We went and saw The Social Network this week. I highly recommend the movie. It's funny, it's quick, it's very Aaron Sorkin. But this isn't a movie review. There was a line in the movie to describe coders when they are deep in work: wired in. You would see the guy sitting at the computer, headphones on, screen filled with lines of code, giant caffeinated beverage next to him and people would be told, "Don't bother so and so he's wired in" This line has really stuck with me as I have been spending some time evaluating how wired in I am.
Most of you that read this blog know me and know me well enough not to be shocked by what I am about to say. I am online almost constantly. If I don't have my laptop on I am checking the internet via my phone. And if for some reason (flying, movie, sleep, trivia contest in a bar) I have to have my phone off the first thing I do when I am free again is check in. It's almost a nervous tick now. And as most of you who know me also know, once I feel like I am doing things automatically and not really thinking about them, then I feel like I need to change.
For the past few weeks I have been turning over in my head ideas for how I am going to spend my time now that Brent is off of sabbatical and I am on my own. So I started down the list of things I want/need/like to do.
Writing. One of my goals for this year is to get something I've written published, so obviously writing takes a high place on the list.
Work outs. I need to drop a couple pounds that found their way back to me and I need to get back to the level of fitness I was at before August so extra time at the gym is back on the list.
Work. There are clients to be taken care of so of course anytime I have a client that becomes the priority.
Household. The housework and errands in maintaining the house need to be done so that's on the list as well.
Reading. I have stopped reading at the volume that I used to. Darned internet and it's quick short articles have sapped my staying power with a book, so I want to put some real unplugged reading time back on the list.
Photography. My 365 challenge from last year sparked something in me that I didn't think was still there, so I want to make sure I take some time to take more pictures, maybe even a class.
Visiting with friends. Now that my schedule is a little more free during the day I want to make sure I take advantage of the time and have lunch with friends a few times a month. Or even maybe once a week, depending on when I can corral everyone else's schedules.
And I would like to get back into hiking. So just a few things on that list!
As I am looking at all of those things that I want to do I see that the internet really isn't there. Now I know me and I know that's not really true. I will want to to check in on Facebook and see what is happening with my friends from other parts of the state, country and world and since those updates are happening all day every day how do I handle that part? How do I get on, check in and get out? Because what I end up doing is chatting here and there, reading this and that, playing a few (dozen) rounds of Bejeweled and before I know it the day is gone. Hmm....so what is my balance here?
I thought about limiting the time I am online. Maybe an hour in the morning, an hour at night sort of thing. To that end I moved my laptop to the office and plugged it in to a keyboard and mouse and am treating it sort of like a desktop unit. But then the challenge is what happens in the evening when I want to do something online that my phone can't handle. Upload my pictures, watch a video, read a news story that somehow has flash in it so my phone won't open the page. What do I do then? Do I go into the study and do my thing then go back out to the living room? Do I just wait until the next day? And have I forgotten how to just do one thing at a time? Just watch TV without watching TV, reading a magazine and surfing the web at the same time?
Then there is this other piece. Christopher is on Facebook and I can "see" when he is online. Now most of the time I don't do anything about it, every once in awhile I will open chat and ask him a question if I need to know something, but for the most part I just notice that he is there. If he needs to ask me something he is much more likely to text me than chat so having my computer off or in the other room doesn't prevent him from reaching me if he needs to, but it does prevent me from having that one piece of connectedness. And honestly I am not sure I am ready to give that up. I know he is thousands of miles away, but just knowing that at the moment he is online and I am online makes me somehow feel like he is still close. Do I want to give that up as well?
I don't have answers yet. I don't know what all I will do about this. But I have plans and ideas. I will be trying them out over the next few weeks to see what works best for me. I want to add back in things that I am missing in my life and staying "wired in" doesn't work for that. But I need to figure out just how much I can unplug without feeling like I am missing something there as well. For now I am leaning toward a schedule. Drop Brent off at work, go to the gym, come home and get cleaned up, write, handle household chores, read, random things, go pick up Brent sort of thing.
What do you think? Are you too wired in as well or have you successfully unplugged? Or do you even think you would ever want to unplug? I will keep you all posted, I need to write after all...
And hey! Guess what? Work series is back next week! Count on it!