internet withdrawal and productivity

I don’t mean to sound too entitled by this post, but my apartment’s internet is still not working and it is annoying.  While it is nice that I now have an excuse to go to Chick-Fil-A or Starbucks to get WiFi, with the amount of study abroad logistics I have to take care of via the internet, my wallet is already feeling the pain of needing to travel for internet access.

I have had to prioritize my time at hotspots.  In times of plentiful internet, I waste so much time every day reading random blogs and refreshing my email inbox.  In contrast, over the past few days, I’ve been making to-do lists specifically for those precious few hours during which I have internet access. I’m not going to spend all day at Starbucks just to play flash games.  I have other things to do and places to go.  Git ‘er done.  And I may still end up with a million tabs open on my browser, but they are for productive websites.

me being productive with internet connectivityPictured:  simulation of productivity on the internet.  (Tip: Softwareaktualisierung means Software Update.  I switched my computer back to German a few weeks ago and love it.)

This situation reminds me of the days when my family had one wired internet connection, and I would wait all evening after school for my dad to finish doing such boring things as checking his email so I could make puzzles on Puzzlemaker or feed my Neopet.  (Remember Neopets?)  But now that I actually have adult responsibilities to take care of and connections to maintain and college logistics to sort out, internet access is actually something vital and waiting for it is more urgent.

My internetting strategy has changed over the past few days.  When going somewhere for WiFi, I get online, go through my emails in triage mode, look up any information I’ll need offline, wish people happy birthday on Facebook, open iTunes and download any important iOS app updates, sync my Wunderlist and Evernote and Dropbox and BibleReader and ReadItLater, check for computer software updates.  One last look at my email to tie up whatever loose ends I can, and I head out a couple of hours after I got my coffee and got online.  This process, of course, varies somewhat, but I’ve been far more productive with each hour of my internet access over the past few days than I am when I have access to reliable WiFi at home.

Being the dork that I am, I can see this as being a useful productivity tool.  During the academic year, it is far too easy to get online to check something on WolframAlpha for my homework and end up reading Apple rumor blogs or opening twenty tabs clicking on inline links on Wikipedia or TVTropes. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize this before, but blocking my internet for all but a few hours per day could be helpful on particularly bad homework days or during finals.

Looking back at the content of this post, I can be thankful that I don’t have a smartphone with 3G yet.  Always connected to the internet. All the time.  When can you actually be productive?

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