January 26, 2011

Spending Way Too Much Time on the Computer

I got a new computer for Christmas and it is absolutely amazing! My old computer was so slow that even though i needed to use it a lot, I really couldn't use it for unnecessary things. Youtube videos took too long to load to watch more than one, Stumbleupon would freeze the computer after 10 clicks and opening up more than 3 tabs at a time would make Firefox call animal control. But now that I've have this new computer that turns on faster than I can press the button, I've found that I can open up 18 tabs in Firefox at once, listen to music, and watch videos all at once.

Subsequently I have realized that I've been getting very little done. I thought faster computer would equal more accomplished but it has not turned out that way. It used to take about 3 minutes to boot up my computer and so I would collect things that I wanted to look up or research throughout the day and look them all up at once when I had the computer on. But this new computer makes it so easy for me to turn on the computer 8 times a day if necessary and look something up immediately. Unfortunately, every time I look one thing up, I get distracted by a whole lot of nothing.

So in the interest of actually doing other things, like I used to (knitting, reading, practicing guitar, drawing, and researching properly,) I've decided to put a computer time limit on myself. I am giving myself 2 hours a day during the week, which may seem very excessive to most people but most of my school papers and homework requires the internet. It is amazing the number of things you have to do on the computer now, e-mails, banking, shopping, writing, etc.. I am actually very nervous about having these time limits--it seems way too short, but I am sure I will enjoy actually having my life back even better. Today was a snow day from college, and I got to see just how little I did today.   

For those who have been thinking that they'd like some limits for themselves, Here is how to do it:

Go to Control Panel.

Select User Accounts and Family Safety.  

Select Parental Controls. If you only have one user account on the computer, you will need to make a separate one for the time limit as you can't put parental controls if you only have one user account.

Select the Account you want the time limit on. In my picture it is labeled "2 Hour Time Limit."

Make sure the Parental Control button is switched to "on." and Click on Time Limits

Drag the Time Limit Sliders where you want them. I want two hours after school each day and all day on the weekends. I have them backwards for this photo, the white is for allow and the blue is for restricted.

If you have a Mac, here are the instructions: Parental Controls. I like the Mac settings better, I would rather be able to spread my two hours over the day by minutes.

Other ways to limit computer time:
  • Minutes Please: This is a website that will limit the amount of time you spend on the websites you spend the most time wasting time. It is free and easy to use. This is probably perfect for people who need to be using the computer for work but don't want to be checking Facebook every three seconds. 
  • 6 Firefox Tools That Monitor your Time Online: If you want to be alarmed at where you really are wasting time, check out these Firefox Tools.  
  • Leech Block: A Firefox add-on designed to make your use of the internet more productive.


  1. That's a really good goal, I actually had a huge discussion in school about technology and computer time and such. Good luck, I hope it works out well!

  2. Thanks Mary, I hope to accomplish a lot more than I have been.

  3. I admire you in that you seek simplicity--lots of people would say, "Meh, whatever. . .cool computer." ;P


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