13 Ways to Spend Less Time Online and Reclaim Your Real Life

Power On, Power OffThe average American spends eight hours a month on Facebook, up from nearly six hours per month back in August 2010. As of 2009, the average young adult was spending virtually every waking hour with online access, either through their phones or their computers, and they were actively using them for two hours a day. Restaurants and bars and coffee shops across the world are littered with broken-neck zombies gazing into their smartphones. I’ve seen entire families out to dinner, each member’s attention fixated on an iPhone as they spoon food into mouth, pausing only to breathe and guzzle cola. I’ve seen young guys out at bars who, instead of checking out the women at the next table over or jabbering at each other with youthful exuberance, feel the need to tell everyone on their Facebook lists just how much fun they claim to be having. I’ve even caught myself lingering at the computer after work, doing nothing of import even as a gorgeous spring day ticks away into the ether of time right outside the window. Why? Just what the heck is our collective problem?

The obvious solution is to not spend so much unnecessary time online, but we pretty much all know that. Just like we know we should lose that weight, exercise more regularly, read that book, watch that Blu-ray that Netflix sent us two months ago. But is that really a solution, or is it just stating the end goal? I think it’s the end goal, not the answer. The trick lies in figuring out how to reach that goal. That’s the key, and that’s what we should be focusing on: how to get ourselves to spend less time online and more time out in the real world. Stuff like “just don’t go online!” or “don’t check your email” isn’t really useful advice, so we won’t even go there. I also won’t tell you what to do with your free, real time, since you know what to do. I’m just going to help you figure out how to get more of it.

So, how to do it?

Work More Efficiently and Waste Less Time on Internet Frivolity

…so that you have more free time to do what you really want.

I like frivolity. The tendency to goof off and act silly and waste time is part of what makes us human, but if that tendency is preventing you from getting important things done, you’re only hurting your ability to really enjoy yourself. How many people have taken ten hours to do a task that should have taken two, all because they were clicking back and forth between online forums, Facebook, Twitter, and funny cat pics when they should have been working? Sure, you “enjoyed” yourself, but wouldn’t you have rather finished the task in two hours and had eight hours all to yourself? I find that when I waste time doing “fun” stuff when I could be more productive, I don’t actually enjoy the fun at all simply because lurking in the back of my mind is the knowledge that I should be doing my work. I’ll take the eight, totally unencumbered hours every single time.

What are some ways to improve our efficiency and stop wasting time for those of us who have to work online?

Try RescueTime

RescueTime is a time management and analytics application for “knowledge workers.” In other words, if you depend on a computer for your employment, the app will let you know where you’re spending your time on that computer. It will break down how much active time you spend on various websites and applications. We oftentimes don’t know how wasteful we’re being until we see it laid out in front of us in excruciating detail, so this can be very useful for identifying a problem. It also allows you to go into “Focus mode,” which prevents you from visiting the most disruptive (as deemed by the application’s analysis of your habits) websites. RescueTime is available for Mac and PC.

Use Self Control

No, I didn’t just break my promise not to give redundant, tautological advice. Self Control is an application for MacOS that allows you to put certain websites on a “blacklist.” Once you activate the timer, you will be unable to visit the websites on your blacklist for the time you’ve allotted. Even if you restart your computer or try to delete the program, you’ll remain barred from the offending websites. For the person with absolutely zero willpower (which is a surprising number of us), Self Control will prove invaluable. Obviously, you don’t use Self Control to stay offline. You use Self Control to get your work done faster so that you can log off quicker and get back to the real world. For PC users, Freedom is a similar app.

Establish Scheduled Breaks

Few can work straight through for eight hours without a break, and I don’t think you should even try to attempt such a feat. Instead, you should take breaks. Real breaks, though – scheduled ones. Don’t just flit around Facebook in the midst of your work whenever it strikes your fancy, because it’ll strike your fancy more often than not and you’ll end up wasting too much time. I find that setting aside time slots for regular breaks works way better than winging it. Try taking a ten minute break for every 50 minutes of solid work. You’re gonna take breaks regardless; you might as well try to make them work for, and not against you.

Take Your Breaks Away from the Computer

While you could use those ten minutes to feverishly consume the latest tweets, I’d say your time would be better spent away from the computer. Get up and do a quick ten minute workout. Bang out some pushups, pullups, and air squats. See how long you can hold a plank. Take a short walk outside. Meditate. Or, if it’s a real busy day, step away from the keyboard and give real, ponderous thought to the day’s tasks. You might have a revelation or breakthrough, thereby giving you a boost in efficiency. And even if you don’t, you won’t have wasted your break online.

Use the Internet as an Enhancement of Real Life

Above all else, the Internet is an incredibly powerful tool for connecting people and collating easily-accessible information. If we use the available tools to connect with people, pursue and research real-life interests, and learn about the world – and then apply the newfound knowledge – the Internet can be an enabler of real lives. It’s only when going online replaces real world interactions and experiences that things get all screwy.

What are some ways to enhance our real lives with the Internet?

Make Concrete Plans with Friends

Instead of idly chatting to your buddy whom you’ve not seen in months “Oh, we should totally grab dinner sometime,” say “Let’s grab dinner next Wednesday.” See the difference? In the first example, you’re just saying stuff to make yourself feel better for not having seen your friend without actually having to see the person – you’re not planning anything. In the second example, you’re actually making plans to see the person. You have to commit.

Use Online Apps to Create Events

Whether it’s Facebook, Google Calendar, Evite (are the kids still using Evite these days?), or any other calendar/invitation app, tool, or website, create events and then invite your friends to them. Take the initiative. Besides, chances are they’re spending all their time on Facebook, too, so they’re going to see your invite.

Use Meetup – Don’t Just Join It

Plenty of people join Meetup groups that sound interesting. “Oooh, transcendental meditation!” or “Hey, I like car camping! Why  not?” They join, but they never actually attend a meet-up. Seriously: Googling “inactive meetup members” gets you tons of hits from blogs and message boards complaining about all the inactive members in various Meetup groups. This is a huge mistake, because more than the “thing” the group is about, you’re actually going to meet interesting people that happen to enjoy the same things you enjoy. Meetup can be a powerful tool, as long as you actually use it.

Just Don’t Use the Internet

At some point, you’re going to have to not use the Internet in order to enjoy real life. You don’t have to give it up entirely of course, but you will have to have some electronic-free time.

Here are a few ways to go about this.

Every Day, Set Aside Two Hours of Non-Internet Time

You can use your phone to listen to stored music as you go about your day. You can use your computer to write in your journal. You can use your Wacom tablet to draw. But that’s about it. Not counting sleep, grooming, eating, bathrooming, getting ready for bed, and commuting to and from work, set aside two hours out of every day to not use the Internet. Use this time to cook and enjoy a delicious meal, hang out with friends and loved ones, go for a walk, lift some heavy things, read a good book, write a letter, pet your dog/cat, or look at clouds. Just don’t whip out the smartphone or flip open the laptop for those two hours (which can be broken up into two single hour sessions, if you like).

Go Camping

I find that whenever I go camping, I forget about the emails, the backed up posts in the queue, the blog post ideas, whatever projects I’m working on, and my smartphone. Oh, sure, maybe for the first couple of hours I’ll pace around the campground trying to find the spot that offers phone reception, but that soon falls by the wayside. The phone gets put away – or maybe used to play some tunes at night – and I lose myself in the great big wild. And then I end up finding myself, if you know what I mean.

Go a Whole Day Without the Internet

Take a day off from it all. Use your phone only as a phone. Let your contacts know what’s going down, of course, particularly if your livelihood depends on it, and set up an “out of office” email alert for those who write to you. This is going to be hard, it’s going to be scary, and it’s going to feel impossible at first. That’s okay – just stick with it. It’s only a day. When the day is up, review. Was it hard? Was it miserable? Did you pine for Facebook? Then you probably really, really needed this day off (and many more). And now you know it’s possible. After all, you’re still alive.

Leave the Phone at Home From Time to Time

We like to think we “need” our phone for emergencies, but how often do those really come up? Flat tires, sure. Getting locked out, okay. What else? Yeah, not much, right? Next time you’re heading out to do some shopping or run errands, leave the phone at home. You don’t really need it.

Turn the Phone Off When It’s In Your Pocket or Purse

When you do have your phone on you, keep it turned off when you’re on the move. Once you arrive, turn the phone on so you can receive and make calls, but don’t be that person bumping into people on the street, walking into fire hydrants, getting run over by street sweepers, or walking right off of cliffs (this isn’t a Looney Tunes cartoon and you won’t have the time to look down, realize your predicament, and run back to safety), all because you had your nose in an iPhone.

If you’re one of the rare birds that honestly cannot live without being connected, have at it. If you truly and honestly love and cherish every single minute you spend online and would rather give up sex than Facebook, then do it. But I suspect that most of you, even the ones who profess their undying love to the Internet, secretly wish you could spend more time offline. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to deciding not to spend so much time in front of the screen(s), and these tips, tricks, and techniques should help get you closer to that decision.

Of course, all the aforementioned advice should be utterly disregarded when it comes to your perusal and consumption of Mark’s Daily Apple.

Let me know what you think of my ideas, guys, then be sure to leave a comment or two with your own tips. Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

101 thoughts on “13 Ways to Spend Less Time Online and Reclaim Your Real Life”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Excellent suggestions Mark. And I finally beat Wayne to the punch…booyah! Now I gotta get off this damn machine!!!

  2. I could get 15 minutes back a day if I cut out reading MDA but I think it is time well spent. I know that I spend way too much time on the internet every day but I don’t feel that bad because more than half of that time is spent researching new exercises, healthy recipes and ways to improve my health. Other than that I also spend a lot of time watching Netflix, but that is mostly while I am in the kitchen cooking healthy meals.

    Damn you Dano, I lose.

      1. I think the world would end because of the sudden explosion of productivity. Seriously, porn does nothing but ruin lives and families. So many problems would be solved or greatly alleviated if people found the willpower and common sense to stop.

        1. Perhaps I live a sheltered existence but I personally do not know a family ruined by porn. The closest case I’ve heard of is Bernie Kosar. I think alcoholism is more destructive than online porn.

        2. Alcoholism definitely results in more transparent ways, but porn is a huge issue that most don’t take the time to think on. It’s interesting that while most men would admit that they would be devastated at the thought of their children being viewed in that way by millions of (let’s say less than savory) men all over the world, they have no problem viewing the children of others for their own pleasure.

          SSC- What an intelligent response. I’m not a Mormon, nor does it take being one to have common sense.

        3. Porn, don’t get me started. Some people have mentioned the reason comp’s are so common is because the idea was to do exactly what they ARE doing- instant gratification, get everyone sucked in and turned off from real life.
          It’s working and weird. I used to be a full-on adventure hound and still probably would be had I not started breeding…
          I realised my ex was addicted to porn once I understood my current was addicted to porn. Nice guys, handsome, pleasant but secretly addicted. Don’t know about the ex but I threatened to leave (really surprised at how pissed off I was) if current didn’t get hypno to help. He did and it has, but now he’s addicted to a few other things. Sex is better though…
          Life with an alcoholic is more stressful and painful. Life with a using porn addict is just sort of gross. Like ugh, ick, go away.
          Don’t like either!

          1. If something is “just sort of gross” it only means that you are socially taught to dislike it, it is not in itself an argument for anything. Each time you let your feelings dictate your positions, you risk simply being ignorant because you don’t really know what the reasons are for what you believe in… As for the porn discussion, there are certainly problems associated with it, but physically masturbating is healthy, and mentally, well… Probably not that much, I think training the imagination is more giving in the end…?

        4. It’s natural to watch porn and yes even for women… if it’s getting in the way of what you do each day then it might be a problem. If it’s a secrete addiction then it mustn’t be interfering with the rest of your life too much…

        5. “I realised my ex was addicted to porn once I understood my current was addicted to porn. Nice guys, handsome, pleasant but secretly addicted. Don’t know about the ex but I threatened to leave (really surprised at how pissed off I was) if current didn’t get hypno to help. He did and it has”

          Poor sad guy, a fully grown man living at your whim like that. I think detect a common denominator here though.

        6. What’s with all the porn bashing, let people lead their lives the way they see fit, instead of imposing your views on them and stating this is how you should live your life.

          Also porn addiction? Mabye if you were spending hours on it a day, but the average male watches a fair amount of porn, that is not to say the average male is addicted to porn.

        7. “Perhaps I live a sheltered existence but I personally do not know a family ruined by porn.”
          – Well I live a sheltered life and I know a family, my sister in-laws. It’s not the watching of porn that ruins lives. It’s the ideas people get and carry out in real life, from watching porn, that ruins lives. So, seriously porn DOES ruin lives and families

          1. What kind of ideas could that be and how do you know the idea came from porn? Sounds very far-fetched! Here in Denmark everyone watches porn and it is seen as completely harmless for adults – and we are all just fine, decent citizens in every way. The problem, as I see it, is the stigmatizing that might come with it, that mainly religious people are responsible of…

        8. Joe- stating that porn is destructive is not imposing a belief on someone, don’t be so quick to judge. If someone has a belief that contradicts yours, look at the evidence. And addiction doesn’t depend so much on the time involved as it does on most men’s inability to stop viewing it. Most can’t without outside support.

        9. I agree. Porn can significantly damage a person’s dopamine and seratonin receptors in the brain, as well as greatly shorten a person’s attention span. It can also create a materialistic and self-centered thought process, and cause people to view women (and men) as nothing but objects. All in all, it is a selfish, completely worthless thing to do.

          Porn and prostitution is also one of the largest industries in the U.S. (and many other parts of the world). Your average porn-star will make far more than a teacher in this country.

          Normally, I’d say “to each his own”, or that people are free to do whatever they want, but the truth is that something like pornography effects the mass population on many different levels, directly and indirectly.

          1. Well that has yet to happen to anyone I know or me.

  3. Thank you so much for this article! As a college student, it’s so hard to watch my peers spend 95% of their lives online, especially when I consider that most of us will end up in office-type jobs anyway. We should be enjoying our freedom, time to socialize and be outside now, not spend it watching tv shows and reblogging funny photos (unless they’re of bacon, of course).

    1. I agree. Although as a college student myself, it’s often nearly impossible to ‘disconnect’ because all our assignments are online, and often my professors will email me something I have to do the night before it’s due. I’ve definitely used the Self Control app, although instead of facebook I use it to block Paleo blogs (:

      1. “often my professors will email me something I have to do the night before it’s due.”

        This is why I can never, ever go back to college. This sort of behavior was okay (well not really) when I was younger, but now that I’m out of school I can’t take it. I triple couldn’t take paying for it.

    2. How about being a mother watching another mother at the playground stick her face in her iphone while I saved her 1yr old son from falling from a height not once but twice. Mental.

  4. I wonder if an intermittent fasting protocol could be applied to internet usage with any success. I guess it would be slightly more difficult as the internet literally is a click away as food availability not so much. The other problem I see personally is once getting off the internet, I find myself in front of the television. Wish I was brave enough to throw both away.

    1. We have no TV in the house. I died and we never replaced it. I never feel I miss it untill the Kentucky Durby, then I just find a sports bar for dinner that night.

  5. Lol, “disregard this for MDA”. I have a habit of coming here even though I’ve caught up on my posts,and then I just rove around aimlessly. This site is hard to get away from!

    On a serious note, I find it freeing, in a sense, when I know I have absolutely no reason to use my phone, or get online. Like you said, being able to put aside everyone else’s expectations from you, and just worry about yourself.

    Also for people with lower back pain (or herniated discs, like myself) it’s a great thing to take breaks and stretch… your body will thank you later.

  6. Make plans? Ha! I cannot begin to describe how frustrated I am with friends who will not make plans. It is one thing if an event is long, like a weekend bbq. Show up, show up late, don’t show up- ok. It is another matter when head count, price/cost and punctuality matter. But I found a solution to the problem. I do not include these friends anymore. Harsh? Yes, but it works for me.

    1. You kinda of have to go there at certain point with certain people.

  7. Thank you Mark, for this wonderful post!! It is very well timed and exactly what I needed to hear! It’s something my mom has been telling me for a while 🙂

  8. That is so weird. I just deleted my facebook account before visiting here. I feel liberated!

  9. I permanently deleted my facebook account almost a year and half ago. Absolutely zero regrets. The small percentage of those “friends” that were actually my friends I lierally speak with now. I’m just old enough to remember a time before social networking, before email and before cell phones. Those were peaceful times. We made weekly phone calls to dear friends and family members. We made plans to visit and stuck with them. We were able to run errands without a phone in our pocket or our hands, and had conversations with random people and store clerks. We didn’t get T-boned by someone texting. Those were the good ole days.

  10. I turned off my cell phone in an effort to save some dollars each month. I’m pleasantly surprised how much I enjoy not being able to be reached every waking minute of the day. Yep, still have a phone on my wall at home, and yep my kids can still call me at work. We just now have to actually plan our days and schedules to know when and where everyone will be.

    Thanks for the great information!

  11. I would love to disconnect from FaceBook, but I live over a thousand miles away from my friends due to the economy forcing us to move away. Calling is out of the question because of the long distance costs involved. I’m kind of stuck.

    1. That’s a positive of facebook. You could also try facetime or skype since you are internet connected if you want to remove facebook altogether!

    2. Or get a cheap unlimited phone service like vonage. Probably cheaper then your land line anyhow

  12. What’s a cellphone? Never had one and can’t see a single reason to ever own one. What a complete waste of time and money!

    1. I only got one to have for emergencies. There are almost no phone booths now days. So if you have a car or other emergency, you are relying on someone who does have a cell phone.

  13. Thanks for the reminder, Mark. This is an area I definitely need to work on.

    I have developed lots of real life friendships in the last year. I have an old, dumb cell phone that doesn’t even have a camera. Gasp! The only reason I even have a cell phone is for emergencies. I don’t carry it around when I’m at home. I don’t tweet.

    BUT . . . I spend way too much time in FaceBook. In many ways, I hate FB but it is the only practical way to stay in touch with lots of people who are dear to me. I couldn’t really belong to my great social groups without FB. Grrrr! But I can cut back how often I go into FB, which is way to often.

    I do spend lots of time in SecondLife virtual reality. I have more real friends, including ones in foreign countries, there than I have ever had in my so called “real” life. I work on creative projects. I assist with historically accurate reenactment. I perform (comedy). It IS real. If anything, I would like to spend more time there.

  14. Hmmm…this unscheduled work break to read MDA just reminded me to get back to work…the circle is complete…

  15. Disconnected Facebook a while back – colossal time-suck and craziness. I didn’t renew cable TV and had a broadcast TV HD antenna installed – now I rarely watch TV and if I do I can catch the news in Korean or Mandarin or some other alternative viewpoints. Cold turkey on the cable – went from being hooked on cooking and real estate shows to NOTHING! Don’t miss any of it – it was all just one-directional pablum.

    Never been a big phone user, but what I have to do next is PUT DOWN the IPAD. It’s totally attached to me and is preying on my compulsive info-addiction. Okay, today I’m going to remove a bunch of bookmarks I can live without. I’ll try to unplug from useless habits one by one.

    Speaking of bad habits, I’ve thrown away my Starbucks card and am going to try not to go there alone anymore. I’ll only go as part of a social outing.

    Animals are very habitual creatures – we like routines and get caught up in new habits quickly. Let’s form more Grok-like habits!

  16. For software developers reading this, look into the Pomodoro Technique for a good time management technique

    1. Mark described the Pomodoro Technique without naming it in the post — it’s just a longer period of time. The Pomodoro Technique uses blocks of 25 minutes of uninterrupted time and then 5 minute breaks. Mark mentioned 50 min/10 min. break.

      At any rate, either time interval works wonders for us Internet “Haven’t found a hyperlink I haven’t liked” folks.

  17. Live intentionally like you eat intentionally, and redeem the time!

    Great stuff Mark–now if I can just get my wife off facebook!

  18. LOVE this post! I check out on the weekends, not booting up my laptop, definitely not blogging either. Its harder on the weekdays since I feel like I have to stay connected for all my blogging activities.

    My tip to add: Log Out. And don’t save your passwords. How annoying is it that every time you want to check Facebook, you have to open the browser, type in the URL, type in your name and password. Most people are on it so much because 1) they leave it up or 2) they are automatically signed in on their PC. Make it harder/annoying to check too often 🙂

    1. Great tip about logging out (: For a while, my phone stopped automatically filling in my password and username and I checked FB much less often.

      1. I was pressured by tens upon tens of people to join bookface years ago and resisted on the grounds of suspicion. Call me a paranoid cynic schitzo. By the sound of it I made the right decision though.
        That said I decided to look up a bunch of old names recently (under a fake name) and man, what a serious compulsion I had running for about a week. Every name from my chequered and excessive past, I was thoroughly exhausted. Really interesting, especially the ones who neglected involvement in the ‘movement’.

  19. The best way that I have ever heard this put into perspective in its relationship to social life is this: before the presence of TVs in houses for entertainment, couples or families would either have to entertain each other or ignore each other. Rather than watching TV in bed together until you fell asleep, you would literally have to ignore the other person if you weren’t talking or interacting in some way. When we kill time by going online or watching TV at home, we are ignoring those around us. Put that way, it’s a hard pill to swallow. Granted, the same can be said of reading a book, so perhaps it’s a matter of the quantity of time spent checking out.

  20. As a college student, trying to disconnect myself from the internet world is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do and am still trying to do. From the GPS on my phone helping me find new buildings on campus, to being able to check my e-mail on-the-go, to pinterest and facebook and social networking sites, to virtually all my homework being online as WELL as textbooks now too, to too many paleo blogs. That list could go on. And yet, at least I am aware that this whole Internet thing is not natural. I miss the days when I would hang out with friends and high school and we all wouldn’t be checking our iPhones and checking in on foursquare and tweeting and facebooking all at the same time instead of interacting. There was still technology present (computers, movies) but not like we have today,and it makes me quite sad actually. A lot of the time I find myself wishing I lived close to some set of mountains, so at least when everyone else wanted to sit on the Internet all day I could spur a random “LETS GO HIKING!” idea and be able to do just that. Maybe one day. Great post, Mark. Just what I needed!

    1. Instead of ‘let’s go hiking,’ you could always go with ‘let’s play frisbee,’ or something similar! Hacky sack is fun too. Even with the prevalence of technology, I’ve found that I can usually round up a few of my dormmates to go throw a football or something. My friends and I were kicking around a hacky sack during the commercials of Modern Family last night haha (:

  21. You forgot ”live in truly free country with a truly benevolent culture and a truly bright future” on your list. That’s one way to care more about real life.

    Oh, and getting rid of that second-handed personality which values prestige over achievement, ”love” over justice, and wealth for its own sake (ie: the cause of cause #1) helps too.

  22. My new book is in the mail! I’ll stay offline to read it.

  23. I am a relatively low user of electronics. I don’t watch TV or go to the movies and I only recently got a cell phone and joined facebook (two weeks ago). I’ve always joked that I am part Amish. As parents we really control how much the kids are plugged in and how often they are outside playing BUT – there is some true democracy that comes out of being able to self-publish. Even if only 15 people read what you have to write you did not have to go to a publisher and pitch a story only to have it endlessly rejected. MDA would be a newletter with a few hundred readers. Now, with the internet, you can grow as a writer while you are writing. That is something I can defend.

    There is also a lot of empowerment for all of us in being able to look something up easily. I can defend that too.

    I also agree that reading a telephone or talking on the phone while you are taking care of a child or sharing a meal with family,looks awful. But is it? How different is it from having loud, always interrupted, conversations that we do when there are a lot of people at the table. Families are wonderful but hard to be around sometimes. It is offensive to me to see the phones (I don’t even like it when people are walking the dog with the phone stuck on their ear) but isn’t it a version of the same old thing? I don’t really know if it’s so different from reading the paper.

  24. It’s very easy cutting the cable TV cord and it’s very overpriced charges. Put up your own $35.00 antenna to get the 4 major networks (most in HD) and some local PBS. I promise you will not miss all the crap on TV. If you need a movie fix now and then, just stream netflix thru a Roku for about $12 bucks a month. Let’s get our lives back…

  25. i have to say that since i’ve started reading MDA and going primal (2 months) i am a little obsessed and hungry for knowledge! i am reading up on different blogs i like, finding recipes, googling questions i may have, listening to podcasts and ordering books from the library. the more i learn the more i want to know! having said that, i find i watch tv less. i listen to more podcasts and online radio both primal/paleo related and not.

    1. Yeah Melissa. This is the thing.
      I resent the draw of www (my only remaining media link) and Mark being so good at all this, because he’s pretty much a one-stop shop. Were it not for this blog and gmail I like to think I’d be out of the www for good.
      He has a habit of pulling my consciousness from the ether and kicking me with it.
      I love the content and I love the comments characters. But I love a natural wild adventure high more. It’s a trick to get it with a toddler though!

  26. My days off work are my biggest problem, especially this time of year, it’s all to easy to just chill in front of the screen!

    Thankfully I have no Internet access on my phone, or at work, so apart from texting a couple of close friends on a regular basis, the majority of each day is not consumed with Facebook. BUT I do end up getting absorbed in it through the evenings… something that for a while I’ve been trying to curb. I know I live nowhere near 90+ per cent of my friends and family, but I’ve been using the “I NEED Facebook/email etc to keep in touch with my social group” excuse too much. I mean, how often do I ACTUALLY have a proper conversation online? Couple or three times a week, depending on who it is, and what’s happening in life, obviously, but I reckon that’s the average.

    Soooo… I’ve recently been trying some things out. If I’m going to use my evening hours online, then I’m going to limit how long I spend on the evil FB, if someone wants to chat fine, if not I’m researching making my own health and beauty products, checking out this and other fine blogs, giving my brain a workout with Sudoku/Mahjong games etc, watching a TV show I missed on catch-up, or a film I’ve wanted to watch for ages, or just listening to music. I’ve decided I’m also going to try and write something every day, haven’t decided if it’s going to be on the laptop or pen and paper, but hey, that could work too!

    And, I’m also trying to make sure that I don’t get stuck online at other times i.e. that research on making my own health and beauty products – made two eyeshadows today (and they turned out pretty good).

  27. Just when you think you’ve kicked the habit, there you are…checking email…checking Crackbook. It’s crazy addictive!

    SelfControl looks sweet. There has been so much research into human “automaticity” that basically shows how much we suck at self control that as the internet (and world) becomes more distracting, we’ll need to engineer ways to combat the attention landrush.

  28. This article affirms a lot of the ideas that I started using myself with a few more added. I spend all day working on the computer to the point that I have to set a stop time. I need more tools than others due to this. Really appreciate the article!

  29. I definitely need to take this advice. I work from home, which means I am on my computer for up to 10 hours a day!!! Luckily I got a stand up desk so I am not sitting for all of those hours, but I MUST remind myself that I need to take a break AT LEAST every 2 hours. If I don’t (like this morning) I will go completely bonkers.

    Another tip: ALWAYS EAT before you get to work! It took me 4 hours to write something this morning because my brain lacked the blood sugar it needed to focus and get creative! HA! The second I ate something (delicious elk, might I add) I felt WORLDS better and actually COMPLETED the damn thing, ha!!!

    You know what? I am going to take a REAL computer break RIGHT NOW!!! Thank you for the encouragement!

  30. Hi Mark– and fellow Grokkers (?) I found a way to help spread the primal living word through my own website– featuring MDA.

    I figure this site has been such an encouragement to me, why not promote it!

    I urge all who have their own websites to do the same if you have benefited from MDA.

  31. I get yelled at for not having my phone with me. I never have it with me. I let the battery die. I hate phones and always have. Mine is a dumb phone, too. I miss the good old days of rotary phones and only one phone company.

    I can’t stand college kids anymore. I’ve had to work with them. They don’t do any work at all. They just play with their phones. When I am walking around on campus, they’re all staring at their phones. I seriously can’t go for a walk on campus without it being an obstacle course of zombies running into me. They even look at their phones while riding their bikes! Unbelievable.

    1. I live next to a horse farm – when the teenage girls arrive in the afternoon, I literally see them riding the horses around the ring and down the street with their faces buried in a cell phone at the same time,…so sad 🙁

  32. Is it good or bad when you read a list about how to limit your Net time and realized you’ve tried most of them with varying success?

    RescueTime is very cool program, I don’t have enough discipline to make it work well.

    Here are the things that have worked the absolute best for me:

    -Admit to myself that my poor feeble mind can only hold so much information in day. This seems simple, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back and thought “I can handle it this time”. I can’t.

    -Keep my Facebook account but never check it, or check it for 5 minutes a week. (Really!) It turns into a big handy email address book then. Use the private message feature to stay in touch with friends.

    -Decide the level my job needs the Internet for and stay off accordingly. My current job is homeschool our kids. I have exactly zero reason to be on during the day except research specifically related to a topic. Most of the kids school work is paper based or non-Internet based. Thus no “free” Internet time until evening such as this blog. Thus 90% of my day is a no-Internet time. I suspect most people have no reason to be on the net during their work hours.

    -Try very hard to keep an a clean email box. I unsubscribe from everything I can. No weird links to follow down rabbit holes during email time.

    -Twitter once a week for 10 minutes, specifically for work.

    -Stay away from browser/cloud based apps. Use standalone applications like Evernote, standalone email clients, standalone todo lists to discourage surfing.

  33. I dont have facebook or any of those things and don’t feel a desire or need but I do have a very serious addiction to PC Gaming. I used to go through a cycle where I would get very addicted, play for hours every night, 3-4 hours sleep, then I would delete all my games and a couple weeks later I would slowly install them again. When I had enough of this cycle I downgraded my graphics card so I can’t play them anymore. Thats the only really destructive thing I have experienced in my life.

  34. And for the mandatory random comments:

    The irony of finding ways to stay off the Net on daily blog is not lost to me. 😉

    Also, what’s really weird/sad is most of lot of what’s described is how people lived way back in…1992. What a difference 20 years makes. My MIL grew up and lived over 1/2 of her adult life without cell phones, Facebook etc –now “she can’t live without them”.

    It’s like wandering the empty streets of my subdivision knowing there’s all sorts of great people in there, but I’ll never know them thanks to the endless distractions of modern life. People don’t hang outside anymore. 🙁

  35. Love this post. This is one of my goals for 2013. Especially spending less time on facebook. Thanks for the great tips.

  36. For the past three summers our family (4 kids) has had “Amish Days” every M/W/F. No screens of any kind. The first week is hard (lots of whining), but after that they adapt to the routine. My favorite part is listening to them practice their instruments. In addition to the school ones, piano, viola, bari sax, and percussion, my kids have taught themselves how to play flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, guitar, and trumpet. Just by dinking around for the three months of summer!

    1. Brilliant – I’m going to try this next holidays! I remember reading some time ago that it’s no bad thing to let kids get bored. They may even start reading – I live in hope!

      1. They may even start thinking! It’s very important to let kids think their way out of a situation, even as trivial as boredom… Awesome suggestion! I might try it with me and my husband…

    2. I forgot to mention that there is also a learning curve with the ususal “Kids Deliberately Pushing Each Others’ Buttons.” However, as the kids have gotten older (22, 19, 14, & 12)and more used to this routine, I hear a lot more horseplay and laughing, instead of serious arguing.It takes some vigilance and patience from everyone involved, but it is definitely worth it!
      Last summer my kids promised that they would self-monitor. LOL This summer we’re going back to Mom’s rules!

  37. I don’t understand how people can spend hours and hours on FB. I get in, read the latest posts and get out. Takes no more than 5 minutes per day. That does add up to 2 hours per month but I like to see what distant friends and family are up to so it’s worth up to 2 hours per month for me. Plus it can be done while standing in line at the grocery store… 🙂

  38. Using a stand up computer terminal saves a lot of wasted time. I hate standing around in one place. I also hate being unproductive at work. So, I make being unproductive more annoying by standing up. I get my shit done faster and get about my business sooner.

  39. Want the ultimate way to spend less time online… go on a week long cruise but don’t pay the exorbitant fees for Internet access and by all means get off the ship at ports and walk around.

    I did this a few years ago before finding MDA and I loved it. I didn’t even suffer withdrawal but then again I was very stressed by work, my job is the Internet btw, and needed to decompress.

  40. This is a great post! Just reading today because I got back from a cruise on Saturday. I could have bought WiFi to stay connected for the week but opted for airplane mode on my phone and only used it to tell time. Left it in my room for the most part, and never missed it once! When we got back, I turned the service back on, text a couple people, scrolled through Facebook, cleaned up my email, and then stuck it in my bag and didn’t check it again till I got to the airport. That week showed me that I was spending way too much time on my phone BUT now I know that I don’t need it as much. Time to start carrying a book with me to read when I’m waiting instead of scrolling through the News Feed…

  41. I’ve been using Rescue Time for a while and it works quite well. I’ve set some goals for myself with the app and it’s getting better. I still waste about 6 hrs/week on social networking (FB, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.), but some of that is work.
    In the interest of reducing time wasted on FB, I’ve just installed Social Fixer (https://socialfixer.com/) which seems to be very helpful right out the gate. So far “mark all as read” is the best time saver so I actually only have to see new posts rather than scroll through an endless list. Also I intend to set up keyword filters (football, Seahawks, guns) which should get rid of a lot of noise as well. 😉
    Some of the smartphone annoyance is relieved by not giving out the number.

  42. Wow. I wish I had heard about Self Control before. Now I need a version that blocks the website after you have been on it for a certain amount of time. It’s easy for me to stay off Facebook or Gmail if I am already off, but once I’m on, I get sucked in. I need an app where I can set it so that I can only be on for 30 minutes or whatever.

  43. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  44. awesome article.. the time im spending online could help me improve my career and my whole life..

  45. This article remember me some tricks I used in the past to make my time in the computer be more productive: usually I used a 15-15 method, 15 mins of work and 15 mins of break(away from the computer), it’s a good method when you are a developer.

    But now I’m trying to change my career to ‘network administrator’, now I spend much more time in the computer, because I spend my time: installing/re-installing server apps(man, this apps are for gurus), and reading logs and documentations.

    I think I need a new method to spend less time in the machine and stay more time in the real world.

    Any suggestions or experiences to share?

  46. Thanks, some of these apps are reallyuseful. I especially like the one which will monitor what I do with my time online. As a professional procrastinator, I realigned something likethat

  47. Any of these questions sound familiar? If you are a spiritual “junkie” and believe that a good intuitive, empathic or psychic reading CAN help you make the right choices about YOUR future, the truth is, you’ve probably asked one of the questions above AFTER a good reading, right? Or maybe like thousands of others who will read this, you are simply skeptical and want to know what is going on during a real intuitive consolation. Curious? Let’s take a quick and easy look at 7 of the most common ways a REAL psychic, clairvoyant, intuitive or spiritual medium can foretell the future.

  48. Sometimes when I’m at this clubhouse and people don’t talk to me or appear to like me, I get online.

  49. Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read far more
    from you. This is actually a wonderful site.

  50. I believe what you said made a bunch of sense.
    However, what about this? what if you added a little information? I ain’t suggesting your information isn’t good, but supposwe you added something
    that makes people want more? I mean 13 Ways to Go Online Less and Live More | Mark’s
    Daily Apple is kinda vanilla. You should glance at Yahoo’s front page and see howw they
    create post titles to get viewers to click. You might try adding a video or a pic or
    two to gab readers excited about what you’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it would make your posts a little bit more interesting.

  51. About 2Weeks I have done workout for gain six pack but have not been successful because of my fatty stomach.Now I realize that lose weight is how importance.Thanks for sharing such an effective guideline to lose weight.