Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An Experimental Mutiny: Part Four (Media)


Well, it's two weeks late, but I'm blogging about "Media Month", which was our fourth month of doing something from 7.  This post ended up being a lot more introspective than some of the others and I'm sure it's because (thus far) this has been an area I struggle in the most.  In all honesty, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but I did have moments where that tempting little icon above seemed to be mocking me. 

To refresh, here were the "challenges" I came up with:
1. no Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest
2.  limited blog reading
3.  limited TV
4. not using my phone as a "smart phone" w/ the exception of limited Instagramming 
5. daily time reading
6. daily time with the Lord
7. daily time (without kids) with Peyton

This was the first time I did this, but I shared a little Mid Month Update.  Pretty much, I hadn't done as well the first two weeks as I had wanted to and I resolved to change that.  The second half of the month was a lot better and I think we really benefited from it.

First of all, I want to say that I was nowhere NEAR as hardcore as Jen (most months we haven't been).  I realize that I don't have a job that necessitates a computer and I could have done things like made my car radio off limits.  However, I knew the main things that were "hold ups" for me and I wanted to work on them and I knew other things were important to keep. For example, I knew I wanted to keep blogging. For one it's a cathartic thing for me and for another I just couldn't just leave and have this place empty.  Even if I did do it, I'd want to have a few scheduled posts each week. 

Overall, the month ended up being really good, though- especially the second half.  More than anything, it just freed up a lot of time.  I'm not unaware of how much time I spend on the computer, but I feel like I always have a "reason".  It was nice to have a reason NOT to be on the computer or the Internet.  In one way it was actually kind of liberating to not feel like I needed to stay "caught up" on blogs and especially Twitter. 

Here's the breakdown of each goal and how I did/what I learned:
1. No Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest
I'm pretty sure this was the one that made the biggest difference in my day to day. Twitter is definitely a big time suck and it was good for me to cut it out for a bit.  One thing I think it did make me aware of is that if I miss a day on Twitter, the world won't end.  [I feel so stupid even admitting that was my mindset.]  It's nice to know that we can go out of town and I don't need to be on my phone "catching up" during the car ride with my husband or if we have a busy week with church stuff, I don't have to read through 727 tweets that have appeared in my timeline over the course of a day. Facebook and Pinterest really weren't that hard, because my dedication to them varies from day to day anyway ;)

2.  Limited Blog Reading
Again, this wasn't a total new thing.  At least since Graves was born (maybe since AP became an active, legit toddler) I've done less blog reading.  I still subscribe to all the ones I always have.  Being honest, I even have a tab called "Blogs I Really Don't Care About Anymore" because I'm a packrat of the virtual persuasion. [Sidenote: and I'm not just saying this: NOBODY who reads my blog is under that tab.  If you don't fit elsewhere, you're under "People Who Follow My Blog".  This is a science.  Ha.]  Anyway, I do a lot of "marking as read" in Google Reader as I need to.  I have it pretty well characterized and there are folders that get that treatment a lot and some that rarely do.  Last month I limited it to a VERY few blogs, mostly of IRL friends.

3. Limited TV

This again was really no big deal because I'm not a big television watcher anyway.

4. Not Using My Phone As a "Smart Phone" (w/ the exception of limited Instagramming)
 
This one was harder than I would have liked to let myself believe it would be.  Theoretically, I try to keep this rule when the kids are awake anyway.  Anyway, Twitter and FB are the main culprits, so I pretty much had my bases covered with number one.  As I said in the mid month post, I got in a bad habit at the beach of looking at Instagram too much so for the second half of the month, I only posted pictures.

I also added some positive habits I wanted to cultivate in the absence of my media excess"
5. Spend Time Reading Daily
This didn't happen the first two weeks very much and that could be partly because things were pretty busy, but it also had to do with me "replacing" things, like Twitter with Instagram.  I also blogged a good bit, maybe more than I would have if I hadn't given up the other types of media.  I did much better the last two weeks.

6. Spend Time Daily with the Lord
More of the same.  I will say after a focused two weeks, I've continued having a more consistent devotional time this month.  It's not what it should be (daily, at the least!), but it's better than it has been in a while!

7. Daily Time (without kids) With Peyton
This one was harder to measure, but AGAIN, once I realized I needed to be more disciplined, I made it happen and I've seen a continuation of it to this month. 

Overall, I really feel like this has helped me.  Unfortuantly, after the month was over, I realized I was behind on some things- mainly putting a lot of pictures on Facebook and my first week back was uh, a complete 180.  I've tried to be more disciplined this week, but it's hard for me to find the balance, honestly, because besides reading blogs and looking at Twitter, there's a lot of other stuff I want to do for myself and for these guys that I spend my life with. 

This blog is super important to me and it takes more time than I really like to admit to craft some of the posts that I'm proud of.  And there's two posts a week that entail a lot more than just that. I like to also keep a "record" of our lives through my Weekly Happenings Posts and those take TIME just to formulate, not even considering messing with uploading pictures to the computer and then to the blog. Speaking of pictures, it's important to me to keep them really organized and additionally to have them archived in several places.  I'm working on getting them all on Flikr and an additional hard drive, but I like to maintain my organizational standards so it's a process.  And I like to put them on Facebook because, well, it's fun for me to look at other people's families so I assume I'm not being too vain to assume some people feel the same about ours.  Then there's my Weekly Smorgasbord posts and obviously the time factor there is finding and reading articles and then trying to succinctly articulate my thoughts.  It's something I love to do, but it's more time. In all honesty, there are (a good many) days where I spend three to four hours on the computer.  I've yet to admit that, because to me, it seems like an awful lot.  But if I'm cognizant of it and track it, a lot of times it ends up that way.

Another problem, and I have this in pretty much every area of my life because I suck at time management, is that everything takes longer than I imagine.  Peyton and I both struggle with this and often, and I think the problem is exacerbated on the computer where constant "dings" distract us and make things difficult to complete.

All that to say, there's a lot I like to do on the computer and it's what I spend most of my "down" time doing.  But at the end of the day, I need to primarily be living life, not documenting it. My rule has always been that I do it only when the kids are asleep/resting, but as that time gets less, I find it cutting in to time with Peyton and that's something I do NOT want to the norm. 

As I said, I think this month grew me and I think I formed habits that will hopefully be here to stay. 

This month is "spending" and we chose seven places to spend money.  It's been another enlightening experience and I can't wait to blog about it.

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