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The Internet IT

Author Says Going Offline For 24 Hours a Week Has Significantly Improved His Health, Sanity and Happiness (businessinsider.com) 168

You don't need someone to point out to you that you probably spend too many hours on the internet. Maybe it's your job, maybe it's a growing habit, maybe it's both of them. An anonymous reader shared a link on Business Insider, in which an author named Roy Hessel shares what happened after he started to force himself to go offline for 24 hours every week. (He chose the duration between sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday as the time for disconnect.) From the article:No emails, no calls, no Tweets, no tech, no matter what. For anyone who's struggling with finding time for self and family, I'd like to share what I've learned. For health, sanity, and happiness, I think it can make all the difference. It's not enough to carve out time in your schedule. You need to approach this blackout period with an unwavering belief in its benefit and a commitment to see it through. For me, this means abstaining from work and, in the deepest sense, simply resting. It grounds me and allows me to re-energize and focus on what's really important in my life. The key is to be unapologetic rather than aspirational about unplugging. As soon my family and I get home from our workweek, there's nothing, with the exception of a life and death situation, that would cause me to compromise that time. As far as business and my income is concerned, it can wait.We understand that not everyone wants or afford to go offline for a complete day, but do you also ensure that you are offline for a few hours everyday or every week or every month?

Paul Miller, a reporter at The Verge, went offline in 2012 for a complete year and shared his experience when he got back. You might find it insightful.
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Author Says Going Offline For 24 Hours a Week Has Significantly Improved His Health, Sanity and Happiness

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 30, 2016 @11:43AM (#52989623)

    Got no job. Got no friends. Got no family to speak of.

    Online is my only connection to the world. At 45 and single, making new friends is all but impossible. So all I've got left is my life online.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just get a job, women will come crawling out of the woodwork. Trust me.
    • I love you AC! You can be my friend!

    • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @12:10PM (#52989889) Journal

      Start walking. Volunteer for something that you can get to. Jobs, friends, and women will come. Sitting on the internet, nothing at all.

      • I can't believe there's a person so pathetic that they think that sitting on the computer in your house every waking moment is healthy. Seek help now.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've been there, getting offline and unplugging was the best thing ever.

      Go to a park, go walking, jogging, biking, hiking, go to a bar or what ever other real life social thing you like. Even if you don't like social things. Meeting real people really isn't that hard, even if you're like me and don't like being social and get anxiety over going to a bar. A little liquid courage or green power always helped too for those situations. There are plenty of other social activities too.

      I find it hard to believ

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm 41, recently divorced, in a city that is far away from anything you could call a family support system, and was jobless for 6 months. I went out and got a job, worked out to start getting in a shape that isn't reminiscent of the word "potato", and started spending weekends volunteering at the food bank. You know what? I now have tons of social interaction, have made a TON of actual friends, and have more dates than I have time for. It's pretty fantastic.

      You can do it. I believe in you. Go forth and be a

    • Dude, one word for you, MeetUp.

      Make friends based on mutual interest in hobbies and whathaveyounot. Totally a great option for grown-ups whose friends are all married and preoccuppied with their armies of children.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think it's funny how whenever there's some weather event that knocks out power for an extended period of time, there's a baby-boom nine months later.

    • The odds of two techies being the opposite sex, in the same room with a sofa or bed, and during an extended power outage is astronomical. Most techies I know carry an extra battery pack or two to avoid being disconnected from the internet for any extended period of time.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Guilty as "charged". Get it? "Charged"? Hehehe.
      • There was a 20 minute power outage at my house last week. We had the cable modem and router on UPS. My wife (yes, I said wife!), was still on Face Book.

        We did break away to look out the window at the dark neighborhood. All the streetlights out. It's not often we see that.

        • Oh, and BTW. We did not proceed to "expand" our family"... our TWINS were *thankfully* still asleep despite the fact their sound maker and lullabies were silenced by the lack of power.

        • We had the cable modem and router on UPS.

          My friend recently got a brand new cable modem to replace an older one that didn't have 11AC wireless. We were surprised to discover that a rechargeable battery could be installed to provide backup power.

      • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

        The odds are pretty good actually, Mugwai and I have 8 together.

        No power outage required. :)

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          You have 8 battery packs together?

          • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

            Well the context was 'Baby Boom'. If you and your wife are giving birth to batteries you may be on the wrong planet. :)

            • If you and your wife are giving birth to batteries you may be on the wrong planet

              Or in the Matrix?

            • by arth1 ( 260657 )

              If you and your wife are giving birth to batteries you may be on the wrong planet. :)

              If both you and your wife are giving birth, I think you may be on the wrong planet :p

              Anyhow, 8? These days, there are these little latex balloon-like thingies that work pretty well to reduce unintended consequences of intended pleasure. Just sayin...

              • These days, there are these little latex balloon-like thingies that work pretty well to reduce unintended consequences of intended pleasure. Just sayin...

                Yeah, but wearing a rubber to fuck, is analogous to eating a steak with one on your tongue.

                Sure, you know there is "some" sort of sensation there, but really....Meh...why bother if you can't taste/feel anything really?

                Get her on the pill or the sponge or something....and be able to actually enjoy the sensations of sex!!!

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        My wife is hardly a techie, so I don't understand why both parties need to be techies. Or even one.
    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      Whenever our power goes out, my wife and kids and I get together and actually spend quality time together - playing board games or something and just talking. It's sad that it takes a power outage for that. When you suggest it at other times, and the kids can be playing games or watching stuff online, they decline, but I do try. My favorite is hiking together... good long time, a lot of good conversation... and a lot of "no" when I ask the kids (and even the wife). It's depressing.
  • Blasphemy!

  • by npslider ( 4555045 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @11:56AM (#52989737)

    We have a family cabin with no electricity and no cell coverage. When we would spend a day or two there, we were cut off from all tech. It was propane lamps, outhouse, and a cooking fire / propane stove. Yeah, I had no shower, and was covered in bug spray, but it was FREEDOM.

    It did feel good to be fully engaged in activities that were all non-tech. To see nature. To talk without distractions. We did not use our phones in any offline mode BTW, we just turned them off. So fun to hear the river, swat the bugs (OK maybe not that), and feel like I was back in time.

    It felt both weird and comforting to see the signal bars reappear on my phone on the drive back to the city.

    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      Yeah, at least once a month I get out to West Virginia and put my phone in airplane mode. I'll still use it to snap pictures, but where I go I don't have any service at all. It's great downtime.

    • Came here to write this, CAMPING, very easy to do, cheap, and in some remotes places (like Adirondack park for instance) you have no cell coverage anyway.
  • by paulxnuke ( 624084 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @12:02PM (#52989781)

    is Roy Hessel an observant Jew?

    It seems like this would be obligatory in that case (still a good idea.)

    • I can see how this may add to a Sabbath day of rest.

      My candy crushed fingers need a rest to allow the blisters to stop bleeding. My feet need a break from all the Pokemon hunting, and my Facebook friends need to think I died for a day, and was resurrected the following morning.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Looks like it, as from his biography he did a stint in the Israeli army.

      He's not what I'd call an author, but an entrepreneur, being the CEO or president of a multitude of companies like EyeBuyDirect, Clearly.ca, Coastal.com and other online sales companies, mostly in the eyewear business.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      He apparently did military service in the Israeli army, so I'd say it's a fair bet. Or if not, something of a predisposition. I try to avoid switching on my PC on Sunday because it's good to have some downtime but am not religious.

    • by swalve ( 1980968 )
      I think most religions have some form of sabbath. A day doing significantly different things, sometimes disconnected from the technology of the day. I am quite sure they figured out millennia ago that taking a day off here and there was a good idea.
      • I think most religions have some form of sabbath. A day doing significantly different things, sometimes disconnected from the technology of the day. I am quite sure they figured out millennia ago that taking a day off here and there was a good idea.

        It is mostly judeo-chrstian, for Christians it is Sunday..

        Which is where the weekend comes from, the Jewish sabbath and the Christian sabbath combined, for double the free time!

  • by dejitaru ( 4258167 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @12:03PM (#52989797)
    I mean I gotta sleep sometime :)
    • What???

      No non-stop all-night gaming sessions!?

      And you come here and post! How dare you!!

      Be gone with you! Or repent of your ways and live up to the reputation expected of you! :)

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Meetings.

      But I'm not sure if that counts as offline when the boss is showing PowerPoint presentations.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "He chose the duration between sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday as the time for disconnect"
    and
    "For me, this means abstaining from work and, in the deepest sense, simply resting"

    Sounds really similar to Sabbath observance with a technology fast thrown in.

  • by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @12:10PM (#52989887) Journal

    Just quit "social" media.

    • ... and his last post on /. was forever remembered..

    • Just quit "social" media.

      Implying that there's a single part of being connected that is contributing to him neglecting things outside of his online life? Social media is just a very small part of a very large internet. I probably spend a whole 5min on Facebook every other day, that doesn't make me any less of an online hermit who ignores a lot of what goes on around me.

      Now if you'll excuse me I have a WoW raid* to get to.

      *I don't really but this alone should give you some indication that any single part of the internet is not a pro

  • Yeah this is a real no brainier.

    Sensory fatigue is real. I'd go as far as to say it's an evolutionary adaptation - When you get stuck in a rut you miss opportunities and you become less competitive. Thats why food tastes bland, things become less fun, and you're always seeking new and interesting things.

    Get out. Run around. Ride a bike. Go hiking. See play or an opera. Find a quiet field, throw down a blanket, lay down and stare at the clouds.

  • "You need to approach this blackout period with an unwavering belief in its benefit and a commitment to see it through." -- If you do that, how do you know that the results you experience are not placebo, or biased. If you go into this trying as hard as you can to convince yourself that it will be great and you'll feel better afterward, how do you know that the better you feel isn't just a result of accomplishing your task, and not the subject of the task. I can be convinced, but not by anecdote. Science pl
  • I've done similar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @12:13PM (#52989919)
    A few months ago I powered down my phone. I don't know what spurred me but I left it off for a week (vacation). At first being disconnected was painful. After the first couple of days I felt liberated and did not want to turn it back at the point when I felt I had no choice. I still had email, but the people I know are more modern in the sense they don't really use it socially and never have such that there is a disconnect for them. For me this made personal contact less intrusive and less invasive. People suddenly no longer felt the need to text me every little errant thought and selfies of them not looking at where they are going.

    It was nice.
    • by npslider ( 4555045 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @12:50PM (#52990257)

      The white glowing extrovert with a golden halo on my right shoulder told me to turn off the phone for a while. My fingers made it to the power button...

      The red tailed introverted devil on the left sent me a candy crush request.

      My decision became considerably easier.

      Sigh... That little devil is a crafty one..

  • The article doesn't seem to be about offline so much as not working. FTFA:

    For me, this means abstaining from work and, in the deepest sense, simply resting

    Now this guy owns a business. I can see that it'd be hard to not work. I own a business myself, and when starting, I was dumb enough to take on fixed-price projects. Combined with partly outsourcing to India, you can imagine I worked weekends.

    However when I stopped doing those projects and only did on-site (billed per hour) work, I had a real weekend.

  • If being online is adversely affecting your health, sanity, and happiness, you probably suffer from chronic road rage as well. Stop getting overwrought by things beyond your ability to control or influence, and give up your impulse to correct every mistake and your tendency to be outraged by opinions you don't share.

    Oh, and oblig. xkcd [xkcd.com].

  • Look, if you are the type of social media obsessed fool that constantly checks your phone every minute of every day, then YES, 24 hours of no electricity will keep you sane. It also means that 6 days after you do it (the day before you next free day), you will be a bit insane.

    Or you could simply engage in moderate, sane levels of e-use throughout the week and never get to that point.

    You could for example merely kill the privacy stealing Facebook, keeping your twitter, phone, text, internet search, and prob

    • I suppose it really depends on if the use of the technology:

      Social media - yes, cut back.
      Job mandated (if you do not reply, expect a pink slip or a loss of clients) - a little more complicated.

      • Please describe to me a job with that kind of massive tech use requirement but ALSO lets you go 24 hours without being in any contact at all (not even phone).

        I propose that job is so rare as to be irrelevant to a general discussion of the issue. They can talk about it on an industry specific site.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday September 30, 2016 @12:33PM (#52990105)
    They feel compelled to share their experience online. This is starting to sound like people who like to point out they don't own a TV [theonion.com]. (And yes I know that's a satire site. It's funny because it hints at the true motivation of people who claim they like to buck the trend.)

    Lots of people go offline for an extended period of time. Hikers, campers, sailors, hunters, etc. They just don't make a big deal about it (online) as the folks who do it so they can brag about it online. That's the key difference, not whether or not you choose to go offline for a while. Are you doing it to participate in an activity you can enjoy without having to be online? Or are you doing it so you can brag about it online (e.g. post selfies you took while touring Yellowstone)? That's the point musicians are trying to make at concerts when they tell people to put away their phones [theguardian.com]. It's not that phones or the Internet is evil and you need to take time away from them. It's that you have this wonderful event going on right in front of you in real life, and you're missing it because you're too busy staring at your phone. You're trying to record the experience so you can "re-live" it later, but in doing so you're missing out on the actual experience, which defeats the whole purpose.

    That's the important thing - that you prioritize your enjoyment of that real-world experience while it's happening over your ability to re-live it later or share the experience online. Not how many hours or days you can go while offline.
    • So true!

      As a parent I wish to take pics and video of the kids doing all manner of cute things - to show others and remember later. But, it does change the experience as it is happening. I make a point to leave the phone out of the equation and just *be there, in the moment.

      Then, naturally I miss something "really funny" and wish I had recorded it! LOL.

  • If I go offline for 24 hours, I will no longer receive slashdot vanity bonus points for daily login.

    Nah, can't do that.

  • Being online has enriched my life in countless ways. I don't find it stressful. I have plenty of time with my family, some spent online, and a lot spent in person. We are all happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and most of us get lots of benefits from being online. I met my wife online!

    I don't see what the problem is.

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