How to stop wasting time at the computer

Table of contents:

How to stop wasting time at the computer
How to stop wasting time at the computer

Are you worried about spending too much time on the Internet? While the Internet can be a good source of information and a great opportunity for social interaction, many of us begin to emotionally and physically suffer from the side effects of overuse of the computer. There are many different options you can take to curb your computer habits and spend more time away from the screen.


Method 1 of 3: Identifying the Sources of the Problem

Get Away from the Computer Step 1
Get Away from the Computer Step 1

Step 1. Understand what you are risking

Sitting in front of a computer screen for too long is not only wasted time. This can lead to physical and emotional burnout. Understand that excessive sitting at the computer can negatively affect you. Understanding the potential risk correctly will give you additional motivation to rethink your habits.

  • Sitting in front of a computer screen for more than 4 hours a day can increase your risk of heart disease (even if you get enough exercise throughout the week).
  • Some studies show that excessive sitting in front of a computer screen damages brain tissue, which ultimately reduces the brain's ability to function. Success in many areas of life depends on the correct functioning of the frontal lobe (which is most susceptible to harmful effects).
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) is a well-known condition that affects the most avid computer users.
  • If you already have a mental health problem (diagnosed with hypochondria and obsessive-compulsive disorder), then the flow of readily available information online can feed you unnecessary thoughts. For example, hypochondriacs often use WebMD to self-identify mild symptoms and then consider it a serious health problem.
  • Although less often, some people sometimes develop computer or Internet addiction. Excessive Internet or computer use is addictive, causing emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation, and physical side effects (back pain, headaches, weight loss or weight gain). If your behavior is excessively irritable, then you may be suffering from computer or internet addiction and you should seek psychiatric help.
Get Away from the Computer Step 2
Get Away from the Computer Step 2

Step 2. Make a list of what you do on your computer

In order to understand where and how you spend too much time on your computer or laptop, track the sites you visit and analyze everything else you do on your computer. What sites are causing the problem? Calculate how much time you spend on the Internet.

  • Do you use the Internet primarily for social networking? Are you a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram user? Have you caught yourself thinking that you are mindlessly scrolling through the news feed? Try to figure out why you are so interested in social media and how you could reduce the time you spend on them.
  • Many people use the Internet to watch television, movies, and other video materials. Do you spend a lot of time on Netflix and YouTube? Is watching videos the main activity of your vacation? Is there anything else you could do instead of relaxing and watching videos online?
  • Are you overly addicted to news? Do you read the New York Times, Huffington Post and other news websites to keep up with the rest of the world? If so, could you subscribe to a few magazines or read the newspaper instead of studying the news feeds solely with the help of a computer.
  • Do you play any games? Many people use their computer primarily for gaming, whether it be online battles with other players or single player games. How many hours do you spend playing computer games every evening / night?
  • Track how much time you spend on your computer during the week, make a complete list of all the sites you visit and all the tasks that you do on your computer. Try to figure out which sites, apps, or games are taking the most of your time.
Get Away from the Computer Step 3
Get Away from the Computer Step 3

Step 3. Analyze how much time you spend in front of a computer screen

Many people are very surprised after calculating how much time they spend sitting at the computer. Find out how many hours a day you spend in front of a computer screen. This may give you more motivation to cut back on your computer time.

  • In order to keep a log of computer time, you can use a regular pen and paper. Record which sites you visit, the games you play, and so on, and mark the start and end times of using your computer. Summarize the time spent for the day.
  • If you find it difficult to track this information on your own, then pay attention to the application for managing and analyzing time called RescueTime. This application structures all the information collected: how much time you spent on the computer, which websites, games and applications you spent the most time on.

Method 2 of 3: Change the way you use the Internet

Get Away from the Computer Step 4
Get Away from the Computer Step 4

Step 1. Develop a schedule for using the Internet

When it comes to using a computer, you cannot completely abandon it. We are increasingly dependent on the Internet and email for work, social life, paying bills and shopping. Internet scheduling is the most viable option for resolving the issue. Just limit the amount of time you spend online without having to completely eradicate your habit.

  • Plan what you will do on the computer. For example, if you catch yourself thinking that you are mindlessly spending an afternoon on the Internet, then limit the time you spend online to one hour, and after that hour, find another activity to pass the time.
  • Make a list of the sites you plan to visit. The reason many of us waste our time online is visiting unplanned websites: many sites link to other relevant sites, and you end up being sucked into surfing the web for several hours. Go online only for specific tasks. Schedule checking your email, Facebook, reading news, and then shutting down your computer.
  • If you really like random spontaneous searches on the Internet, then set a timer that will limit the time for aimless searches. Set aside an hour or two for unplanned Internet use, and then disconnect from the Internet for the rest of the day.
Get Away from the Computer Step 5
Get Away from the Computer Step 5

Step 2. Use technology to your advantage

There are many apps and add-ons (add-ons) that can block your access to those websites that are time-consuming. If self-control does not help you to reduce the time that you sit at the computer, then take some effort to install such an application.

  • If you are using the Firefox browser, then use the LeechBlock add-on. You can block websites that distract your attention for specific periods of time (ranging from a few hours to several days). If you are using Chrome, install a similar add-on StayFocused; Internet Explorer allows you to block specific sites simply by manipulating the blocking settings.
  • There is a SelfControl application for macOS that allows you to blacklist certain websites. You can set a timer and within a specified time you will not be able to access blacklisted websites. For personal computer users, there is a similar application called Freedom.
Get Away from the Computer Step 6
Get Away from the Computer Step 6

Step 3. Uninstall anything you don't need

If you sit at the computer for a long time due to games or some other applications, then think, maybe it's time to uninstall them.

  • What do you really need your computer for? For most of us, we need a computer to check our email (for work) and view calendars and schedules. Depending on your location and type of activity, you may have different challenges. Analyze what you really need and what you don’t, and give up what you don’t need.
  • It may be difficult for you to delete a video game that you really like, especially if you have saved data that will be lost after uninstallation. You may not have the willpower to do this. Talk to a friend or loved one about how you think you are spending too much time at the computer. See if they can come up and uninstall the game at your request.
Get Away from the Computer Step 7
Get Away from the Computer Step 7

Step 4. Make it harder for yourself to access

Sometimes the principle of “out of sight - out of mind” can effectively help to reduce the time spent at the computer. Difficulty accessing the internet or a laptop on its own can give you extra time to reflect on what you are doing, so you can come to the right decision and take a break from the computer.

  • Change the location of the shortcuts on your computer. This is a simple yet effective trick to help you cut back on your computer time. Remove browser shortcuts from visible locations, and also remove links (shortcuts) to websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have an email application that is configured to work with email, then uninstall it.
  • Change the location of your computer or laptop. If your computer is in an easily accessible place, then you will most likely take advantage of this. If, for example, your computer is set on a table near your bed, then you will most likely start your morning on Facebook. Set aside a designated area in your home for storing your laptop and / or computer and do not use these electronic devices outside of this designated area.
  • Disconnect the modem. If you have to wait for the modem to start up, it will give you extra time to think about whether you really need to connect to the Internet. Unplug the modem after daily scheduled internet use.
  • Turn off your computer when you are not using it. The extra time it takes to download will slow down the process and give you an opportunity to rethink how you want to spend your time.
Get Away from the Computer Step 8
Get Away from the Computer Step 8

Step 5. Take breaks

Even if we are careful about the time we spend at the computer, sometimes we still have to use the computer for work or study. If this is also true for you, then take breaks to minimize the physical and emotional side effects of working too long at the computer.

  • If you are using a computer to complete a project, schedule regular breaks. We often tend to take breaks while staying at the computer. For example, after an hour of work, we allow ourselves to check Facebook or Twitter. Instead of continuing to browse the Internet at your computer, walk for 10 minutes (every 50 minutes) or take a break to grab a snack or listen to your iPod.
  • There are many different 10 minute physical exercises (workouts) that you can do during your scheduled break. Exercise not only helps us deal with stress, but it also helps to counter some of the harmful effects of sitting in front of a computer screen too much. Good exercise options include push-ups, pull-ups, squats.
  • Meditation for ten minutes can also help you relax. You can find meditation techniques online or ask friends who are meditating.

Method 3 of 3: Changing your lifestyle

Get Away from the Computer Step 9
Get Away from the Computer Step 9

Step 1. Find yourself a hobby

Often the computer serves as the main form of recreation for a long time. If you've taken this route in terms of your recreational activities, then try to find some new hobbies for yourself that will help you combat your excessive internet surfing.

  • If you want to do something after work, do crossword puzzles, sudoku, board games, and cards. If you live with a roommate, family, or someone else who matters a lot to you, suggest a weekly game in the evenings.
  • Set yourself days without internet or days with limited internet use and use that time for other activities. Camping can often help ease your internet addiction. Try organizing weekend hikes or jogging after work.
  • If you read a lot online, consider buying real paper books and subscribe to magazines that interest you. Evening reading can help you get rid of the computer.
Get Away from the Computer Step 10
Get Away from the Computer Step 10

Step 2. Get mental health care

A constant, active hobby for the Internet is sometimes associated with preconditions for the development of depression or the development of feelings of anxiety. Although, perhaps you just suffer from computer or internet addiction as such.

  • Study the symptoms of mental disorders. Are you constantly suffering from sad, empty moods or feelings of helplessness? Are you feeling guilty or worthless? Are you having difficulty making decisions and keeping agreements about these feelings? Do you experience physical side effects such as weight gain or loss, insomnia, headaches, and digestive problems?
  • Do you use the internet or your computer to combat these feelings? Do you feel euphoric when you connect to the internet to temporarily relieve negative moods?
  • You can find a psychiatrist by visiting your insurance company's website and finding out exactly where you might be admitted. If you are a student, then, as a rule, you have the opportunity to get free consultation at the university.
  • Be patient. It may take you some time to find the right specialist; If you feel uncomfortable seeing one of the therapists, you may want to see another specialist in your area.
Get Away from the Computer Step 11
Get Away from the Computer Step 11

Step 3. Use the Internet to improve your real life

If you use the Internet to develop an active social life, you will end up spending less time on the computer. Use your computer to your advantage. Plan events and meet new people.

  • Plan with your friends. Facebook events, Google calendars, and e-vite cards can be used to engage people and plan collaborative events. Due to the fact that most people spend a lot of time on the Internet, they are likely to respond faster to an invitation online than an invitation by phone or a postcard.
  • Use sites like Meetup. Meetup is a site that promotes interest groups in any particular city (the resource has a fairly wide range of interests). Create a profile on Meetup and attend an upcoming event. This is a great way to get out of the house and meet new people.
  • Chat via Skype or Google Chat with friends who are far from you. One of the reasons that spending too much time online has such an emotional impact on us is because we feel isolated. If you use Skype video chat or Google Chat to communicate with friends over a long distance, then instead of increasing feelings of alienation, the Internet can bring you closer to other people. While it may sound counterintuitive, in the long run, if your mood improves, you may be spending less time on the internet.


  • Avoiding computer use altogether is not a viable option. This not only requires a lot more willpower than most people can boast, but, as a rule, at this age, many people need at least some access to the Internet in order to work and develop professionally.
  • Find support. Talk to friends and family about your computer and internet problems. Ask them to help you participate in group activities that do not involve a computer.

Popular by topic