I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet in general and Facebook in particular. Obviously, the connection with family, friends, and other writers is wonderful. Clearly, this blog wouldn't exist if it weren't for the Internet, and very few people (okay, almost no one) would have ever read it if it weren't for Facebook. Yet, I find myself purposely trying to control the amount of time I spend online. And often failing at this.
Following are 10 things I have done recently (or plan to do):
1. Ditch my Twitter account. Technically I "deactivated" it and I have 30 days to change my mind. But I don't think I will. I know some would consider this a huge blogger mistake: Why not embrace this quick and easy way to get your name out there? What about the opportunities for interacting with other writers? What about the folks who only followed my blog on Twitter? Well, the fact that I don't use it, don't understand it, and don't particularly care for it trumped all of that. So, I'm officially Twitter-less. (I even removed the cutesy heart from the top corner of my blog.)
|Silliness with hats|
3. Avoid the drama. Even if it's a page I generally like, I will delete it if it continually posts articles from conspiracy theory tabloids. My eyes can only roll so much. I also refuse to follow links to shared posts about certain topics because they just get me riled up.
4. Know when to let go. I followed a couple of pages for quite a while, even blogging along with them (blog hops and link ups and such) multiple times. However, I began to realize that I couldn't truly support what they stand for. Posts and comments appeared about women's roles, discipline, religion, and a host of other things I just couldn't get on board with any longer. While I have not deleted these writings from my archives, I have stopped following them and deleted their tags from my home page.
5. Utilize the "add to reading list" button. Sometimes an article pops up that I know I would like to read (say, when I first check the news in the morning), if I only had more time to concentrate. Rather than give it just a cursory glance or close out of it because I can't read it right then, I put it on my reading list. Usually within the week I go through and finally read them. I try not to have too many in this list at any one time, and if I don't get to it after a week or so I delete it, because clearly it wasn't that interesting after all.
6. Redefine "friend" list. I have a lot Facebook friends on my personal page. Some of them I don't even know personally (e.g., relatives of Hubby I've never had the chance to meet in person). I have a general rule of thumb, though: If I ended up seated next to this person on an airplane, would I want to have a conversation, however brief, and catch up with them face to face? If I can't honestly answer "yes" they go, or I don't accept the request to begin with. I admit I bend this rule often. I don't know why.
|Watching the rain|
8. Have a plan. It may seem arbitrary, but sometimes I just decide upfront when and how long I will be on the computer, and log off when that time is up, even if I'm in the middle of something. I do this often at night after the Agents go to bed: I "allow" myself so much time and then shut down and read or (novel concept) sleep.
9. Blog with a purpose. For a while I worried about posting consistently: the same day(s) each week, three times a week, or whatever. Now I just post when I have something to say. I still spend a lot of my "free" time writing and editing, and I still post along with blog hops and carnivals on specific days, but I don't worry about "doing it right." I don't stress over following any kind of routine.
10. Get back to being intentional with my time. In January I tried to get into the habit of turning off the computer completely during certain hours of the day. (As opposed to leaving the laptop accessible on a counter somewhere and just in sleep mode, easy to turn back on for just a few minutes or to check randomly throughout the day.) This worked really great for a while, and then I kind of fell off the wagon. I need to start doing this again.
Do you ever struggle with the amount of time you spend in your online world? Or have you found a good balance?