Wednesday 2 September 2015

Time for a Spring Clean

Moving house recently has caused me to reassess many things about my life.

I thought a lot of the 'lost' time and my busy time centred around our old cluttered house and trying to maintain a semblance of order. But now that the move has happened and a lot of the clutter has gone, I still don't seem to have time.

This week I've looked more closely at how I really spend my time outside of work and the usual family routine stuff.

Our family life is pretty crazy busy with Mr Books and I both working full-time, with two teenagers and all their school, sport, work and social engagements, plus all the meetings, social gatherings and coffee/lunch/dinner gatherings with friends that we like to do. There are not many nights of the week when we're all home together.
But around all this real life stuff I've actually shocked myself by how much time I waste on my so-called smart phone and laptop.

I don't consider blogging or taking photos for Instagram a waste of time. They bring me a lot of pleasure and tap into some of my creative urges. But I do waste a lot of time trolling facebook and twitter and playing scrabble.

They take away from my reading time, my exercise time, my gardening time and my general pottering around the house time. This sucking up of my time on social media has taken away that lovely feeling of being at leisure at different times throughout the week that I used to enjoy.

How do I get this time back? How do I recreate some leisured, lazy time in my day to day life?

I know this problem affects a lot of people all around the world.

Jon Ronson is visiting Australia at the moment. Every time I turn on the radio this week he seems to be talking just for my ears about the social media shaming phenomenon. He uses the words 'unleashing', 'outrage' and 'torrent'. Words that make me feel overwhelmed. Words that also seem to describe my feelings about all this 'lost' social media time.

What to do?

Obviously I can play less scrabble games and less often.

But how do I monitor my SM time? How do I get the best from it but not allow it to take over?

For instance, I want to know that two days ago J.K.Rowling tweeted about James S. Potter starting at Hogwarts. Today we found out that he was sorted into Gryffindor. I want to know this stuff. The book geek in me loves this stuff.

I want to see the Bloggiesta post that pops up on my feed. I want to see memes like TBR Thursday as I scroll down. I want to know about book events like R.I.P X.
But I really dislike the sponsored pages and posts that clutter up my feeds. I don't want to shop on SM and I don't want to get my news and a current affairs from SM.

How do I not get sucked into all those Guardian and Conversation articles that get retweeted and shared? How do I avoid the tangential google the one that I just wasted ten minutes on as I searched for ideas about how to avoid time wasting online!

How do you manage your online time?
How do you avoid (or not) the internet time-suck?
Do you have any great tips for getting back the real life leisurely time?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I sympathize with your conundrum. Everybody probably has to find their own path through the jungle for what works for them. But perhaps for me I try to limit blog/internet time per week to 2 days. On one day I'll write a blog post for the week and then for a part of another day I'll troll the blog waves on what others are doing etc. I dont spend all of 2 days on these things just a couple hours. When I limit it to just these times, then I can spend more time with reading and life in general. Hope you can hang on.

    1. Wow! That is disciplined. But it sounds like you've found a system that works for you - well done :-)

  2. Anonymous3/9/15

    1. Block or put on 'mute' people on Twitter that only "send an excessive number ( 50-60- a day!) other bloggers reviews" and articles from newspapers spinning into cyberspace. They distract and suck you into reading what is NOT on your 'to-do-list'.
    I think they are more concerned with their own 'exposure' in your timeline than actually sending a message.
    If I want to read the review or article from The Guardian, New Yorker or New York Times, I will do it myself.
    2. I read E-books on IPAD. There are hyperlinks to dictionaries in the book. No internet.
    3. I read 'paper' books and leave the laptop closed. (disciplne required)
    4. Make notes in steno notebooks with pen, ruler and highlighter. No internet.
    5. Morning check: internet, twitter, news and a selected few on my blogroll while having my coffee. + repeat with evening coffee. (discipline)
    6. When I read difficult books (The Iliad, The Canterbury Tales) I make an exception and keep internet on so I can check items on wikipedia.
    Now that I have told you what I do...I will sign off internet until the evening check!

    1. Love it - a font of wisdom as usual Nancy.

      The key word is discipline here. I'm very aware that discipline is lacking from my current online life (I'm also struggling with my Fast Diet this year, after two great years with it. Discipline is also the problem here.)

      My laptop usage does usually happen over breakfast and then in the evening while I'm cooking dinner. It's the phone browsing whenever I stop at other points during the day, that I really have to get some discipline around :-/

  3. Give yourself a time limit -- not until 6p, or something.(I do that, but then, U usually break my own rule. But it's an idea!) :)

  4. My suggestions are
    Turn off any and all push notifications,
    Visit social media only once a day eg Twitter in the morning, Facebook at lunch, games on breaks, blogs at night. Limit the time You spend on each

    1. I like the idea of assigning a time of day to one type of SM platform - that might work - thanks :-)

  5. Anonymous4/9/15

    I relate only too well. We recently moved too, and it began a process of deciding what possessions to part with along with what activities to cut back on or part with entirely. I have been culling everything from pots and pans to my TBR list. I have been spending more time reading and less time talking about it and then do a real blog visiting binge when I finish a book. Best of luck making the choices that work for you.

  6. Setting an alarm clock? Giving yourself a time by which you MUST close the laptop, put the phone down? I don't know. I no longer have two-legged children around, so that makes it much easier for me to spend more time doing what I want to do... There will be a time when you, too, will have more "me" time. It's tough!

  7. I completely understand your dilemma Brona. In fact I've tried to comment on this blog twice, but as I came to it both times after midnight (time management? controlling internet time? Not so much on either count I'm afraid) I managed to lose the comment. It's a terrible problem. Like you I enjoy blogging time, and Facebook time. I don't do all that much with twitter, and generally avoid instagram as I have enough platforms sucking up my time. I avoid games. But I too want to read more, want to blog more. I have more than 200 blog posts that I've thought about starting at some stage, some barely started, others half way through. What is the solution? I don't know. I'm hoping you'll find it for me..

    I'm going through a decluttering phase at the moment (well trying), it's very hard, but I do envy your enforced decluttering of the move- although it is easier to just pack it all up and move it all in some ways. All of these things have value in some way otherwise we wouldn't bother with them. Finding the balance is tricky, especially with competing demands of work and family too.

    1. Thanks for the support Louise. I'm still not sure what the solution is. I'm being tougher on myself and working on NOT get caught up in tangential on-line browsing (which is the main thing that sucks my time). I now only play my scrabble games once per day.
      Monday and Tuesday evenings have become my blogging nights as I'm often home alone at that time. And I'm using feedly better to keep track of blogs and posts that I like to follow and comment on.

      Your comments about packing made me smile.
      I started off decluttering as I packed, but about half way through I got soooooooo tired of it, that I just started throwing it all in the boxes to deal with at the other end! Which has now mostly been a good thing - turns out once you go to all the trouble of actually moving something, packing it and unpacking, you feel less inclined to toss it!!

      Good luck with your decluttering and time management (there's a book on decluttering that everyone online and at work is raving about - The Life Changing magic of Tidying Up. I've yet to check it out myself though :-)


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