Balancing God and Life, Part 16: The Internet Time-Sucker
At some point, I do realize I must end this series. Unless I rename the blog, God Speaks Today in the Midst of Balancing God and Life Except on Fridays When We Discuss Fitness, or something catchy like that.
But every time I sit down to write something profound (?) I think about balance and precious time and how it all fits in with life and God and His voice, blah, blah, blah…and the series continues.
So, I found this great post the other day about time management and the internet, written by one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie at Totally Together Journal. I’ve decided to reprint the parts I like here, rather than interject all of my own, lesser quality thoughts. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about something else besides balance. Probably not, though.
Take it away, Stephanie:
I’ve found that if I’m not careful I can whittle away hours of precious time following link after link or by playing with the Instant Messenger feature. Since I do the bulk of my professional work on the computer, it’s very easy to succumb to “playing” while I work, and before I know it hours have passed and I really haven’t accomplished anything.
I hate to admit how often this happens.
it’s kind of a lot.
There is no perfect work/life/family balance that fits all. There just isn’t, and anyone who tries to sell you otherwise is a liar and probably has really bad karma. You’ve got to figure out a system that works for you. Some people allow themselves a break every hour or two from work (and yes, running a house and caring for children is work) to check and answer personal email. Some people refuse to go to certain internet sites until all of the day’s work is done. I sort of do a mixture of the two. I usually get up pretty early in the morning (4 or 5 am, it’s nutty, I know) to get my work-work done so then I can do other stuff (which I usually masquerade as work when the kids or Adam ask what I’m doing) that I want to do. It’s not a perfect system, but so far it’s working out okay.
Especially when I take a nap at 2pm.
I do not have an IPhone. Or a Blackberry. I also am not on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn. This is a personal choice that I have decided that for right now(*) just isn’t a good fit for me or our family.
(* my version of a disclaimer in case I ever change my mind and venture over to the dark side…and let’s be honest, it’s probably inevitable…)
I would love an iPhone—I think they’re neat, and I think I’d have an awful lot of fun with one. But I know myself, and I know that I’d be checking it constantly, and not be fully attentive when I should be. I also get annoyed when I’m speaking to someone and they interrupt the conversation to answer an email, or they respond to a question by saying “oh, let me google that,” and then they go ahead and give me a computer-generated instead of a person-generated response.
I was at a playdate yesterday, and the dad works at Apple. I asked if employees played on their iPhones during meetings. He said, “No. That would be rude.” Yes. Yes it would be. Yet I’m sure we all could rattle off instances where we’ve seen phones being used in such a way.
As for Twitter? I used to just not get it. Now I think I do, but I’m just not that into sharing my every little thought with the world. I’m not that interesting. And lots of my thoughts lately have to do with the annoyance I have with the little white dog from around the corner who keeps peeing on our front lawn. And some of my thoughts about that aren’t legal, so I should probably keep them inside. And since I don’t have an IPhone or a Blackberry I have to text in the old way where you scroll through the letters and I have very little patience. I’d rather just place the call.
Facebook. So many of my in-real-life friends keep telling me to join Facebook so I can “keep in touch.” But I’m on the PHONE with them when they tell me this! We’re obviously IN TOUCH. So I don’t get it. And I think if I signed up I’d get sucked in. And while highschool had some good qualities (I met Adam!), I’m not ready quite yet to revive friendships. I’ve heard the virtual scrabble is really cool, though.
One of the biggest concerns about the being plugged in thing for me is the message that I/we/you/the universe are sending to children. I am from the school of thought that it’s okay to be bored. It’s okay to be alone with your thoughts. It’s okay to have quiet and not have bells and whistles sounding off all the time (hey, did I ever tell you that I applied to work for Leap Frog when they were a start-up and during the pre-interview I filled out a form saying that I believed (I was 23 at the time, so I knew EVERYTHING) toys should be open-ended and not require batteries and so they never called me back. And in a twist of irony the kids’ favorite toys are the singing ABC magnetic letters?).
It’s hard to be alone with your thoughts if you’re constantly being entertained. Some of my best ideas come from long runs (no iPod) or when I unplug for a few days. I find the kids are better behaved when the TV is off and I put away the DSes (is that the plural for DS?).
I’m very interested in the Mommy Blogging Panel that’s going to happen at BlogHer ‘09: “Balance” is a Big, Fat, Lying, McLiar LIE for Moms who Blog (and the rest of us too) (I’m sure it will be live-blogged and live-twittered, for those who can’t make it, and the fact that I just typed that makes me laugh, yet there you go). I’m glad that the title of this panel is tongue-in-cheek. It’s got to be, right? The idea of never being able to achieve balance is such a depressing thought—- Women need to help women. It is very helpful to be honest and say that there are days that spiral out of control and the kids climb into the pantry and dump out the cereal boxes. We’ve all been there. We know how that happens. But we also need to have a glimmer of hope that it is possible to do find a way to juggle the balls. Just a glimmer. Just a teeny tiny sparkle. something. anything. I look forward to hearing ideas about what does work, along with the fun stories about what doesn’t.
For the entire article, along with all her cool pictures to accompany the post, click here.
I have been reading your series for the past few days and finally got to #16! I actually hope it never ends because I have learned a lot. I really enjoy and feel blessed by all that you have said.
I deleted my Facebook account in January and have been really content with not being on it. Every now and then, I start to feel like I am out of the loop. The reality of Facebook in reference to MYSELF (not saying this is everyone) is that it causes me to know, and wonder, too much about other people. I've concluded that it is not good for my health, but I like to think that maybe one day I can go back on and not be so tainted by it's ways.
Anywho, I say all of that because what your bloggy friend wrote really helped me keep on track.
I really liked this: "It’s hard to be alone with your thoughts if you’re constantly being entertained."
Amein. I am sure you agree with me when I say – it is not a crime to be un-entertained. In fact, I find it a real blessing and have gotten to know myself very well these past few months.
And again, I know everyone is not like me, so I am not saying this to try and convince anyone of anything. 🙂
Blessings to you. And thank you!
-Nat (Pure Heart)