The internet is certainly an amazing invention. Whether we are the better for its existence is up for debate, but I think it can be a useful tool. It can also be a serious time-waster, sucking up hours of your time browsing anything from pictures of Ireland's landscapes, to how to dye your hair yourself; decadent recipes to the next movie you want to see.... or even just staring at your Facebook homepage waiting for the ticker to give you another instant update. Don't even get me started on how many ways there are to kill time on Facebook.
I got really fed up with Facebook, and how much time I was wasting personally. I had tried limiting myself, but Facebook had become such an automatic, that I would get on and be 5 minutes in before I even remembered that I wasn't supposed to be there. Then I "un"-remembered myself, so I would have to enter my password every time I wanted to get on, hoping that would jolt me out of my automatic haze and remind me not to get on Facebook 10 times a day. For some reason it started remembering me again without my permission (either Facebook is evil or I'm just completely computer un-savvy... or both). So I deactivated it.
Since I've deactivated Facebook, I've noticed myself wasting time on the internet other ways (although Facebook was still worse) so now I'm working on some rules for myself. I want to strictly limit my computer time. I'm pretty sure that in a typical day I can fit all my useful computer activity into an hour. This would include checking and answering emails (business and personal), reading any new blog posts on the blogs that I follow, checking Facebook (BRIEFLY!), and occasional online banking, searches for recipes or looking up words (because I do that all the time, and I like using the online dictionary). It does NOT include writing blog posts, because I can't write a blog post in just a half hour. (Surely you've noticed how wordy I am... you have no idea how much I write and then delete. Be grateful. This could be SO much longer...)
I don't miss Facebook yet, and even though I've been wasting time browsing Craigslist for bicycles and antique furniture, I haven't wasted as much time as I did with Facebook. I'm going to start my hour-a-day computer managing strategy, adjust it as needed and eventually add Facebook back in. I'll let you know how it goes, and if you have any time management techniques, specific to computer time or not, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!