Time Management and Social Media: An Oxymoron?
March 15, 2009 by Stephanie O'Dea
EDITED May 2013: In the fall of 2012, I took over my fan-run facebook page. I still don’t have a personal facebook account and try to limit my facebook time to strictly business. I have broadened my feelings on twitter — I actually do like it an awful lot now.
I am not on Instagram.
I still do not have a smart phone.
who knows what the next year will bring?
I wrote a bit about time management and moms in the book, and how I battle my biggest time waster: The Internet.
I’ve found that if I’m not careful I can whittle away hours of precious time following link after link or by playing with the Instant Messenger feature. Since I do the bulk of my professional work on the computer, it’s very easy to succumb to “playing” while I work, and before I know it hours have passed and I really haven’t accomplished anything.
I hate to admit how often this happens.
it’s kind of a lot.
There is no perfect work/life/family balance that fits all. There just isn’t, and anyone who tries to sell you otherwise is a liar and probably has really bad karma. You’ve got to figure out a system that works for you. Some people allow themselves a break every hour or two from work (and yes, running a house and caring for children is work) to check and answer personal email. Some people refuse to go to certain internet sites until all of the day’s work is done. I sort of do a mixture of the two. I usually get up pretty early in the morning (4 or 5 am, it’s nutty, I know) to get my work-work done so then I can do other stuff (which I usually masquerade as work when the kids or Adam ask what I’m doing) that I want to do. It’s not a perfect system, but so far it’s working out okay. Especially when I take a nap at 2pm.
I do not have an IPhone. Or a Blackberry. I also am not on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn. This is a personal choice that I have decided that for right now(*) just isn’t a good fit for me or our family.
(* my version of a disclaimer in case I ever change my mind and venture over to the dark side…and let’s be honest, it’s probably inevitable…)
edited 10/09: I have started a twitter account, @stephanieodea on the advice of my publicist. I’m a very sporadic user, and still don’t really understand it—doesn’t it seem kind of ego centric? So there you go. I’ve succumbed to the dark side… (insert evil Darth Vaderish laugh).
I would love an iPhone—I think they’re neat, and I think I’d have an awful lot of fun with one. But I know myself, and I know that I’d be checking it constantly, and not be fully attentive when I should be. I also get annoyed when I’m speaking to someone and they interrupt the conversation to answer an email, or they respond to a question by saying “oh, let me google that,” and then they go ahead and give me a computer-generated instead of a person-generated response.
I was at a playdate yesterday, and the dad works at Apple. I asked if employees played on their iPhones during meetings. He said, “No. That would be rude.” Yes. Yes it would be. Yet I’m sure we all could rattle off instances where we’ve seen phones being used in such a way.
As for Twitter? I used to just not get it. Now I think I do, but I’m just not that into sharing my every little thought with the world. I’m not that interesting. And lots of my thoughts lately have to do with the annoyance I have with the little white dog from around the corner who keeps peeing on our front lawn. And some of my thoughts about that aren’t legal, so I should probably keep them inside. And since I don’t have an IPhone or a Blackberry I have to text in the old way where you scroll through the letters and I have very little patience. I’d rather just place the call.
Facebook. So many of my in-real-life friends keep telling me to join Facebook so I can “keep in touch.” But I’m on the PHONE with them when they tell me this! We’re obviously IN TOUCH. So I don’t get it. And I think if I signed up I’d get sucked in. And while highschool had some good qualities (I met Adam!), I’m not ready quite yet to revive friendships. I’ve heard the virtual scrabble is really cool, though.
One of the biggest concerns about the being plugged in thing for me is the message that I/we/you/the universe are sending to children. I am from the school of thought that it’s okay to be bored. It’s okay to be alone with your thoughts. It’s okay to have quiet and not have bells and whistles sounding off all the time (hey, did I ever tell you that I applied to work for Leap Frog when they were a start-up and during the pre-interview I filled out a form saying that I believed (I was 23 at the time, so I knew EVERYTHING) toys should be open-ended and not require batteries and so they never called me back. And in a twist of irony the kids’ favorite toys are the singing ABC magnetic letters?).
It’s hard to be alone with your thoughts if you’re constantly being entertained. Some of my best ideas come from long runs (no iPod) or when I unplug for a few days. I find the kids are better behaved when the TV is off and I put away the DSes (is that the plural for DS?).
You Can Run But You Can’t Hide
The conundrum for me is that I do work for a social media company: BlogHerads. And I love it. If I didn’t do work for them, I wouldn’t have started the CrockPot blog, I wouldn’t be working on a CrockPot book, and I wouldn’t be in touch with thousands of wonderful women (and a few men. Hi Mexican Rick!) from all over the world. And I like you guys. I like getting emails saying that I am of some help in meal planning and that I helped break the chicken nuggets and pizza cycle, or that I inspired someone to streamline their bed linen and now the bed is made and that little boost was the boost needed to clean out the closet. It makes me feel good. I like helping people, and I like hearing back from them.
I’m very interested in the Mommy Blogging Panel that’s going to happen at BlogHer ’09: “Balance” is a Big, Fat, Lying, McLiar LIE for Moms who Blog (and the rest of us too) (I’m sure it will be live-blogged and live-twittered, for those who can’t make it, and the fact that I just typed that makes me laugh, yet there you go). I’m glad that the title of this panel is tongue-in-cheek. It’s got to be, right? The idea of never being able to achieve balance is such a depressing thought—- Women need to help women. It is very helpful to be honest and say that there are days that spiral out of control and the kids climb into the pantry and dump out the cereal boxes. We’ve all been there. We know how that happens. But we also need to have a glimmer of hope that it is possible to do find a way to juggle the balls. Just a glimmer. Just a teeny tiny sparkle. something. anything. I look forward to hearing ideas about what does work, along with the fun stories about what doesn’t.
I’ve collected a few articles I’ll share below (LOVE the John Stewart video). It’s ironic that what was developed as a way to save time and make time more efficient has turned (for some) into such a sucking vaccuum. I think that the important lesson is to know where your time goes, and to be honest about the difference between work and play. I am definitely more proud of myself at the end of the day if I have a long list of accomplishments than I am when I have virtually (HA! virtually!) nothing to show for it.
- How to Company Clean–in 30 Minutes or Less
- The Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household
- Clean Less, Play More
- It’s PROM Time!
Want even more? Buy the book! Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life is available now. This handy-dandy weekly planner will hold your hand throughout the year and will give you all the reminders and helpful prods you need to have the Very Best Year, ever. No need to wait for the New Year to start your organization mission, you can start at any time. Enjoy!
The Business of Blogging series:
and other stuff: