I'm guilty as well, which is of course what brings me to write this post. In trying to follow advice about building a writer platform, I joined Twitter (never got it before, yet I nixed Facebook a while back after tiring of the endless self-indulging posts of no substance), created a website, and started this blog. I am learning to love Twitter as a tool to connect with other writers in all stages of the process and gaining valuable tips to improve my own writing from agents and editors. The website building was an enjoyable creative outlet, and the blog is . . . quite honestly proving to be a struggle to find time and interest--both mine and readers. Add in my photo-a-day journal at Blipfoto, the emails I need to keep up with as a volunteer with a dog rescue, oh and running my own business . . . So, my writing has unfortunately taken a bit of a back burner. That is counterproductive to my writing goals.
Seems the more information readily available and the more forums for instant communication, the harder it is to get real work done, to move forward with the projects we most need and want to tackle.
The answer? Well, where a new need arises, new tools surely emerge. Of course the best way to combat technology is with other technology, right? There are tools--even free ones--to control your online meandering. Just search the app stores or Google "online productivity tools." You'll find timers to install on your devices which will restrict online use after the allotted time. I know this works for some, but I see them as about effective (at least for people like me) as buying bitter-tasting polish to curtail nail biting. It's like parenting yourself, which in a way is kind of creepy. I mean, if you aren't able to manage tech-indulgence, do you really think you won't succumb to just clicking off or removing the app?
What it really comes down to to is this: you must evaluate and restructure your network time stealers. Take control the old-fashioned way, and just do it!
1. Make a list of your daily "device vices"--games, social media, email, "research", photo journals, etc.
2. Next, seriously review what you love, benefit from, and/or need. Eliminate at least one (even for a short term to see how much you really would miss it).
3. What you're left with needs to have a new plan. Maybe you'll check email twice a day (pick the same time, like while you eat breakfast, so it will stick). Maybe only do a quick blog blurb (please don't attempt to say that aloud more than twice) while your child is at a lesson or practice. Maybe you will decide to make one Twitter post and one retweet of a post you enjoyed per day; browse only until you find that daily input.
The goal is to eliminate the constant urge to be connected and checking in. Agree not to feel guilty or apologize for stepping back. Sometimes it truly is best to tune out. You may just become a role model! And, I bet you'll find new outlets, perhaps even regain some mental downtime. I'd love to hear how you conquer the networking battle.