Spending time away from computer

I’m generally glued to my computer during the day. Although I’m trying to take more breaks away from it, instead of taking my break on it. But, looking at my Rescue Time data over the past few weeks (ignoring the week I was at the conference), I generally spend 60+ hours on my computer over a week! I had no idea it was that high (another benefit of having a computer tell you the truth – you can’t just lie about it any more). If only I was actually productive 60+ hours a week…

However, most of my time (obviously) either working or taking breaks involve the computer. Probably, because if I’m taking a short break (say a break during a pomodoro), there’s not much I can go do in 5 minutes away from the compute – except grab a snack or go to the bathroom. But at the computer, I can read a couple of news articles, check out twitter/facebook, respond to emails and so on.

I know I should spend more time away from the computer. And, I do get out and be active (running or climbing usually), and attend meetings without my laptop and so on. But, with the amount of time I am logging on the computer, I could be doing more to spend time away from it.

One of the ways to do this, would be to do more of my research using non-electronic methods. And I do use paper occasionally. Mostly, I use it for keeping track of my to-do list. Once in a while, I’ll sketch out some ideas or a design for something I need to make. But, I find I generally think better when I’m typing on the computer, then when I’m trying to write by hand (probably because I have a much better chance of keeping up with my brain while typing).

I haven’t been able to come up with any great methods or solutions to spend more time away. Last year, when I was being very productive over the summer, I would leave my power cord on campus so that I could only spend as much time on my laptop as the battery would last. And, I generally found that I wasn’t wanting to be on it in the evening. I’m hoping I can start figuring out a similar solution. As I’m not spending as much time on campus (not yet anyway), leaving the power cord is not a reasonable solution unless I want to start spending more time on campus.

I’m thinking of making a general rule that I can (should?) only spend x number of hours on my laptop a day. With Rescue Time’s data, I can easily watch to see when I hit that maximum. (I, unfortunately, can’t set up an alert, because you can’t set a goal that looks at total time. :() And, if I get my productivity levels up, I can work towards spending very little time on the weekend (just enough for my 750 and briefly checking news and email). For this to work, I think I need to come up with a reasonable number of hours for the week – not to little that it actually may impact productivity, but not to many that I can still waste a lot of time on it.

How much time do you think you spend on your computer? Or computer and tablet? Or any electronic device?


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