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internet addiction

I think I am addicted to the internet. How do I overcome this, esp. when my job is being a software developer? I stopped having a computer at home, which seems to help. But I still seem to be wasting an inordinate amount of time randomly surfing.

This is a semi-serious post.

addict
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

You obviously don't have enough to do... :)

Geoff Bennett
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Get more sleep.  I really, really find I am more productive, and don't lounge around reading blogs and such, when I get enough sleep.

Andrew Burton
Thursday, June 26, 2003

I feel for ya.

I have a really hard time getting any work done when my Internet connection is down.  I use the internet alot while working (look something up on google, newsgroups, email, etc).  When it's offline I obviously can't do those things but then have trouble doing anything else.

Does anyone else feel this way or am I just nuts?

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, June 26, 2003

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000339.html

=) It is his forum after all.

I have a few thoughts.

1. Could you be surfing the internet as a way of avoiding the work that you have to do?

2. Maybe you're lonely and you're surfing the web because it's a subtitute for human contact.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Maybe it's because you aren't enthusiastic about your work, and aren't motivated, so you'd rather hunt around the net instead. I think that "surfing the net" at work is okay in moderation, and as long as what you're surfing is job related. Then again, I would say that having spent entire days reading archives like on here, or Ask Tog, or paulgraham.com, etc etc

A good team that talks well, and has general fun conversations as well as those about work, will help.

What sort of size of organisation are you in? If you're a lone developer in a sea of businessmen, life can get pretty lonely sometimes.

Better Than Being Unemployed...
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Try going on holiday.

But don't do what I do and end up choosing your holiday location according to ease of internet access!

Stephen Jones (who's flying out on holiday in a few hours!)
Thursday, June 26, 2003

This is a problem.  I mean, whoah, all this information!  I remember before the internet, and it was about trusting whatever books they had at the bookstore, or busting ass at the best university libs you can find.

The internet is even in a primitive state.  Two years ago, it was really dull.

I dunno what to say.  This addiction is a precursor to the fact that people will start living with the net ingrained into their lives.  It's a generalization of many forms of communication, plus connected to machines, it also opens up one's sphere of control.  I mean, it's so hard to concentrate on the rest of your life, when what you've always wanted is there.

In other words I'm an addict too. ;)  I thought about it this morning when I went to the machine, but plunged right back in.

sammy
Thursday, June 26, 2003

>1. Could you be surfing the internet as a way of avoiding the work that you have to do?

Yes.

> 2. Maybe you're lonely and you're surfing the web because it's a subtitute for human contact.

Yes.

>If you're a lone developer in a sea of businessmen, life can get pretty lonely sometimes.

Yes, kinda. I'm a consultant with techinical people (scientists) who don't program.

addict
Thursday, June 26, 2003

I surf as a way to avoid work and as a socialization mechanism.  It's entertaining and engaging.

It also results in me feeling stressed and guilty.

People do things for one of two reasons: to alleviate or prevent something "negative" (discomfort/displeasure/pain), or to get something "positive" (comfort/pleasure/satisfaction).

When deciding what to do, we apply a cost/benefit analysis to every action -- consciously or unconsciously.  You and I, fellow addict, are analyzing the cost/benefit of work and the cost/benefit of surfing, and finding that surfing has a better ratio than work.

The question that arises then is how do we change the cost/benefit ratios of work and surfing so that work wins?  What makes the work such a high cost and low benefit activity -- and vice versa for surfing?  What can I change that will reduce the costs and increase the benefits of work?

When I've applied this in the past, it has resulted in me exploring and discovering my goals, motivations, and underlying beliefs (or assumptions) about myself, other people, and the way the world "works".  Usually there is some patently silly assumption or belief that's causing my "problem", but it takes a lot of reflection and introspection to discover it.

I guess, now that I've posted this, I have some motivation to try to apply this to myself over lunch.  If I come up with anything interesting I'll post -- maybe it'll help you as well.

AnotherAddict
Thursday, June 26, 2003

It seems to me that there are two issues at work here, addict:  One, you're using the internet more than you'd like to, and two, you're avoiding work.

Let's address the first problem first:  Have you considered switching to some other time-wasting activity?  For example, you could practice your handwriting.  This can at least wean you off of the internet.

The other issue is a whole different one that can't be answered unless we know your specific work situation.  Try posting a detailed explanation of that in a separate thread and we can offer suggestions.

Brent P. Newhall
Thursday, June 26, 2003

I am already cutting back on JoS and have considered abandoning it altogether because it takes up more time than  am willing to invest.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, June 26, 2003

I don't think this internet addiction is very different from turning on the television at night, and if you're not working, during the day as well. The difference is, it's available everywhere you go - work, home, and for some during vacation.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were a support group for this ( http://members.aol.com/Iainmacn/addicts/ is the first thing that turns up in Google when I search for "internet anonymous" without the quotes).

What sites do you check out when you're on the internet? Do they tend to be social ones like slashdot, forums, this place, or informative like NYTimes, Wired etc.

Perhaps you can parlay your internet addiction into something else... something creative like writing a web app or creating some sort of community website for something you're interested in (like I did for prosoundreview.com and a few other projects I have percolating).

Maybe you can find a forum dedicated to people who are addicted to the internet and at least now you'll be channelling your addiction into recovery.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Buy a pushbike. Cycle lots. Become addicted to that instead, so that you spent your coding hours dreaming of the next great bike ride instead of focusing on what you should be doing.

Damn.

Andrew Lighten
Friday, June 27, 2003

You could try blocking a few sites?

Edit c:\WINNT\System32\Drivers\Etc\HOSTS

Add a few entries like

127.0.0.1    www.siteyoujustlovetoomuch.com
127.0.0.1    siteyoujustlovetoomuch.com

My finger memory keeps surfing various geek news sites whenever I have idle time... so this curbs this quite a bit.

But then I am here posting.. *sigh*

Li-fan Chen
Friday, June 27, 2003

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