In the past few months, not being able to work properly, I spent quite some time thinking about how I’m going to organize things once the studio’s finished. And I’m not just talking about my studio!

After the summer I will have an active shop online, a refreshed website and I’m diving into the possibilities of teaching online courses. Thinking all of this through has confronted me with a wee problem I’m having with the internet: I need lots of time to paint, but I’m a little wee bit addicted to the internet. The few days during our move that I wasn’t able to go online, were a torment for me. And when I sit down to paint, I always get distracted by the internet. Easily! When the “ping!” announces a new e-mail, I can’t go on working; I HAVE to stop and read it first. And then I get tempted to write back immediately, or look something up and then I run into something new, check the news as I go and whoops, can’t forget to check out the weather forecast. And before I know it, the clock almost strikes noon! Nothing painted yet.

So…even though I love the internet, I want to cut back my online time.

And what do you know? The latest edition of the trendy Dutch magazine “Flow” spends 3 pages on the subject! Referring to Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains” a couple of psychologists explain the system of instant gratification that’s connected to internet activities. The article states that the quick temptations even damage our capacity to focus at all. Whoops, this I recognize. People used to say that it was normal for me to seem distracted when I was pregnant. Hormones do that to you, they said. But with me, it never got back to normal. And ehrm…well, my intense internet use started with the birth of my first girl. Being tied to the indoors more, I  relished my connection to the outside world. Easy, always within reach and erhm…yes, instant gratification assured.

So, I got hooked. And seriously, I’ve been complaining how the lack of a workspace kept me from working. But to be frank, my laptop on this table has seen so much of my typing fingers that in all those hours, I could easily have painted a complete children’s book! So often did I put all my painting stuff on the table, even lay an empty page in front of me, but then decided first to check the news and e-mail! As the petty amount of new work on my blog shows, much of the painting stuff had to be put back into the cabinet without even being touched.

So, I’m seriously thinking: should I put a computer on my studio worktop? I do need google images as a reference for my work. But I could also just put the computer on the other side of the room and print the right images. I do use the playlists in my computer a lot…but I could also buy a stereo that will play mp3 files, right? ‘Cause I definitely need music right beside me. Or a device to play audiobooks. I love listening to audio books whenI paint. I LOVE them! Oh sorry, that was not the topic.

The real question is: how am I going to stop myself from using the internet? Placing the computer on the other side of the studio? Or, as the magazine says, shall I install a little piece of software that simply makes it impossible to use the internet at certain times. You can program it on a sane moment and when you go cold turkey, too bad, for it won’t start the internet. Unless you totally reboot your system. Which is, of course, only a small thing that is easily and quickly done. And the software is not even free, so pay for something that I might go around? Hm…

I haven’t really fixed it yet…I guess a lot of willpower will have to come along! And perhaps a huge stack of audiobooks will help. For I cannot listen to an audiobook and be on the internet at the same time! I think audiobooks it will be!