Friday, February 14, 2014

A thing

I came across this post on tumblr from Joe Hill the other day:

and it started me musing.

I spend a lot of time online. And by "online" I mean on social media - mostly twitter. And generally speaking, there's nothing wrong with that. I love twitter. I love talking to people about the things that I love, and I love seeing what they're up to.

But. It's a trap. Here be dragons, etc.

Because, for me, twitter is something that can feel productive when it's not.

Discussions are great, and even silly chats with friends on twitter are great. But I catch myself scrolling through my feeds (I have two - my normal everyday justaddbooks one, and a fandom one where I am one hundred per cent more annoying) just ... to scroll through my feeds.

It's the least productive thing there is but I can look around on a Saturday afternoon and realise that I've spent hours doing just that. And well.

That brings me to Mr Joe Hill and his exercise in self-discipline.

I've been on holiday for the past four weeks or so, which means that my time has largely been my own.

However, going back to work on Monday has made me realise it wouldn't be a bad idea to set some parameters of my own.

So this is what I've come up with.

Outside of work, and taking care of Patrick, and of Very Important TV Watching, and Very Important Film Watching, I have three things that I really enjoy doing, but that I never seem to have the "time" for, which is, of course, a filthy lie. If I can find time to mainline all of the first season of Orphan Black, play endless games of plants v zombies and scroll mindlessly through tumblr, then I certainly have time to, you know, pick up a book once in a while.

I digress.

The Three Things are reading, writing and cross stitch. And I tell myself that I don't have enough time, but as I said, I do. I can cross stitch while I marvel at Tatiana Maslaney's ability to imbue seven different characters with distinctly individual personalities. I can switch everything off for half an hour and commit to 500 words. I can easily (I hope) power down and read 50 pages.

At least, for now, that's the plan. I've kept my own goals super-modest, because I do still have a 9-5 job, and I still have real-life responsibilities (and I still want to hang out on twitter, and play plants v zombies and busily reblog pictures on tumblr) but in an ordinary day I can do this:

Write 500 words
Read 50 pages
Stitch for 30 minutes.

Modest? Yes. Achievable? I'm doing my best, and most days, I'm getting there. And if I miss a day - well, there's always the next day, isn't there? And of course, sometimes real life likes to throw you a curve ball in the shape of a six year old with a stomach bug, but these things - while unpleasant - pass.

And I've noticed, when I do manage to achieve all three of my very modest goals in a day, I feel better in myself, and my brain feels  a bit less fuzzed by useless information and a little bit more perky and able to process the world around me.

Balance. It's a work in progress.


Ana S. said...

I need to get better at this too. I know that part of my current issues have to do with work/life balance, but I also know could do a much better job of organising the time I do have. I also do the thing where I just stare at the computer screen not doing much of anything and suddenly an hour has gone by. And yeah, having a goal and achieving it does make me feel a lot better about myself - even if it's just "write another paragraph of this draft today".

PS: OMG Orphan Black! There will be a long post at LB soon - please come flail in the comments with us :D

Kailana said...

Good luck! I am bad for this, too. I need to work on my time management. Like today? I don't think I have done much productive stuff at all. It's just been one of those days, I guess. And I do have time to do things. I just haven't.

Maree said...

Ana: I'm a big believe in keeping it simple. Ooooh I will definitely do that, I LOVED Orphan Black!!

Kailana: Thanks! I figure it's worth a shot. :-)

Martha Eskuchen said...

Good thoughts. You are so right-- we all have to learn to balance the time we have.

Maree said...

It's a work in progress always, but I'm getting there :D