Last night I finished a project that had kept me welded to the computer for the better part of several days, and I awoke wondering if it would be possible to go through a day limiting my computer use to one hour. The experiment started out well enough, though I had accomplished but the minimum of my normal morning computer routine when I realized I'd already used up a quarter of the time. It was not too hard, however, to set the routine aside and turn to (mostly) non-computer-related projects. I felt empowered, and looked forward to a day of accomplishment. Occasionally I needed the computer briefly for something I was doing, but managed to do the job and get off, resisting the temptation to check blogs, news, or e-mail.
That lasted till maybe 9 a.m.
I had successfullly prepared, assembled, and packaged two boxes for mailing, but printing the postage for one turned out to be a bit of a problem and involved an online chat with USPS customer service. Another half hour of computer time gone, just like that. Then there was a problem with a recent Amazon order that could not be put off, and included another customer service exchange. After that, the allotted hour was completely gone.
For some of the day I continued to try to minimize computer use, but then we worked on researching and purchasing a new camera (shhh—it's an early birthday present for me!) and that ate up hours of computer time—so I just plain gave up. Which is why I'm able to write this post. One thing I know for sure is that I can't limit myself to an hour of computer use a day and do any significant writing, let alone make any progress on many important projects. But even an hour a day is so much time! How different might I be if I spent that hour reading, or praying, or learning to play the piano!
One thing I know: the important work I do, in this stage of my life, requires time on the computer. A lot of time on the computer. That's simply the nature of the work. Some things are plain impossible without it; others possible, but much less efficient or effective. I am in no danger of giving in to Luddite tendencies.
But the taste of freedom this morning was so sweet I'm continuing the experiment tomorrow.