday I spent watching an entire season of a TV show, with some surfing on the side. Today hasn’t been much better.

The main issue seems to be losing sight of the goal. I focus on everything but surfing and so eventually I don’t really think about whether this is or has been an issue at all for me. A little bit of surfing doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Once that door is opened, however, it’s difficult to close it again.

It’s difficult to unplug in general. The joy and excitement that aimless surfing or gaming provide seem greater than what I could expect to gain from my day-to-day life. It ends up feeling as if I’m forcing myself to live the life of an ascetic, denying myself the pleasure and enjoyment that is just the push of a button away.

I need a better way to keep long term goals in mind. Maybe I’ll try to assign a specific time each day to revisit my original motivations and to think about long term goals in general.

2018-12-09_162102

Goals for next week:

  • Productive use of internet only
  • Set aside time each day for thinking

Until next Sunday,
scrum


#7

It seems like you need to think about what you want to invest the time freed up by avoiding the internet into to stifle the temptation boredom brings.

I can sympathize very much with the experience that „just a little bit“ of internet rarely works. For me, most bad binges start with that. It would be like to tell an alcoholic to drink „just a bit“.