Time Sucks

No, I’m not trying to be vulgar, really I’m not. I’m just trying to make a point.

When I was new to Facebook years ago, a friend of mine in California commented that it was a great time suck. She was right. I spent so much time on Facebook: reading everyone’s posts, tending a farm, and updating my status. Every waking minute that wasn’t spent on work or taking care of my family was spent on Facebook. Even then, I didn’t feel like I was keeping up. I had to read every single status and every single comment to each status, going all the way back to where I had last left off. I gave it time and it demanded even more. Finally, I simply had to give it up.

A couple of years ago, post Facebook frenzy, I tried Twitter. It was great fun at first. I followed friends, family and even some celebrities. I spent hours reading through all the tweets, again going back in the timeline to where I last left off and reading every last one up to the current time. Still it wasn’t enough. Still there were more tweets being posted, by the second. The more time I gave Twitter, the more it demanded. Eventually, I gave it up as well.

Having given up social media, I had more time to spend writing. And I did. Everyday. I wrote, in six month’s time, a 336 page manuscript. All because I no longer gave in to the time sucks. Because the social media sites no longer lured me in, I have been able to spend time with my catharsis, editing it to near perfection. (Writers never believe our own work is ever truly perfect; there’s always room for improvement.) I was happy. I was not well known in the social media realm, but I was happy with the progress I was making on my manuscript.

Over the weekend I got a new laptop. It was time. My old laptop barely functioned without being plugged in. Through the long and tedious process of setting up shop on the new machine I discovered Tweet Deck, a wonderful program for viewing lots of tweets all at once. I have multiple Twitter accounts and I was able to set them all up on Tweet Deck. I had all of my feeds on one screen. It was perfect. I was excited.

I didn’t spend any time with my manuscript.

This morning I pulled out my laptop, expecting a business as usual morning. I am the first in my house to wake up. While sipping my morning coffee, willing my whole body into coherence, I typically spend time on my manuscript. I’m still in the editing stage. It’s going to take awhile. First thing in the morning before anyone wakes up is the best time for me to devote to that process.

I checked my email–three different accounts–as usual as my eyes strained to focus on the screen. Then I checked my blog stats, because I had posted a quick little piece last night before going to bed. Then I went to Tweet Deck. UGH! Before I knew it, I had spent THIRTY minutes on that great time suck! Not a single word of my manuscript was read, deleted or added. Nope, it was all spent on reading the Twitter feeds.

Social media is great for those that have the time. To those of us so easily lead astray of our duties and obligations, though, it is a great time suck.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie (Bennis) Shirley
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 08:52:11

    I can attest to how much time can be wasted on social media. Given its management is one of my jobs for my clients, I’ve had to create time limits and boundaries as to how far I’ll let it waste my day. Especially in the communications career field, it’s not something we can “quit cold turkey” but to preserve our time we should set limits for how far we allow ourselves to stray from the task at hand.

    Reply

  2. Naomi Baltuck
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 16:04:14

    I hear you!

    Reply

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