Is my laptop really a “productivity black hole”? Do I care?

In an article for Design TAXI, fellow MacBook lover Ethan Waldman asks:

“Do you ever sit down at the computer and get instantly distracted?”

It’s possible.

“Do you sometimes forget what it was that you were trying to do online in the first place?”

Perhaps.

While my uncommitted answers indicate a hesitancy to admit that I am less productive in the presence of my laptop, I can assure you that my dependency on the Internet is very, very real. I once often planned my days around the number of blogs I needed to catch up on. In a very strong sense, the Internet was my drug. And while I presume many others can identify with my condition, in every social circle there’s the occasional slow adapter or nostalgic old man who will drink them-self into a stupor and then vilify the Internet and its pervasive consequences. The thing is, I happen to still be part of the pro-Internet team that thinks said consequences are not inherently bad, at all. Before I digress any further, let me get back on subject. Waldman says that when you are dependent on your laptop, it creates a ‘blackhole’ effect; meaning, “you get sucked in so quickly that whatever it is you were trying to do is easily forgotten.” He says that after experiencing audio problems and checking his laptop into the Apple store, a brief absence from the Internet inspired him to change his habits.

“I cleaned my kitchen. Folded my laundry.”

So, why am I even writing about some guy that neither you nor I personally know? Because I think choose to believe that I am not the only person who starts the day with a cup of coffee and a promise to limit my Internet usage to the daily news, then find that it’s 10:45 p.m. and that damn laptop is still in my immediate vicinity. I refuse to believe that I am the only one who has ever experienced an unshakable self-loathing for acting like such an idle person. In response to Waldman, there have been countless times when the overflowing contents of my laundry hamper stunned me, as if a filter of denial had been draped over my eyes for weeks. It’s a cycle of blissful indifference interrupted by reality, and I hate it.

But you know what, despite my habits, which are apparently intervention-worthy to Waldman, I don’t really care. I’m enough of an adult to realize that a happy medium does exist, and that withering away in the darkness, eyes tired but wide-open and bloodshot, insisting that in 30 minutes (or when a full 24 hours has gone by) the computer will be turned off, is no way to live. The Internet doesn’t have to fuel a procrastinating life, college freshmen, in which you fail in school, miss deadlines, or forget what books are.

Perhaps Waldman isn’t strongly suggesting that replacing dish-washing time with YouTube marathon time is that bad. But, it forces one to either draw back further into denial about their addiction or it inspires one to take a step away from the prevailing discussions and finally commit to their own position. So, here’s my position on the matter:

I love technology. I love the Internet. It helps me learn stuff. It inspires me. Sure, I’d get more laundry done without it, but I’d be sad and I’d feel disconnected from the world. People need to be responsible, be adult, and get their shiz done before spending hours on Imgur, Reddit, or whatever their poison may be.

He ends the article with a challenge to question your own assumptions & stuff. I don’t know, I guess I extend the same :)

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