How Many Hours A Day Of Internet Do You Need?

Between work PCs, always-on home broadband and 3G mobile devices, most of us spend many hours a day connected to the internet. But what's the minimum amount of time you can spend with a working connection and actually get your job done?

Most hotels that offer internet access (and charge for it) where I've stayed typically offer a choice of per-minute, per hour and per 24-hour rates. In that situation, I've always opted for the 24-hour bundle, and then not needed to track my usage. However, at a recent hotel I used in Italy, the largest bundle available was five hours. You could log in and out as needed, so it provided an unusually precise measure of how much working connection I actually needed to get through the Lifehacker day. (I didn't have roaming enabled, so I couldn't fail over to using a smartphone instead.)

The answer in my case turned out to be around four-and-a-half hours. That's quite a lot, given that I was supposed to be on a holiday of sorts and was leaving aside lots of inessential tasks and trying not to spend time on productivity-draining activities. On the other hand, it does suggest to me that in hotels where the daily rate is a lot higher, I could potentially get away with smaller working bursts of connectivity, rather than simply opting for the "it'll be there if I need it" approach.

How many hours a day of internet connection do you find are required for a productive working and social life? Tell us your experience in the comments.


    It would be worth knowing how much time you were on your machine without the internet.

    Between 0 and 8 hours, about as long as a piece of string.

    I am by no means productive, probably why I read this site, but I'd say I use the net about 10 hours or more a day. About 5 hours of it during work and lunch, 1 hour during my 3 hours travel time to and from work, and the rest is used downloading torrents as well as general internet usage and online gaming. If I was productive I could reduce that to 4 hours a day...but that's not going to happen! haha

    Formula for internet hours requirement:

    During the week, I'm usually online for a minimum of 10 hours a day. On the weekend, however, I barely do an hour provided that I'm not working. I think it's really important to have that break from the computer and/or internet.

    Interesting question. I was in Japan over Easter, so that gave me a good idea of what I needed to do to maintain my standard online lifestyle.

    1) I needed to check my various BT sites to see what was new and download the torrent files, so I could then download the actual files at home. Time- 1 hour.

    2) Check the various websites to keep up with personal interest news. Time- 1/2 hour.

    3) Check e-mail and Facebook. Time- 1/2 hour, twice a day.

    4) Web surfing to do with my trip (such as booking hotels, etc.) Time- 1/2-1 hour.

    5) Optionally, check out material for my personal website. Time- at least two hours. This only happened late night or early morning, for the three days I was in a hotel.

    For all five points I am online at least six hours per night at home.

    For my studies at University I would need around 10min max on the internet to download all my lecture notes/tutorial homework/readings. On the computer maybe 1hr a day.

    12/14 per day....for 2 years, im depress

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