How do I stop the online forums from taking over my life?
Don't get me wrong, I love posting here and reading all your posts but I feel like lately that online forums are dominating my life. If forum addiction was a disorder, I think I have it. Lately I'm averaging several hours a day on online forums. This one is the main one I read and post to but I am moderately active on a socionics and an enneagram forum as well. Plus there are a few smaller forums I check every now and then. When at work, I'm thinking about how I can't wait until I get home so I can check my favorite forums. When driving the car, I'll think or see something interesting and think "I can't wait to get home and make a post about it!"
I'm not planning to quit forums or anything. Far from it. But I do feel like my life is lacking balance, with online forums partly to blame for it. I'd like to get out more. I've got a big pile of books I'd like to read that I never get around to. I have friends I haven't contacted in a while. I have my own personal projects that I'd like to get done. I should be spending more time trying to find a better job. Etc.
So I'm starting to make some rules to make myself less forum obsessed and more balanced in life. One thing I'm finding helpful is not feeling like I have to read every word in every post. Skimming is okay. Mousing over the titles of threads is helpful in deciding if a thread is likely to be worth my time. I'd like to read more of the peoples' blogs on here but I just can't read them all. There's too many of them. So I've limited it to a few.
Another thing is I've limited myself to reading the forum once per day. This is challenging because I'll be doing something else and will be tempted to log into the forum again to check replies to a thread I made or post that new insight. If I could do just that only, it wouldn't be such a problem but once I'm logged in again, I'm reading a whole bunch of other posts and replying. It saves time in the long run to limit myself to one session a day (although some sessions can still take a few hours.)
I have mixed feelings about setting a specific time limit. Ideally I'd like to get down to one hour a day maximum on forums. Yet, setting limits like that feels restrictive. What if the forums posts are particularly interesting? I'll likely spend more time. What if I get a sudden inspiration to post things?
I'd like to hear your ideas on how you balance forum usage with the rest of the things on your life?