Morning routine for an internet-addicted college student?
April 17, 2006 9:02 AM   Subscribe

What is the best morning routine, especially for someone who is (a) in college and (b) wants to fight something starting to look like internet addiction?

I have this problem with my morning routine - every path seems to lead back to the computer. Go outside for a walk before anything else? Then I come back in feeling even sweatier and more gross than I would otherwise, but I don't want to walk to the shower b/c our dorm shower is similarly I procrastinate on the computer. Wake up, take a shower? Well, then it's back to my room afterwards when I get dressed, and so long as I'm waiting for class to begin...back to the computer. Maybe I should stay in and clean my increasingly disgusting room? Sure, but after a while I realize I need to find the right music/podcast for that, and it's back to the computer for a bit that turns out long because I really, really need more memory for it...or something. (My laptop is beginning to look retirement-worthy.)

The worst part is that my computer use usually ends up being just going back and forth between blogs, e-mail, facebook, etc., without ever really reading things in depth - there's a calming to the back and forth. What should my morning routine be? I hate the idea that I'm wasting time better spent on the computer, but I don't realize how much has been lost until after the fact, and am beginning to get seriously creeped out.
posted by Ash3000 to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Try cutting out time that the computer would allow--for instance, with the wake up, take a shower part, time it so you wake up, take a shower, get dressed, then immediately need to go to class, if that's possible.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 9:05 AM on April 17, 2006

Install Workrave and set it to have a non-postponable 30 second micro-break every five minutes. This can sometimes be useful for me to do a reset and think, "why am I still sitting at the computer when I am supposed to be doing something else?"

If you don't want it on the rest of the time, just set a Scheduled Task to turn it on in the morning.
posted by grouse at 9:11 AM on April 17, 2006

If your dorm is on campus, then you most likely have free access to a gym (or gym-like facilities). See if there are squash/tennis courts. Try out a rowing machine or a stationary bike.

Take a quick shower after (at my school, the early morning periods were pretty quiet in the gym area so there wasn't a lot of people around) and then head off to class.

Or, try studying in the library/cafeteria/cafe etc. (if you don't want to study, then just read a good book).
posted by purephase at 9:19 AM on April 17, 2006

I've been there. A few tips:

1) Unplug your laptop and put it in the trunk of your car. You don't have a car? Even better. Put it in the trunk of your friend's car. Leave it there for three to five days, or longer, if you're so inclined.

2) As soon as you've gotten rid of the computer, clean your room. Clean room = clean mind. You don't need music to do it; it seems like you'll need the motivation, but you won't. Cleaning is relaxing, and good for the soul.

3) It seems to be the case that it's healthy to eat as soon as possible when waking up. Healthy body = healthy mind. This is harder in a dorm room, but not impossible. Oatmeal is great for cholesterol, but if it's too boring for you, there are a lot of good cereals out there. Fruit can usually be taken from dining halls and stockpiled for breakfast, and is cheap anyhow, even if you have to buy it.

4) Are there other good places to hang out in the morning besides your room? It's good to walk a little in the morning. If a library or a coffee-shop or something is handy, reading the newspaper can be a nice way to prepare for the day. Going over homework for class is also a good way to go.

5) Last, but not least: I find music is actually a distraction in the morning. You don't really have the attention span yet to actually listen to it, and it destroys the calm that is the key to mental preparation. But your results may vary on this.

I had a huge problem with computer use in college, and these steps really did the trick. (After a time of weaning myself from it, I could just keep the computer closed up on my desk in the mornings.) This routine-- get up, eat breakfast, shower, dress, read newspaper/homework-- served me well for years. In fact, it still does.
posted by koeselitz at 9:30 AM on April 17, 2006 [4 favorites]

Here is what works for me.

1: get up.

2: shower, breakfast.

3: knock off at least one item off of my todo list before checking mail or opening a web browser.

4: once I've kicked at last one thing from a todo to a havedone, then I can give myself a break by surfing or playing.

Another thing to consider is to create another user account on your computer for just work. No fun bookmarks.

Something that I've heard works for other people, unpug the ethernet.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:06 AM on April 17, 2006

I noticed a great improvement in my morning routine - and my afternoon and evening routine - after my computer died and I decided not to replace it. E-mail and internet access is freely available on campus. I miss it but my life is better now than it was.

Back when I did have a computer in the room the trick was to have a deadline to get up for. If I had a morning class it was no problem - no surfing or I would be late. On semesters when my earliest class was 11:30, I often had the same sort of trouble you did - I would surf for an hour or so before leaving my room and kill a lot of my day. What I did to fix it: I started swimming at the pool every morning at the gym on campus. Lane swims were from 8:30 to 9:30 am. Once again it seemed to be the external schedule that motivated me. But the physical activity helped a lot as well; it made me feel more awake and made for more productivce days. Plus after the swim I had a few hours to kill, and since I was already away from my computer I had no problem studying in the library.
posted by PercussivePaul at 10:26 AM on April 17, 2006

I get up and go pretty much directly to the computer, but I set a timer for one hour. That gives me time to catch up on email and various sites, and also gives me a hard limit so I don't end up wasting the morning on unfocused surfing.
posted by tkolar at 10:28 AM on April 17, 2006

I am keenly watching this thread, refreshing it, and checking a few other sites waiting for new posts. Just kidding. I made a similar post to AskMe about this topic. My problem is exactly the opposite, I really LOVE my morning internet time but don't want those habits to encroach on the rest of my day. I'm making small steps and mainly seem to be successful when I turn wireless off (iBook) or work somewhere without net access.

I still have a hard time reading for more than 30 minutes at a stretch though. It's killing me.
posted by trey at 10:48 AM on April 17, 2006

For help with the internet addiction you might find some useful advice in this thread about programs that help you make productive use of your computer time.
posted by koenie at 1:32 PM on April 17, 2006

The only way I broke internet addiction was when my significant other told me to choose between her and playing computer games. I cancelled my MMORPG subscriptions a month later, and evening time is a 'no intarweb' zone... I'm now happier, healthier, and less depressed than I've been in about 5 years.

Additional irony: She and I met via the internet.
posted by SpecialK at 2:21 PM on April 17, 2006


#1: get a router that allows you to disable internet access except during specific times, set it to not allow surfing in the morning, and have a friend set the password (and not tell you, obviously.)

#2: get a subscription to the local paper, so that you have something to read in the morning during breakfast.
posted by davejay at 2:25 PM on April 17, 2006

To make a minor point, you could bring your clothes into the bathroom so you don't have to go back in your room.
posted by abcde at 5:15 PM on April 17, 2006

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