Timewasters -Media, Internet, gaming and mobile (1.0)
This article is from the book “Meditation and the book of Time and Life Management (version 1.0) -by Norbert Szentkereszti (2015)” (To read the whole book online visit book1.vr2b1.org or subscribe here and get the pdf edition for free.)
Bad habits preface
Identifying timewasters (like watching TV, browsing the net mindlessly, video gaming…), time stealers (like late people, late answers…) non-supportive habits (procrastination, avoiding complex projects…), negative life-views (concentrating on the negative side of life…), negative ideas about ourselves (I cannot do that, I’m worthless, they are better then me…), obligations for people and ideas that don’t matter for us, and non-supportive surroundings (family…) is one of the most important part of time-management. And identifying and dealing with them is a prerequisite to have more time for the things we like to do, or for the activities that are necessary to achieve our goals. Without identifying them we cannot make steps to eliminate them from our life or at least to reduce their effect in our life, and thus we maintain status quo, which is spending our time with unimportant people or unimportant but urgent tasks, and not getting closer to the goals we want to achieve.
In general many distractions come from the media, because we don’t know how to use them, so we can gain lots of time by simply unsubscribing for a few months or permanently. So give back your TV subscription, pack away your film collections, unsubscribe from your newspaper (newspapers are littered with bad news, and you definitely want to avoid them), limit you internet access (or unsubscribe) (e.g.: if you have an unlimited package sign up for a limited 1 GB package, and concentrate for the most important activities) and throw away all the throwaways immediately you receive them and don’t look for best buy offers.
These drastic steps are necessary if nothing we’ve tried worked even though for a few months we could feel that we are cut of the world (if we cannot find anything that we could do instead of those “activities”). Naturally if we don’t live alone and we cannot control subscriptions for this we need a supportive environment as well, or otherwise there’s a chance that we’re going to repeat history, even if for a few days or weeks we’re going to manage to produce some inner resistance towards them, because of the strength we’ve gained from the information we’ve read. E.g.: if your spouse wants to continue with the timewaster habits (because they are entertaining) and especially if you don’t even have your own room, this project might not be doable or it will be extremely hard + there might be a chance for quarrel and even splitting because of the changed priorities.
The point of unsubscribing is that if we don’t have the option to escape into watching the TV, or watching internet videos, or browsing the net mindlessly, chatting about useless topics, reading useless articles, maybe after a few days of misery we will indeed start to create plans and start with our to-do list items in order to avoid boredom. Boredom can change our attitude towards our goals and toward planning (if otherwise you thought it is time-consuming and pointless). By unsubscribing we usually get 3-4-5 hours extra on working days and sometimes 8-14 hours extra on weekend (pro day).
The problem with these mediums is that they demand too much of our time, because we cannot control them. And these demands are firm, directed and there is no place for misunderstanding and not even for delay (they require immediate attention and action). And it goes like this every day: Read this read that, watch this-watch that, know about this and that and just about everything, get this, get that, download this and download that, try this and try that, listen to this listen to that, taste this, buy this, use this, play with this, do this –don’t do that, like this, don’t like that, make a comment, subscribe, follow, rate, make a review, update, reply, give your opinion… Isn’t that a little bit overwhelming? And Internet from this point of view is more interactive than the TV, because we might get answers to our remarks. And if we wonder how we wasted our times we should remember those “this takes only a few minutes” magic phrases multiplied by hundred times a day. In reality sharing (that is making really important things to publicly available without costs for others benefit) is a good thing, but too much sharing can make us sharing-addicted: E.g.: Making a photo from your food, from your clothes, from your this and that, or to record videos to share it on the net can lessen the quality of our real world experiences, by not being able to participate in them fully -because of the constant inner pressure of the recordings. And the sad fact is that many people are even more interested what emotional problem an actress or a singer has who lives 10.000 miles away than the person sitting next to them.
Media naturally has its own use and there are also useful information, but to be able to fully use its advantage first we have to learn how to use them properly, how to select the programs and news, how to disregard ads and interesting but useless topics (especially about “stars”) and how to avoid not that beneficial and sometimes pointless chatting relationships. If we use it well social media could provide us the platform bringing people together, keeping up with real friends on the other hand if we don’t know how to use it, social media can make people unsocial. So if you are determined getting back some control of your life visiting internet cafés or to use a limited internet package might be a good idea to keep up with important news, especially till we get our addiction behind. (Watching youtube videos, or downloading large files (videos, music) with this package, will be an expensive experience, and if you want to save money, maybe you will make steps to reduce your MB usage, simply by reducing the time you spend with watching those videos). This might not work if you only read articles or chat, because they consume only a few MB, for that the internet café could be a solution till we get our addiction behind (which naturally would cost more)… If we decide to be less active on the net we could first inform the most important people who we shared many information through the net, but we can also set up automated answers for our mailing program that we have limited internet access and that they have to wait for the answer… (but maybe that would be laughable especially if the same massage would go to our business partners). Allowing yourself a few hours every week in an internet café or by your friend (who is hopefully not an addict) is recommended to keep up with the most important news, and to answer the most important letter. Usually the time constrain will motivate you to deal with the really important stuffs and leave the other alone.
If we decide to unsubscribe totally we loose the ability to know about the latest gossips, soap operas, news, films; we might miss our daily sport broadcasts (football, soccer, baseball, basketball…) and thus if we mingle with people with whom we discussed all what we saw and heard through these mediums it can be problematic to participate in such conversations. On the other hand people might want to discuss with us what they saw, so from the most important news, films, technologies, music we’re going to be informed, with the additional option that we can discuss our opinions about those topics, without wasting our time while reading about them. So if we are interested in technology we might want to consider making friendship with someone who can inform us about technological developments… but naturally we could also read a few articles about all those events and films…(so unsubscribing totally might be not the best idea…)
So by unsubscribing on a long run there’s also a chance that you will lose your Facebook and other social sites Empires, and thus some of your other virtual friends, but hopefully you will get just as many good experiences in the real life which might lessen your loss. Yes you might get less videos and photos you have to comment on (if you don’t participate), but many times those are from people who don’t really matter and they are sent to everyone (not considering whether you are interested or not). (To avoid your important friends to be offended by your late or no response on e.g.: videos, you can discuss them and maybe you can post messages to everyone on these sites, that you started living in a real world and you have less time to answer mails and to comment on articles, pictures, videos and gossips… like you did it before. -Your real friends will accept this especially if you meet them also on the real world, or you talk to them via phone sometimes.)
What we additionally have to know about these mediums, that whatever we get through them (especially through the TV) is a well filtered content (and many times they are full of violence and negativity.) Many good music is not included or junk music receive much more attention and are more advertised… And if we are addicted to knowing about everything we should consider how many films, music and books were created and were made available for the public since the 1920’s. It’s unbelievable. But the next 80-85 years will be different compared to the earlier years. We have 3000 times more films we can watch, music we can listen to, books we can read compared to the 1920’s state where people had to go to movies to watch a film…, and additionally we have the option to listen to all the music, watch all the films and read all the books and articles that were published before we were born. We can choose our own program and our choice is much wider, so we don’t even need the TV or the radio to tell us what to watch or listen to…. In the old days we listened to the radio and watched TV, and for many recording the songs were difficult. Now a click and it is done and if we are collectors we can loose our life by collecting and administering those articles, music, films, shows, cartoons… and keeping up with all the news and all the historical news especially in every topic is impossible.
Apart from the media there can be other time fillers, which helps us to divert our attention to real life problems and our current situations -e.g.: telephone and gaming.
- If there are numbers that you can call freely on your phone you might want to consider canceling that option too, to prevent chat away your life -especially if you have works to do and goals to achieve. Choose to visit your friends personally, and if that doesn’t work and if you need someone to talk to than reduce the amount of time you spend on the phone.
- If you are a gamer, you might want to consider storing your DVD-s and programs by a friend for a couple of months or buy a safe or a lockable wardrobe, put all of your addictions (router, cable, DVD) there, lock it, and bring the key to one of your friends.) There’s a chance that if the major games are not at hand you’re starting to play with the creepiest, cheapest games available (especially if you have a phone full with such installments), but we must uninstall them as well. This can be useful in the first few months when you relearn how to live without these tools -and in reality this is the whole idea and this is the goal with the restriction.
Usually canceling subscriptions are only 1 time projects and it doesn’t require complicated organizations, on the other hand the hours that we can save are enormous. The first few months can be critical, and people can experience many negative feelings and even depression, but if we succeed we might start to complete our real life projects in order to avoid boredom. Again the most important goal of the restrictions is to regain control over our lives and not to be controlled by these mediums.
An important thing is that: don’t consider love and like relationships (family, friends, animals…), and times you spend with things you like to do (not to watch through a box) as wastes. For most of us such relationships are important for personal fulfillment, and without them we would feel miserable. Naturally some need more some need less, but completely ignoring them if it gives us joy and happiness is one of the worst idea. We can reduce the mindless chatting parts though and eliminate the watch TV together parts (especially if that is the only thing we are doing together and we do it all the time)…
It is also helpful if you try to develop new habits beside your restrictions -e.g.: you could leave your room and start running, or you could walk your dog… The key of fighting addiction is to find activities that will give you joy (or at least that are useful) and that will fill out the times we used to spend with our addictions -so maybe it is time to finally learn to play the piano. But even sleeping more is a better choice than falling back to our old habits. And again our boredom might help us to concentrate on things that really matters for us, and we might even accomplish projects for that we’ve never had time e.g.: tidying up our rooms. Yes there’s also a chance that we might get depressed for a couple of days or even weeks, but we have to go through all the negative feelings, to make changes. No TV, no Video games, no telephone… nothing that can prevent us to escape. (On the other hand if after a couple of weeks or months we still feel the need to be with these addictions, than we should allow them again for a few weeks, and we should go along with an other restriction period later… -because even time consuming addictions have the inner ability to fight apathy…
Some recommends that it can be helpful if we overdo our habits, till we get bored with them. The truth is that it hardly ever works and for harmful substances like drugs and smoking we can destroy our health on a long run therefore it is not recommended. E.g.: if you like to eat you probably will gain even more weigh without even the slightest chance of quitting the addiction, and if you like to collect articles, films, music that you cannot stop either since there will be always new thing that you can collect. On the other hand by quitting e.g.: your collecting addiction (or the I must read or watch this and that habit) you have the option to observe your collections and see that usually you don’t use 99% what you’ve collected, and observe that those collected items satisfied your needs only for a few hours, and than you craved for more and more. So I think and I say it again that a self-imposed limitation can be a greater help in almost every area of our life and that goes also for addictions.
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(This article was published by norbert szentkereszti on his website www.vr2b1.org. All rights reserved. Please also read the terms and conditions of my website which also includes a copyright and a disclaimer section.) Click here to read about the Terms and Conditions.