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Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:13 am UTC
by Robin S
I know there are other places where addiction to the computer has been discussed, but I have a specific problem. For years, I haven't had a regular sleeping pattern, and a major factor in this has been the computer. Possibly as a result of my depression, I have very poor self-discipline when it comes to more or less anything, including things that I actually want to do. For this reason a number of projects of mine, such as a computer game that I've more or less completely designed in my head, have been indefinitely postponed, and I always get work done either just before the deadline or not at all, with high stress as a result. I am also, it seems, completely incapable of following a revision schedule in advance of important exams.

Anyway, I digress. This thread is principally to address the specific problem mentioned in the title. I often find myself on the computer, not even having anything in particular to do, switching aimlessly between the fora, Facebook and what have you looking for something to stay up doing. Even when I am doing something, such as replying to a series of threads, it's almost invariably something which could be postponed until the next day; if there's a list of things I'd like to do that's too long to remember, I could always make a note of it in Notepad or something similar (and occasionally, I do just that).

Now, I don't want to just set up my computer to disconnect from the Internet after a certain time. I've found that forcing myself into a situation rarely helps; for example, the buildings on my university campus lock automatically at 11pm, and if I'm still on campus at that time I'll usually find myself staying on the computer until seconds before that time, at which point all of my online activities are rudely interrupted. This is not pleasant. I would much rather find a way to teach myself the self-control to come off at a decent time, yet still allow myself to stay up all night if I want to or need to.

I say "want to"; I mean "really" want to, as opposed to "have an urge to that, if I had a choice in the matter, I would just turn off".

tl;dr version: how can I summon the willpower to get myself to bed at night without forcing the computer to disconnect at a set time, given my poor self-discipline? Better yet, how can I overcome my poor self-discipline altogether?

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:16 am UTC
by koneko
hah no help from me, i have the same problem

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:24 am UTC
by benjhuey
I've been here since noon and will remain until midnight. I have not done any of the work I promised my parents I would do. I doubt there is much help for you on this fora, since many people here seem to have the same problem.

I think setting your computer to disconnect actually shows some self discipline, as you're at least willing to make a change, rather than allowing yourself to remain connected all night.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:40 am UTC
by tryptanymph
I also have this problem.

It's 3:30am right now.

Yeah.

I just finished Portal (again).

And now I'm bored.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:49 am UTC
by michaelandjimi
Have an awesome book that you want to read. Be excited about reading it.
Then you will get off the computer and read it in bed.
QED.
I wish it worked for me, but I finished all of the good books.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:56 am UTC
by Robin S
But then I'd just stay up reading that instead - hardly an improvement. I need a way to cool off for the evening, not keep my mind buzzing.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:59 am UTC
by tryptanymph
Maybe we could try copious amounts of sleeping drugs?

That'd work!

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:01 am UTC
by michaelandjimi
In that case, pick a book you are looking forward to reading, but is in fact, really boring...

... I'm not at all helpful.

Although I would say reading a good book in bed is an improvement to mindlessly spamming forums late at night.

sleepygamer wrote:Maybe we could try copious amounts of sleeping drugs?

That'd work!


But you are already sleepy...

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:04 am UTC
by tryptanymph
Good point.

However this does not stop my ADHD (I think that's what does it for me) keeping my mind buzzing until I just can't stay awake any more.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:06 am UTC
by Number3Pencils
michaelandjimi wrote:Have an awesome book that you want to read. Be excited about reading it.
Then you will get off the computer and read it in bed.
QED.
I wish it worked for me, but I finished all of the good books.

I find it hilarious that you claim to have inished all of the good books that there are.

As for your problem, I'm going to think about it and get back to you, because I want to improve myself drastically in this respect as well, and have been putting off doing so for way too long.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:12 am UTC
by michaelandjimi
I have finished all good books I have access to without too much expenditure of energy (like buying them or going to the library). Thus I cannot read any more good books*.

Read: They do not exist to me.

*This doesn't extend to THE Good Book. I have not read the Bible, nor am I planning to. Even though there is one on my desk, which I was using for satirisation purposes in a story I am doing for Extension Two English.

Alternatively you could live with your parents (Sorry if you do). They seem to be the most effective barrier I have to not slowly becoming part of my computer.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:16 am UTC
by CorranH
I have this problem somewhat, too, though not as bad as I used to. It mostly gets me during the middle of the days, now. Like on my days off; that probably because subconsciously I'd rather be dicking around on the computer than doing chores or whatever else need doing.

However, in terms of the staying-up-late aspect of the problem, I actually think Jim Gaffigan nailed it pretty good. Early-morning-you and late-at-night-you are really two different people. "It really is amazing how much more important sleep is in the morning. You wake up, you're like, 'I stayed up to do what? Watch Growing Pains!? What was I thinking?' But at night, you're like, 'La la la la-la . . . Hey, Growin' Pains, awesome! And I've seen this episode! That Kirk Cameron's always in trouble.'"

It's true, though. Essentially, our brains have a really hard time imagining feeling different that we do currently. It's the same reason people over-buy when they shop hungry, and under-buy when they shop stuffed. When you're up late, you're not really sleepy, and so it's really easy to stay up and do really trivial shit, 'cause it's hard to imagine feeling so tired in the morning when you feel so fine right now.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what the answer is.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:17 am UTC
by Girlâ„¢
Bleh, this sounds like my life. The only thing that keeps me from staying up until 2 or 3 every night is the fact that I'm too exhausted after having been up since 7AM or so. A nice cocktail before bed works wonders, but this is probably a bad habit to get into. :\

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:18 am UTC
by schmiggen
You're off to a good start -- you're seeking new ideas to remedy the situation that you can't unconsciously spoil. That shows that you're getting ready to become more self-disciplined. Let yourself become increasingly confident that you can take control, because you can, and you have already started.

When you have that realization at night, and it dawns on you that you're doing random things just to stay up, say to yourself, out loud, "stand up," and stand up. Make it a sort of mantra, and associate it with this situation in your mind if you can. Try it now -- say "stand up," addressing yourself, and stand. You don't have to make it a point to draw your attention from your computer, but just do this at your computer for the moment. Stand up.

When you stand, think about bed. Think about where it is; think about where your toothbrush, etc. is; think about breakfast tomorrow morning. Keep saying "stand up" out loud while you're still at your computer, whether you stay standing or not. Think about getting up in the morning and coming to the fora, or seeing if someone updated something after the time of sleeping has passed.

You won't have to do it forever, but while you're building self-discipline, it might still help. You can come up with your own mantra or however you want to think about it, if you think something else would work better, but remember that it's important that it becomes an instinctive reaction to your realization, that you think of it as soon as you realize what's going on.

tl;dr: Tell yourself "stand up," out loud, right now. Stand. Make it a mantra.

Spoiler:
From experience, this does actually work, but it is not a permanent fix. After it starts working, though, maintaining a higher level of self-confidence gets easier.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:21 am UTC
by Robin S
michaelandjimi wrote:Alternatively you could live with your parents (Sorry if you do).
I do, when I'm not at university. However, they have long since given up on trying to get me to go to bed before they go, and we have a wireless network which means I can just take my laptop into my bedroom.

schmiggen: thanks, that post really helped. I have been trying to tell myself "you can do it!" for ages, but without sufficient self-confidence. I think having that reinforced by someone else helped.

I'm off to bed. Night!

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:34 am UTC
by Pandercolour
Okay here's what you do:

STOP IT.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:40 am UTC
by benjhuey
CorranH wrote: I actually think Jim Gaffigan nailed it pretty good.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who takes advise from Mr. Gaffigan.

My problem also comes with a side of procrastination. I spend all this time not sleeping, while at the same time not doing my homework.

This is all very good advise.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:40 am UTC
by tryptanymph
FUCK IT.

I'm going to bed.

G'night.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:49 am UTC
by schmiggen
I see a red "offline" hovering over your avatars, sleepy and robin. *beams with pride as the crowd goes wild* Good jorb!

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:00 am UTC
by koneko
great, now who am i going to talk to all night?

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:01 am UTC
by schmiggen
*roar*

Most of us are still here, koneko! :P

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:06 am UTC
by Socal Swimmer
Well the irony is not lost on me that I should be in bed right now. However, I must check other threads first.

I hate when people go to bed and randomly stop texting. its like, would you fucking warn me!

actually I don't really care that much. I just want people to talk to.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:07 am UTC
by Toeofdoom
The things I do late at night are: work on 3D stuff for a game mod, chat on the internets, or browse fora. I usually go to sleep when I want to, but I only go to bed really late if I've been being really productive, so it all works out.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:45 am UTC
by UnderRock
hmm.... maybe we can turn this into a get-off-your-ass-and-stop-procrastinating thread... or possibly make one?
Meh, I'll get on it later.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:20 am UTC
by __Kit
A wank before bed?

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:23 am UTC
by michaelandjimi
Classy...

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:28 am UTC
by __Kit
:oops:

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:29 am UTC
by Zak
michaelandjimi wrote:Classy...

That all depends on how you go about it :wink:

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:35 am UTC
by koneko
Z.A.K wrote:
michaelandjimi wrote:Classy...

That all depends on how you go about it :wink:

...treat yourself to some candlelight and Sinatra?

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:51 am UTC
by michaelandjimi
koneko wrote:
Z.A.K wrote:
michaelandjimi wrote:Classy...

That all depends on how you go about it :wink:

...treat yourself to some candlelight and Sinatra?

...whilst wearing a tie. And with various esoteric novels.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:34 am UTC
by joff
michaelandjimi wrote:
koneko wrote:
Z.A.K wrote:
michaelandjimi wrote:Classy...

That all depends on how you go about it :wink:

...treat yourself to some candlelight and Sinatra?

...whilst wearing a tie. And with various esoteric novels.

I just got a visual.

.... Awesome.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:28 am UTC
by Zak
Don't forget the rose petals scattered on the ground.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:08 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
Step 1: Get USB cable for something
Step 2: Get bunch of capacitors
Step 3: Wire together, then sew into sweatband.
Step 4: Write program linking the on/off to the computer clock.
Step 5: ???
Step 6: Get enough sleep and make profit!

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:42 pm UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
I'd be of no help, since I tend to have a similar problem:

10:00 PM - say good night to everyone in chat room, exit chat room
10:05 PM - quickly check e-mail accounts, decide if I'll read them now or wait till later.
10:10 PM - close out Firefox, open Mahjongg
10:16 PM - one more game of Mahjongg and then it's off to bed.
10:21 PM - one more game of Mahjongg and then it's off to bed.
10:25 PM - one more game of Mahjongg and then it's off to bed.
10:30 PM - close out Mahjongg, decide to draw a mandala
11:15 PM - WTF??? 45 fucking minutes drawing a mandala? Sure as hell don't feel like 45 minutes. Well fuck it...I'm going to bed.
12:00 AM - still tossing and turning, beginning to wonder if I should do one more mandala or one more game of Mahjongg. Drift off to sleep.
5:00 AM - wake up to radio playing; feel like shit for first couple of hours of the day.

Of course, it's very different if I check the e-mails, and see I have a survey waiting for me, especially one that will pay if I qualify. No, it's not one of those "Do you like X or Y? Answer now for $x gift card!" or "Your (insert cool ass-electronic device) is ready for shipping! Act now" e-mails where you end up having to pour over pages and pages of offers, most of which you have no need for, and have to complete a major offer in order to get the major award (leg-lamp?) promised to you, like get a credit card with a high interest rate or satellite TV service. These are legit surveys, where you answer several questions about yourself and your family, and you may be asked your opinion on a concept by some company, like various forms of car insurance, or some food product.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:56 pm UTC
by MFHodge
I was going to suggest that you set up a reward for yourself that you only get when you go to bed, such as:
__Kit wrote:A wank before bed?

. . . but not at your computer. At least it will act as a relaxing reward for good behavior.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:02 pm UTC
by LE4dGOLEM
Socal Swimmer wrote:I hate when people go to bed and randomly stop texting. its like, would you fucking warn me!


This really is the worst thing ever.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:04 pm UTC
by Mighty Jalapeno
Do what I did... have three kids.

You'd be amazed how unimportant getting on the computer at home is now. :)

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:07 pm UTC
by Moo
schmiggen wrote:...
tl;dr: Tell yourself "stand up," out loud, right now. Stand. Make it a mantra.
That shit works.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:12 pm UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
LE4dGOLEM wrote:
Socal Swimmer wrote:I hate when people go to bed and randomly stop texting. its like, would you fucking warn me!


This really is the worst thing ever.


One thing that used to annoy the hell out of me is that I had a friend who had three or four different accounts with Yahoo. I had all four of them added to my messenger. The problem was that she'd log into one, we'd chat a while about something, then when it showed she was offline, I'd close it out, but then a minute later she would log in under another account, and continue on as if she stepped away for a few seconds, just to get a Coke from the fridge or something. I would have already closed the other convo window, which may have had a link, and she'd ask if I looked at the page. I'd ask her to post it again. I think I told her once to stop it, but she continued doing it.

In the pet chat room we have a member I'm slowly getting irritated with because she will get distracted by her kids or something, but not say anything in the room that she has to step away. I'll ask her something, or say something relevant to what she said or asked, and she won't respond for five minutes. We have another member that we let slide, only because he's told us, and we believe him, that he's a narcoleptic. He'll be awake for a few minutes, will chat with us, then he knocks off, and fifteen minutes later or so he wakes up and types "dang it" whenever he wakes up, to let us know he's awake. I think it happens when he just sits there and reads it, and doesn't have anything to say at the moment. There's another member who's even worse than the first one. She will come in, but hardly says anything because she'll be off drawing something, or browsing, and not even paying attention to when someone else comes into the room (a sort of "bing" sound occurs whenever someone signs into the room). I'll say hello to her, and it may be another 15 or 20 minutes before she finally responds. Others will say hello to her when they enter, and again she's silent.

Re: Difficulty getting off the computer at night

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:33 pm UTC
by tehmikey
Robin S wrote:I know there are other places where addiction to the computer has been discussed, but I have a specific problem. For years, I haven't had a regular sleeping pattern, and a major factor in this has been the computer. Possibly as a result of my depression, I have very poor self-discipline when it comes to more or less anything, including things that I actually want to do.


Depression is also a side effect of poor sleeping patterns. If you find a way to force yourself to get a consistent/sufficient sleep schedule, you will notice both problems get better. I had what I claim was chronic insomnia for 2 years. I would stay up until 3 am and get up for work at 630am on weekdays. On weekends, I would sleep for 13 hour stretches. The problem is that sleep loss causes depression, and depression causes sleep loss. When I tried to go to bed early, I could not sleep.

My method to fix the problem is not the wisest decision, but I have never been the best defender of my mental stability. I started having a 1-2 drinks before bed. Just enough to numb the senses and allow my mind to turn off enough to sleep. I felt it was no different than going to the doctor for sleep meds. I would NOT advise my method because it is a slippery slope, and I for one enjoyed alcohol a bit too much. Try to avoid caffeine, and when you feel the slightest bit tired, listen to it and go lay down. If you wait 10 minutes, you may forget you were tired.

Is it something particular that ties you to the computer? Forums, games, IM, or anything specific? If I knew a little more, I could give you some examples of what I have seen work to break addictions. For me, I started with video games, moved to forums, and then went to wikipedia reading in my struggle to avoid sleep. (For me, I 'hated' sleep because I habitually had bad dreams)

As for the depression, the best advice I can give is to build a routine and follow it. You will have to try to break the habit of wanting to sit down in front of the computer and do nothing. The more you choose not to go out and do other things, the worse it will get.

I know what I am saying sounds like "stop the problem by stoping the problem," but the only way to fix any problem in life is to confront it :-\

I hope you figure it out. It is a vicious cycle, and it took me several years to break out of what I think you are experiencing.