It’s obvious that I’m an addict. Not all addictions are bad; I’ve been hooked on books since the age of six and on music almost as long, and hope to maintain these habits into the grave. But the issue is quantitative; you have to balance your addictions, worthy or otherwise, to get things done.
This was brought home to me on the current year-end expedition to Lauren’s family’s farm in what many people would consider a remote part of Saskatchewan. We learned shortly after arriving that the farm now has high-speed Internet courtesy of Sasktel’s long-distance wireless service, based on some sort of line-of-sight radio. 2M/sec down, 256K/sec up; perfectly satisfactory.
Previous visits to the farm, even given that I spend time doing child-care, helping out with chores, and taking pictures of cattle and clouds, have been small explosions of productivity and creativity. Off the Net, I can focus in on some code or writing or policy problem and get serious thinking done. Not this time; I’ve got a little done on the current Android project, but nothing like previous expeditions.
I’m more keenly aware of this because over the last year, the addition of Twitter has made increased the Net’s addictive power. Its steady rhythm of dense and flavorful little mental morsels hits some resonance frequency in me and a lot of other people too.
I’ve never bothered, in the past, trying to manage my Internet addiction. In fact I’d say that it’s served me well. But I think that, starting in 2009, I’m going to become more structured in my approach; as a matter of policy start reserving blocks of Net-free (not computer-free) time. Creativity and productivity are hard to schedule, but I’ll try scheduling the occasional removal of obstacles and see what happens.