Email, social media, and blogs are useful for staying in contact with loved ones and for entertainment, but they can easily become significant time-wasters.
Thankfully, by being judicious in our use of these technologies, we can reap their benefits without being distracted from the many important tasks before us. What does it look like to use these technologies sensibly? Here are my thoughts.
Keeping technologies from becoming time-wasters
- Limit how many “friends” you have and how many people you follow. How many of your Facebook friends are actually your friends in real life? If you’re like most Facebook users, then you only have genuine friendships with a fraction of your Facebook friends. If this is true for you, then do you really have time to read status updates, view pictures, and see every link shared by all of these friends? I certainly don’t! The same is true when it comes to following others on various social media platforms. We don’t have time to view an unlimited number of pins or tweets! It is okay to decline friend requests and be selective about who you follow.
- Minimize how often you post on social media. If you’re updating your status, posting pictures, and sharing links or anecdotes multiple times each day, then it’s quite possible you’re distracted by social media. I’m pretty sure my friends and followers don’t want to see my updates that often and, quite frankly, I’ve been known to unfollow others because of their uber-frequent social media updates. Ask yourself if it’s really important that you share something. If so, then share it. If not, then use your time for something that is important.
- Restrict how often you check email, blogs, and social media on your smartphone. Many of us have our phones with us all of the time, so it’s easy to grab them and view email messages or recent pins all of the time. Often we need to spend this time on something else (helping our children, cleaning our kitchens, making grocery lists, etc.). Personally, I have found it useful to avoid accessing Facebook on my phone. I simply don’t need the distraction. However, I will sometimes browse Pinterest while nursing my daughter (I did this often during feedings in the middle of the night). At times when I have a free moment or two I also check my email accounts, though I don’t respond to emails on my phone. I set aside limited time to do that on my computer.
- Don’t try to read every blog that contains interesting posts. Several sources estimate that there are well over 150 million blogs on the internet today. That’s a lot! We will find worthwhile posts on many of these blogs, but we can’t read every one that interests us. At the risk of losing you as a reader, I must say this: Read a few blogs that you really benefit from, but unsubscribe from the rest. There’s no reason to put a strain on your schedule because you are reading too many blogs. Stick with the few that really make a positive contribution to your life.
- Use a timer when you’re on the computer. Because it is so easy to get carried away while on the internet, it can be useful to set aside a specific, limited amount of time to check your email, read blogs, and utilize social media. I accomplish this by setting a timer. I log off as soon as the timer sounds.
- Don’t access the internet while in bed. The portability of smartphones, tablets, and laptops makes it easy to do a “quick check” of your email or newsfeed before getting out of bed in the morning. Of course, this quick check is often anything but quick! Additionally, your focus on these devices can harm your relationship with your spouse by interrupting your personal time and the light from the devices’ screens can wreak havoc on your sleep.
Do you ever find yourself wasting time on internet technologies? What do you do to get your focus back on more important things?