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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


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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I’m 30 years old, and I’ve made my fair amount of mistakes in my life. I’m not a big believer in regrets … and I have learned a lot from every single mistake and to this date my life is great.
However, there are a few things I wish I had known when I was graduating from high school and heading out as an adult in life.

Would I change things? Hmm…I’m not so sure. I might never have gotten into a mountain of credit card debt, but then I wouldn’t have learned the amazing satisfaction of getting out of it. I might have made better career choices, but then I wouldn’t have all the work experience that makes me the Senior FedEx CSR and blogger that I am today.

I might not left my parents home to go rent a single studio apartment at $600.00 a month …but then I wouldn’t know how it is to live my own and how to budget my money.

I don’t think I would change any of that. However, looking back, there are some lessons I’ve learned that I would probably tell my 18-year-old self. Do I share them now to share my regrets? No, I share them in hopes that younger men and women, just starting out in life, can benefit from my mistakes and my lessons.

What follows isn’t a thorough list, but it’s one that I hope proves useful to at least a few people.

Control my impulse spending. If there’s anything that got me in trouble financially, its impulse spending. Buying clothes when I don’t need them. Buying gadgets because I gotta have them. Ordering stuff online because it’s so easy. These days I’ve learned to control my impulses, at least a little better. Now, I give myself some time to breathe. I think over my purchases, see if I’ve got the money, think about whether it’s a need or a want. That would have been a useful tool 15 years ago.

You gotta stay active. I was in cricket, cross country and basketball in high school, but once I started working, the running and basketball began to slowly fade away. Not right away — I played pick-up basketball for years after high school. But even that went away, until I became inactive. Playing with my friends outdoors winded me. Am very active now, but I’m still trying to as fit as was in high school.

How to plan finances. I always knew that I was supposed to budget and track my spending, when I became an adult and decide to rent my first apartment. I just was too lazy to do it. And I didn’t have a good idea of how to actually do it. Now, I’ve learned how to plan, and how to stick to that plan. Sure, I deviate from my plan, but I’ve learned how to handle that too. Maybe that’s not a skill you can learn from book reading. You just gotta practice. Well, I hope to teach it to my children before they go out on their own.

Watching TV is a huge, huge waste of time. I don’t know how much TV I’ve watched over the years, but most of it is just crap – except sports of course. Hours and days and weeks I’ll never have back. Who cares what happens on reality TV, when reality is slipping by outside? Time is something you’ll never get back — don’t waste it on TV.

Bacardi white run is seriously evil. I won’t go into details, but it should suffice to say that I had some bad experiences, and I’m not sure I learned very much from them or benefited in any way except to learn that Bacardi is the drink of the Devil.

Here is a bonus! 😀

Forget the Daily drama. Focus on being happy. There have been many things that have happened to me, professionally and personally, that seem like the end of the world. And while these things were bad, they get blown up in our heads so that they become major drama. They caused me to be depressed from time to time. What a waste of time. If I realized that it was all in my head and that I could be happy instead if I focused on the positive, on what I did have, and what I could be doing … I could have skipped all the moping about.

All these mistakes you’re going to make, despite this advice? 🙂 They’re worth it. My 18-year-old self would maybe have read this post and said, “Good advice!” And then he would have proceeded to make the same mistakes, despite good intentions. I was a good kid, but I wasn’t good at following advice. I had to make my own mistakes, and live my own life. And that’s what I did, and I don’t regret a minute of it. Every experience I’ve had (even the barcardi ones) have led me down the path of life to where I am today. I love where I am today, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. The pain, the stress, the drama, the hard work, the mistakes, the depression, the hangovers, the debt… it was all worth it.

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Remember Alex Boylan? The former Amazing Race winner and host of the reality travel series ‘Around the World for Free’. Well, Alex has concluded his travels around the world.

After five months and 45,000 miles, Alex is now back in New York worn out, but still sharing the many wonders he experienced – especially that of Dominica Island.

When asked in his interview with CBS Reporter Chris Wragge ‘Which were the really really great moments?

Destination-wise, Alex chose Dominica to be his Favorite destination by far. Once again Dominica has won the heart of another World-traveler.

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