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There is no denying that the rise of the computer coupled with the increasing availability of high speed internet in the Caribbean, has made one of the most significant impacts on our lives in the past few years.

I know for sure that would be lost without mine and I’m not alone…a survey earlier this year, research shows that 84% of responders stated that they were “more dependent on their home computer now than they were just three and a half years ago” and that 65% of them spend more time with their computer than their own spouse. 🙂

Ever since I realised that my chronic eye strain was getting worse to the extent that I couldn’t actually see straight on my screen when I was tired, I’ve been trying out different ways to limit the time I spend on my laptop. It’s not an easy task to come from work, (where I spend 8-9 hours in front a computer screen), update this blog in the evenings, and stay in touch with friends and family.
So just how can you overcome your computer addiction, claim your real life back from your virtual one and step away from the screen?

Here are 3 of the most effective ways I’ve found work best…

Time yourself

The first step in reducing the amount of time you spend in front of your screen is to get an idea of just how much time you do actually spend there.

In some cases, this may be a real eye-opener. For example, I estimated that I spend an average of 4 or so hours at my laptop every day after work and on weekends it close to 10 hours each day. To this date I can’t remember the last time I turned on my television set. Not to long ago II had no choice and disconnect my cable TV subscription.

Once I realised this I started to keep a much closer eye on the time I spent doing specific tasks on my computer – aimless surfing, blogging, chatting, etc. Doing this helped me deduce that a whopping 35% of the total time I spent on my laptop was really not that productive – instant things I could address to help cut down my computer usage.

Plan specific activities away from your computer

If you don’t plan specific activities for whilst you’re away from the computer, then you are much more likely to fall into the trap of aimless surfing or playing Solitaire when you have spare time to kill or just need a break from the work.

Planning something specific to do when you take a break from the computer will not only give you some structure to this time, it can help you structure your day more efficiently as a whole.

Uninstall and remove unnecessary programs

This might seem an extreme solution but it’s also an effective one. Removing all the programs, services, tools and software that you don’t use for your work means that you won’t be tempted to spend unproductive time on the computer in your breaks or when your work is done.

Unplugging from the internet is the other biggie – reducing that temptation to spend an hour surfing aimlessly – and when you do go online to achieve a specific task, try using your time tracker to give yourself a limit and help focus you on the task at hand.

So if you’ve noticed yourself spending absurd amounts of time on the computer and thought about cutting down, try these tips and let me know how you get on.

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1 Comment »

Comment by Joel Halfwassen
2008-04-16 21:43:24

*Plan specific activities away from your computer* This was the big one for me. I found I was spending WAY too much time in front of my machine. I just HAD to find time to see real people. It was hard because everyone else was stuck in front of their computers!

Joel

 
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