Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Lessons Learned From My Computer Fast

I CAN live without my computer.
Who knew?! I surprised myself in how little I missed it.

I use my computer in more ways than I realized.
It's not only for email, blogging and Facebook. I discovered I use it in habitual ways I didn't even think about--checking the weather, scoping out what's playing at the movies, finding out the pollen counts, paying bills, rehearsing music for church, finding recipes, researching for Bible study, googling anything under the sun. No wonder I became dependent upon it.

I waste time on my computer.
Okay, this isn't exactly news. Anybody with a Facebook account understands how much time can be killed on that site alone, but constantly reading any new e-mail that pops in or getting lost in bunny trails while researching steals chunks of time with little effort.

I save time on my computer.
This is not my lame attempt to justify using my beloved machine. Do you know how much faster I can type than write? LOTS faster. It's easier to check for movie showings with a few clicks than turn through pages of the newspaper or look up the phone number to give them a call. I kill many birds with the stone of one e-mail. Any possible information I could want is all at my fingertips.

It's not necessary (or practical) to read every single status change of every Facebook friend.
I like to see what's going on in your lives (or maybe I'm just super nosy), so I often spent a considerable amount of time sifting through Facebook. Sometimes it's relaxing, but often it eats up WAY too much of my time. There are other ways to connect with people, like actually TALKING to them! Don't be offended if I don't comment on all your clever updates. I probably missed it.

There are ways to use my computer more efficiently.
Preparing for this fast, I wrote four blog posts in one day. FOUR! Why can't I do that every week? Why can't I set aside a time for blog writing instead of squeezing it in late at night or early in the morning? Doing the same with Facebook and blog reading may help too.

It's easy to feel out of touch when not online.
On Friday, friends were having fun on Facebook with one of my notes and I was out of the loop. It's like being the little girl who hears about the awesome Saturday night slumber party Monday morning. Now this is not the worst thing to happen, but I realize being online helps me stay connected.

It is possible get more rest and relaxation.
This was my most surprising revelation. Without access to my computer, I couldn't spend evenings writing blog posts or returning emails. Instead, I parked it on my couch (gasp!), read the paper and generally let myself wind down in the evenings. LOVELY! Instead of catching up on Facebook at bedtime, I went to bed! This alone was worth the few days away.

I need to use the tool, not let the tool use me.
My wise friend asked how this fast will change how I use my computer. I hadn't thought about it, but her question made me consider how to take charge of my computer. To that end, I decided some new ground rules were in order:

I will fast from my computer on Sundays.
A day off would be refreshing and allow for the relaxation I found I really liked and for more engaged time with my family. Plus it forces me to be more efficient on the other days.

I will set aside one afternoon a week for blog writing.
It may not be enough to finish the posts for a week, but it will certainly help in freeing up some evening time when my family is home.

I will check my e-mail less frequently.
I usually leave my e-mail on continually, but I've decided to close it even while working on my computer to allow for more focused time. Instead of taking a peek whenever I hear the ding of a new message, I'll check it at set times of the day. A few minutes saved here and there could add up to an hour, you know.

I honestly enjoyed my computer fast and found it well worth the effort. I encourage you to give it a shot if you never have. Some of you e-mailed and said you were going to try it too. What were your observations? What did you learn? How will you use the tool better?

May God continue to teach us. Have a lovely day, friends!

Photo Credit: kodomut

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