No, that’s not “Time sucks”. Time is a pretty cool, if complex, concept. I’ve got no problem with time itself. I’m talking about things that that suck my time, keep me from being productive or doing other things that I want to do.
I’ve slowly come to the realization that I’ve given in to some time-sucks, and I really need to back off of them. My personal time-sucks are Facebook, Twitter, and the local newspaper’s comment section.
The other night, I was sitting in my living room, and I wistfully looked at the Neil Gaiman book and an unfinished knitting project that were sitting on my coffee table and thought, “I wish I had time to finish those!” Then, I realized, I was sitting there with my Tweetdeck, Facebook, and the online newspaper open on my laptop browser.
I then proceeded to have the following conversation with myself (and yes, I do talk to myself :P):
“What do you mean you wish you had time? You just finished going to grad school full time while working full time. You should have all the time in the world now.”
“I know but…”
“You no longer have to conduct research or write papers or work on your thesis or have group meetings or read boring, dry scholarly articles. What are you doing with all the time that you used to use to do those things?”
“ummmmm, Facebook, Twitter, and the online newspaper, I guess.”
“Ok, I know. That’s what I’m doing with all my free time.”
“Oh, it’s more than your ‘free time’. You have Tweetdeck open the entire 8 hours you’re at work, and you check FB at least every hour. You also spend way too much time reading and commenting on the community boards at the online newspaper. Do you really need to know what other people in your town think about the news? Isn’t just know what’s going on in your town enough?”
“Well, nothing. You would have time to finish that dishcloth and that book if you shut that damn laptop.”
“But, I love Twitter and Facebook. The newspaper’s comments are more like watching a trainwreck, though, I just can’t look away sometimes.”
“Don’t you love reading and knitting, too? Oh, and what about watching TV? How many Dollhouse episodes do you still have on DVR to watch?”
“You’re right. I need to start limiting the time I spend on those things.”
“Of course I’m right. I’m you!”
So, I am going to enforce some limits on myself. Twitter is going to be hard because I do have a legitimate work reason to have it open during the day. But, in addition to that reason, I also use Twitter as kind of an RSS feed. It gives me the newest lolcats and fmls as soon as they’re published. And, I can limit the time I spend on those things.
Below is my plan to decrease these time-sucks:
1. Facebook shall be checked once in the morning, once at lunch time, and once in the evening. During this time, no more than 30 minutes shall be spent on Facebook. In order to ensure that time limit, an online ‘egg timer’ shall be used.
2. Personal use of Twitter will occur on the same frequency as above.
3. The comments section of the online newspaper are off-limits. They’re mostly morons posting anyway, and none of them really care about what you have to say. The important stuff is in the actual story, and it doesn’t take you very long to read them.
That’s the plan. It will be initiated as soon as I get home tonight. Here’s hoping I have the strength to see it through…I’ve been addicted to social networking since 1997 when I got my first computer, before the term “social networking” was ever coined!