I’m taking a big step today. I’m a little afraid, because my addiction has become bigger than anything I could have imagined, but today I am quitting Buzzfeed. And Upworthy. And Trendify. And all other similar crack-like websites. Am I being glib equating these sites with crack cocaine? No, I don’t think so.
These sites are very much like drugs. You get a quick rush, but then as fast as those 101 Puppies with Babies made you squeal with delight, the endorphins are rushing from your body and you’re seeking your next fix. What character are you from Star Wars, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad? Your life won’t be complete until you know for sure. You’ve made it this far without knowing these 77 Amazing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind, but there is no way you can go another minute now. And you just know that your life will be so much richer when you know all 69 Hip Hop Songs That Will Make You Weak In The Knees. Right?
This weekend I spent my time away from my desk and somewhere around hour 29, I noticed a fog starting to lift. My thinking got sharper. I was able to think outside of status updates and 140 characters. I didn't automatically throw everything into a list. Which got me thinking—do I control the internet or does the internet control me? It’s a question I’ve mulled over many times in the last several years, because it seems there’s always something on the internet to suck you away from the task at hand—living your life. So, I wrote down this simple mathematical equation:
Time spent acquiring useless information on Buzzfeed:
15 minutes daily
X 7 days a week
= 105 minutes a week
X 52 weeks a year
= 5,460 minutes or *drumroll please* 91 hours
What could I do with 91 extra hours in my life a year? Try this headline on for size:
16 Alternatives to Buzzfeed That Offer a More Satisfying, Longer-Lasting, Natural High.
lunch with friends
read a book
play with the dog
I'm not saying quitting will be easy. I feel it's much like quitting smoking. First, I have to draw the line in the sand. Am I really going to allow myself to lose days of my life to do something that doesn't actually enrich my life in any way? The answer is obvious—of course not! I expect for a few days I'll have withdrawal. Not clicking those links will be hard, but I can do it. Next, I'm going to bank my hours, much like I banked money saved from quitting smoking. Once I have banked an hour, I'm going to pick something off my list and do it. I'm willing to bet the fix will be much better than anything Buzzfeed and company could spoon feed me.