As you may have read in my previous blog posts, I tried a “no internet month” for April, 2019 (with exceptions). Overall, I will say it was a very positive experience. You can read some of my day by day commentary here.
I wanted to be a more productive person since I had many goals to complete in the month of April.
To recap, I got the idea from YouTuber, Wheezywaiter (Craig Benzine). Craig and his wife do monthly challenges and record their experiences, providing a hilarious and informative recap at the end of the month for us all to enjoy. This is where I found their no internet month video. At the end of the month, both husband and wife reported a dramatic increase in personal productivity and an overall positive experience. Being a habitual scroller of random internet sites, I knew this would be a good challenge for me.
Ultimately I knew I needed to spend more time on productive things, like advancing my path to FIRE.
Exceptions to the “No Internet” Rule
A number of people have asked me about what kinds of exceptions I allowed myself during no internet month. Here is the long list I came up with. If you are interested in doing a challenge like this, you really need to come up with your own list of course, however this may give you some ideas. My list was considerably longer than Craig’s.
T’s list of “No Internet Month” exceptions
- Anything related to my day job
- Google Maps & Directions
- SPAR challenge check ins – a productive habit-building app where you have to pay money if you don’t build your habits. It totally works!
- Fitbit app
- Banking & Financial Activities (I spent a lot of time on YNAB in April…:D)
- Local grocery store app
- Logging food & exercise in my healthy lifestyle app
- Recipes (although, every effort should be made to use cookbooks first)
- Texting, Messenger, hangouts, and Facetime
- Yoga videos
- Audio Podcasts
- Personal Email – 1x per day or week (This ended up being more frequent than 1x per day. I think I would try to stick to 1 or 2 checks / day next time.)
- Facebook/Ebay/Kijiji – for selling items ONLY. This got tricky with Facebook; see my recap of the month here.
- Weather app
- Udemy (Personal/Professional Development)
- Rosetta Stone, Overdrive, ebooks, Duolingo
- Seesaw – an app where I can see pics of my kiddo at school doing cool stuff
- Looking up phone numbers or hours of operation for businesses
- Google Drive, Google Photos, and Google calendar
- Video on how to fix something such as bathroom faucet or how to grout tiles (didn’t actually end up doing either of these things that need doing…)
- Ted Talk Videos
- Medical symptoms, if desperate
Reflections on No Internet Month
After looking over this list, I realize that many things aren’t critical, but I felt like if I was going to spend time productively finishing one of the many courses I am enrolled in on Udemy, that would be a win rather than a loss. And I was okay with that. You may want to be more strict with your rules.
I also realize how good we have it now for things like phone numbers, directions, maps, weather, and banking. I remember the days when we had to use paper maps, wait for the weather to appear for your town on the weather channel, and actually go to the bank to get money or deposit a cheque! Horrifying! The internet gives us so many conveniences that used to be hassles. I can’t wait till my kiddo is old enough for me to lecture him about “how hard life was back in the day”. At the time it didn’t seem hard, we just did what we had to do without knowing that the internet would eventually provide these things.
Lastly, I can confidently say that social media in general doesn’t enhance my day to day life, and actually detracts from it. I did spend a good portion of my evening reviewing what happened in the lives of the people I follow on various social media platforms, and very little of it was useful or important. I think my next challenge will be to stop using social media, except to communicate with specific individuals or interact with certain groups where I can learn and help others. I’m not sure quite what this looks like yet, but I will need to figure out how to police myself to ensure I don’t get sucked back into the vortex of wasting hours of time.
Did it work?
I feel I was slightly more productive in advancing my path to FIRE over the past month, but I definitely could have done more. I may just go ahead and limit my internet usage for May in order to make up for this. This requires more thought on how to limit effectively without cutting it out completely.
I think that about sums up my experience. I’d love to hear if you’ve ever done this yourself, and what your experience was, or perhaps if it’s something you’re considering for the future. Let me know in the comments!