Personal rules for using the Internet

This list is a small set of rules I plan to follow to improve my Internet consumption. I put this together because I have been wasting time on my computer in my free time.

For example, one Friday night I found myself with some free time before going to bed—everyone was asleep for some reason. So I went to my office with no goal in mind, turned on my computer and started reading my Twitter feed, then switched to Hackernews and finished with watching memes on Reddit.

Before I noticed, I missed the time I wanted to be in bed and wasted an extra hour. I could have spent the time doing something productive like going for a walk, reading a book or working on one of my side projects.

That night I decided to write a set of rules that would remind me to be productive in some way the next time I have free time.

The list is a work in progress, but the rules I’ve got so far are:

  • Sit down only if you have the intention of:
    • Work
    • Create something
    • Contribute or help
    • Improve your skills or learn a new one
  • If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling STOP and:
    • Stretch and take a walk
    • Workout for 20 minutes
    • Read a chapter of a book
    • Write 750 words
  • Don't read the news out of boredom
  • Your attention is your most valuable asset, treat it like that
  • Never argue with someone on the Internet. No force of nature, facts, or dark magic can change the other person's opinion
  • Protect the privacy of the others as if it were yours

The last rule looks unrelated to the rest, but for me is essential to remember. If the list is going to help me be productive, I'm probably going to write code, and I want to keep the rule in mind.

Of course, none of these are obligatory or absolute. The list should provide a set of rules I can use as a reference when I’m unsure of what to do in front of my computer.

The purpose is to be productive while doing something I enjoy in my free time.