Our world has been redefined to a faster pace than we thought, especially in the last 5 years. Our world has grown additional tongues, ears and eyes; we call it the virtual world. My mother is still trying to wrap her head around that fact that majority of the ministry work is actually done on the computer. And from the way it seems, the virtual world has taken over a generation itself.

From relationships to direct communications, everything seems to be moulded by this world.  Now since there are thousands of benefits available, if we are not careful, we may end up becoming slaves to the computer and it in turn affecting our overall job performance, relationships and other activities.

Here are a few tips to avoid letting your computer being your master.

First Thing In The Morning?

The psalm of this generation seems to be, “O computer, you are my dear computer; early will I rise and seek you” Avoid switching your computer on, the first thing in the morning. It seems to have a crazy butterfly effect of being able to drag you from one thing into another. Honestly, this has been my toughest challenge.

I recently took an internet addiction test and fared fairly well but I think I can be a little more of focused. HERE is the site if you would like to test your internet addiction.

Organize Your Email Activities

When checking your emails once a day keeps you in touch with your work.  But for those who have a higher inflow of emails restrict it to twice a day. While it is important to reply to your emails in a timely manner, don’t let it overrule your life. Most of the time, you would end up going through your inbox more than you need to and thus, lose direction for the day. Make sure you take a holiday from your inbox at least once or twice a week. And, if you get anxious when you don’t get a reply to your email the very same day, then it is definitely time to take a break from the computer itself.

For those who don’t believe in bothering to maintain your inbox, you might have to be a little more disciplined to become more productive. Let’s face it, emails are today’s best means of communication.

Restrict Web Surfing

Google, ofcourse, can be a very informative teacher yet if we are not careful we may be getting addicted to the internet and be bogged down by an information overload (Note: Googling does not work well when it comes to learning about God, stick to Bible, taste and see principle). Now before you start web surfing, find your mission and stick to it. Make a schedule for the amount of time you will spend on your computer and stick to it. Use Google reader or plenty of other similar resources to organize blog feeds in a central location. Avoid being on every social networking site you discover. Carefully choose what networks you want to be on.

Schedule a Timetable

Doubly focus yourself to limit your time with your computer. Try using a timer if it’s really bad. Take a complete vacation from your computer if you feel you are not able to take a break. Have you set internet hours for yourself? Then, Stick to it. Or, you might end up spending more hours before your computer than you intended to do. Force yourself to the time that you get comfortable with it. Give your mind the rest it needs. Make sure you have 7 to 8 hours of sleep atleast; it will help you remain human. Oh and one more thing, don’t forget food! At times I hear my mom say, “You don’t survive on computer”  (bad, bad!) Put your computer to sleep as soon as it is time for food, you can either way continue it once you are back.

Avoid Distractions

There are endless numbers of games that are freely available to play online and download which seems to be a great distraction to many youngsters. If you are someone who gets easily addicted to games then keep away from clicking on those alluring icons (even if it is only field farming on Facebook!). You won’t be new to adverts like, Make online buddies, Feeling lonely? Looking for Mr. Right? Dating sites etc. Now this is where you need to be disciplined and keep your focus right. Have an accountability software on your computer that will alert your accountability partners if you stray into any questionable sites accidently or intentionally.

The Real Focus

Now for short, have the big picture in your mind. Don’t make your computer, or your mobile phone for that matter, your companion. Many people use their computers as a vent or a replacement for friends. Remember to guard your prayer life and Bible reading on all costs. Don’t substitute internet sermons for Church or fellowship. Don’t forget the real world you live in.

Shyju Mathew