Thursday, July 5, 2012

Family time >>> Computer time

My most recent column on The Bargain Hunter.  Can someone please hide my laptop for a week? 

Carving out time and getting away from the computer

I have lots of thoughts to write about this July 4th weekend. None of them have come together into a remotely cohesive train of thought. Should I write about how I threw a double baby shower on a dime? Or should I let you all know how I would like to rip Verizon Wireless because they keep adding hidden charges to my account? Maybe I should write about that great deal I got on toilet paper….

Maybe, maybe, maybe. I’m just not feeling any of those things today. What I have on my mind scraping the inside of my skull is one word: TIME That’s it - no punctuation after it or anything because it stands on its own. I’m sitting here typing trying to figure out where I can buy more time, or just do more with the time I do have. Have you ever sat at your computer fiddling around with Pinterest, playing Words with Friends (although my kids tell me WWF is now over? Never got the message?) or simply mindlessly surfing random sites for clearance items? All those snippets of seconds add up to hours, which add up to days, which add up to time lost. Why is this bothering me today? Me, I’m a techno freak. Although I don’t stay on my computer from morning until night, I do check it in the morning before work, when I come home, and I usually have it open in a chair beside me. Um, I may have stumbled onto the problem. I’m addicted.

This is not news. This is also not a post on how to save money or be frugal – but I’m thinking any person who wants to better themselves could use a good post on how to use time wisely? Either that or be a better listener when your better half asks you a question and you actually hear it instead of half of it and pretend to answer like you know what was said. That’s called fake listening and I’m guilty. Facebook has taken me over. Thanks for your evil billionaire-ish ways Mark Zuckerberg. Who am I to blame him? The dude is raking in some cool cash on our inability to tear ourselves out of an Internet fog. I simply need to know every moment what everyone’s having for supper, is that so hard?

All kidding aside, our lives need order and discipline. They also need freedom and fun. What I’m searching for is a balance. I need to learn to lay aside the laptop when it’s time. When I get to the bottom of the Pinterest page and it’s having trouble “fetching pins” quickly enough – I know it’s time. Or when Facebook has nothing new on the home page because I’ve checked it 20 times in the last 30 seconds and no, no one has updated yet. I’ve become a Facebook comment-hoarder. I’ve compiled a list of ideas to keep me from crawling inside my computer ala Tron – and if you don’t know what Tron is then I know I’ve gone too deep. (Look it up though, great movie and great remake).

1) Realistically, we need to take breaks from the computer. No one is made to go non-stop. Sometimes I feel a headache coming on when I’ve been typing awhile or even working online. Sometimes a day or two will do, or maybe two weeks is in order. It helps us keep perspective and realize that the computer world is not the real world. Here is a great post from The Simple Mom on taking a break: http://simplemom.net/on-breaks-and-why-i-need-them-regularly/

2) Pick up the written word. Books have always been a lifeline to me, but since the advent of the computer and everything available on it, I’ve found it hard to concentrate. I will not graduate to an e-reader, so I need to carve out Missy plus book time. For me that will entail my front porch, a cup of coffee, and that book that grabs my attention and won’t let go. I have one in mind I’ve been wanting to buy and doggone it I’m going to buy it. Spaces of time in our day must be devoted to ourselves or our peace of mind will go out the door.

3) Short of hiding the computer, which is ridiculous, we need to be able to strike a balance. Read this article from my friend and fellow blogger Tracy Lopez, who writes for Voxxi and has a great blog calledhttp://latinaish.com/. Read her excellent article on unplugging: http://voxxi.com/unplug-from-technology/.