Wibbly Wobbly, Time-y Wimey

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually,  from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”
– Doctor Who, “Blink”

I wish. There are many times in life I wish for the ability to travel through time. When I’m feeling nostalgic about England, I could hop in my TARDIS and go spend a week in Shakespearean London, and be home in time for tea. When I’m curious about life elsewhere in the universe, I could pop up to Saturn and explore. When I’m really poor after Christmas, I could go forward a few days and nab the lottery numbers. Or when I sleep two hours past my alarm clock on a Monday work morning (hello boss!), I could rewind to 11:30 on a Sunday night and decide NOT to go for coffee and philosophical talks on the state of humanity.  Actually, scratch that, I definitely still would. I’d just remember to set the alarm instead.  🙂 I’m a couple of weeks into the 26 Before 26, and it’s already been a rollercoaster of nerves, excitement, and awesomeness – but the biggest challenge I’m having is with finding the time to do it all.

Our daily waking hours are finite. Unfortunately, no matter how many Borg regeneration alcoves one prototypes, this is a sad fact.  If you’re going to throw  two-dozen new things into the mix, this doesn’t leave much room for life in the status quo. My schedule in the last two weeks has been packed with visits, yoga classes, writing dates, birthdays and meeting amazing new people lately, but I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t left me all sorts of exhausted! My problem is that I’m continuing to do all the things I did before I made the list – including wasting too much time on Facebook, watching too many Star Trek reruns (I have a Trekkie to convert!), straightening my hair, and cleaning the house. If I’m ever going to tackle this list, I’m going to have to re-prioritise – and some things are going to have to go.

I have to learn to ask myself if what I’m choosing to occupy my time is going to benefit me, or others, in the long run. There’s been all sorts of studies on Facebook usage, and I can’t help but think it’s a curse as well as a blessing. It’s full of win in terms of getting concert notifications, creeping on new friends’ likes and interests to see if they’re as big a nerd as you are, and to see how the girl that bullied you in high school is now an overweight mess. But it’s also awful. They change their privacy settings faster than the Enterprise rotates shield frequency under an attack from the Hirogen. You can peruse photos and interests all you like, until you look at your watch and realise your entire afternoon’s gone, and that a new album from a weekend get-together has just gone up and you weren’t invited. Facebook’s been hailed as the saviour of modern communication, reconnecting us with relatives and long lost friends. But in the last few weeks, in endeavors at balancing new activities, online presence, visits and hobbies, I’m finding online time to be more draining than it should be – and that it’s eating away at time I could be using infinitely more productively.  Social media fosters an ephemeral feeling of connectedness, yet in reality causes enormous disconnect from real life.  I had a great chat with someone recently about productivity, and we both decided that this probably has something to do with the increase in distractions as the world moves forward. In ages gone by, there was no Facebook, TV, blogging or MMORPGs. People had time in bucketloads, which they spent interacting with other people, seeing new places, coming up with ideas, which would pave the way to the way we see modern-day science.  Without distractions, they were more productive.

I made the list to push myself out of my comfort zone, to experience and interact with the world in ways that would help me grow, help me become a better person so I could in turn do and become something better for the world. Wasting time wasn’t on that list, so as alluring as “social” networking is, I have to see both sides of the equation, and weigh out the pros and cons. Ask myself if spending as much time as I do online is in line with what I want my life to be. At the end of the day, it’s the things we did, the people we spent time with, the lives we touched and the memories we made that are going to be remembered. Not how many followers we had on Twitter, or how many blogs we commented on. I’m realising that in order to make room for the awesome, I have to cut out some of the crap. Allocating categories to productive internet time (AKA staying in touch with all of you lovely people) vs. wasted Internet time. So this means, as of now, I probably won’t be online as much as I may have been in the last little while. I probably also need to stop prioritizing laundry and a clean kitchen and just say to heck with it, sometimes there are more important things in life.  Every 60 minutes spent reading status updates on a Sunday morning could be an hour running, learning dance moves, writing, or at a hot yoga class. (Sidenote: first one was full of accoustic live music, candles, and AWESOME.) Dr. Who‘s finished for another year, so there go TV Saturday nights. And I need to stop being so obsessive about getting enough sleep, and actually enjoy staying up with people I love spending time with, even at the risk of turning into a pumpkin.

There’s a lot I want to do, and I think it’s high time the routine was shaken up a little.  Out with the old, and in with the adventure of the new. I want to be able to say I lived this year. It’s just going to come down to prioritising, and deciding what’s going to make the cut.  How do you make time to achieve your goals?

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54 comments

  1. first of all i love how nerdy this post was, lol. its true social networking and social media kinda take away the whole socializing aspect by keeping people behind computer screens instad of actually socializing with each other. 2nd i love how dedicated you are to achieving your goals. its totally ok if you;re not online as much if you’re going to be able to say you achieved them at the end of the year and i’ll still be here reading when you are on. =o) i know a lot of ppl who get up early and do excercise before work, not sure if thats a possibility but it might get you a few more hrs in the day?

    1. Okay I am NOT a morning person at all… haha usually my eyes are still closed when I get to the bottom of the stairs!! I don’t know how people do it, getting up at 4 or 5am just to exercise. I think that probably says something about my motivation levels lol 🙂

  2. You ARE aware that actual Shakespearean London would have been grimey, smelly and sans sanitary toilet facilities? :p Better to go for the London of Dickens and Austen, where it’s still grungey but with cleaner parts for when you feel more… refined.

    “And I need to stop being so obsessive about getting enough sleep, and actually enjoy staying up with people I love spending time with, even at the risk of turning into a pumpkin” That’s so cute! I’m actually the WORST of both worlds. I stay up, but then don’t use that time to any sort of useful purpose. And I made a brief foray into the world of actually keeping up with friends at the beginning of the year, but as it got harder, I stopped trying as diligently. Boo. But I couldn’t agree more with your idea of wasted time – I do far too much of that. Do be careful though, not to be TOO hard on yourself. I’m living proof that setting your expectations TOO high could lead to those plans instead falling by the wayside. x

    1. Wibbly wobbly, timey GRIMEY!! Haha sorry I couldn’t help it… I think it;d be fun!! If everyone was in the same boat, I think it’d be tonnes of fun walking through cobblestone streets with people on horses and everyone going to the Globe Theatre together… /swoon. But I’d go visit Dickens too, definitely 🙂

      I am definitely wondering about the list I made and if it’s too ambitious, but I’m determined to try, even if it does leave me exhausted for a few weeks while I figure out how to do it all – and if it doesn’t work, then maybe I’ll just be a little more realistic next year 🙂

  3. Go through all your facebook friends and put them into groups. One of those groups should be ‘People I actually want to follow’. Then go to ‘Friends’ > ‘People I actually want to follow’, and save that page as a bookmark. Voila! You can now visit Facebook for ten minutes each week and not really miss anything.

    The problem I have with Facebook is that most of the people we follow are old classmates, extended family, and friends-of-friends. Do we need to examine all their lives?

    Meanwhile, I’ll spend about eight hours a day reading various blogs around the internet. Ugh!

    1. I actually did go through Facebook recently and hacked about 100 people off of it, because they were people I really had no contact with in real life and hadn’t in years, and that kind of went against the definition of “friend” anyway! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the suggestions – now, my Google Reader on the other hand could DEFINITELY use a bit of work… 🙂

      1. Ugh, Reader. My method is to open all the 60 blogs per day, then sift through that for ten minutes to get out everything that’s not really relevant.
        If I work at it efficiently, I can do the whole day of reading in two or three hours.
        But I have 228 subscriptions, so things might be different from you.

  4. Great post! I completely agree with you. I’ve recently cleaned out my Google Reader and am just focusing on reading the things that truly interest me.

    As for the rest of the social networking world.. I’m have a love/hate relationship with it. I’m good at not letting any of these sites get in the way of my day to day living and responsibilities. I could never allow myself to be that person that freaks out cause they lost a Twitter follower. Ugh yeah, so not me. As for Facebook, I signed off for good in January and I’ve never looked back.

    I think it’s all about balance and personal preference. Whatever makes you happy.

    1. I really need to go through my Google Reader, I did it a few months ago and got rid of all the people I put time and energy into reading and commenting on and never got anything back (as selfish as that sounds! lol), but I’ve accumulated more than a few in recent weeks and it’s getting a little intimidating every morning. Good for you for signing off Facebook – I don’t think I’ll be able to do that just yet, as I use it to communicate with my RL friends more than I do the telephone… although maybe that’s a sign? 🙂

      1. Don’t get me wrong, nobody loves texting more than me. However, I missed getting cute (chic) birthday cards (and sending me). Same go for random “Just wanted to say hello” phone calls. I felt like, for me at least, Facebook became too impersonal. I miss it from time to time, but I’ve redirected that energy and put it towards good use 🙂

  5. “People had time in bucketloads, which they spent interacting with other people, seeing new places, coming up with ideas, which would pave the way to the way we see modern-day science. Without distractions, they were more productive.”

    Actually… they were too busy surviving. They had to farm all day, or hunt, or cook, or defend themselves from attackers. Or clean, or sew, or raise babies… They didn’t have distractions, per se, but they didn’t necessarily have a ton of free time either.

    BUT, haha, that’s not REALLY the point of this post.

    How do you find time? You don’t. You make it. And that’s the truth. Coming from someone who’s not always good about making time, hahaha. But I try. I don’t particularly care for Facebook, so that makes life easy, but I do compulsively check email, Twitter, and my Google Reader, so that’s bad. I Wikipedia-surf, sometimes. And I watch a lot of TV/movies…

    But sometimes you just have to say, enough is enough. Carry a timer around with you, if you have to. Make sure you’re using your day for what really matters to you, which isn’t always what’s fun/easy.

    Sigh. And now off to take my own advice…

    1. YES they totally were surviving, too! But so do we – they spent time farming and sewing; we spend time in grocery store queues and working two jobs so we can PAY things like daycare so we CAN raise children. I think the necessities of survival are time consuming now and hundreds of years ago, but our spare time is being taken over more and more these days by things that actually aren’t worth quite as much time as we put into them in the long run. I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies, so that’s a good thing, but I do need to work on my online time and realise it’s OKAY not to reply to an email until bedtime!

  6. Finding time for it all is tough! I just had a mini “how can I get this all done?!” crisis, and it’s hard to figure out!

    My tactic has been very similar to yours, I’ll chat on twitter throughout the mornings, but other than that I’m not checking it, I don’t sit on facebook, and I don’t really use gchat anymore. I’m only subscribed to maybe 40 personal blogs max. and I always start my commenting with the people who’ve said hi to me, beyond that I don’t feel obligated.

    It’s reduced my internet time down to a little slice of my day, and I tend to cram it in between 6 & 7 AM so by the time I’m home from work I can jump in on my other projects and just make progress instead of hopping from blog to blog 🙂

  7. Ugh. I have been an internet addict since I was 13. It’s worse now because I have my netbook so I can basically take my addiction anywhere I want. I keep telling myself I need to spend less time online but it never actually seems to happen. So sad.

  8. It’s easy to become so engaged in an online life and forget about all the things we could and should be doing IRL.

    While I’m not subscribed to very many blogs and don’t follow a lot of people on Twitter (on purpose), I do still feel the pull to constantly check in with the Internet to the point that I let other things slide. When I realize I’m getting sucked in too much, I take note of it and back off, taking a hiatus from all things electronic. I think it’s good for all of us to do that from time to time, as needed.

    Ultimately, Emily needs to do what feels right to Emily. Don’t worry about “the Internet”. We understand. 🙂

    1. 🙂 I already went from posting 3x/week to twice a week, which has made things quite a bit more manageable. I just need to work on Reader and schedule OK time for replying to emails etc. And realising that it’s actually okay to take a few days vs. a few hours in the real world!

  9. Yep, I hear you on Facebook. I love (love!) it but I hate it too. I spend way too much time online.. but then, as long as I’m getting out and doing other stuff too, I don’t worry so much. 😀

    1. Yeah, you’re right, and I am getting out and doing other stuff – it’s just a little overwhelming when I’m doing all the online stuff PLUS all the offline stuff; my calendar actually SCARED me last week!!

  10. I always feel like there’s never enough time in the day to get to the “good” stuff. Then I look back and realize I wasted 2 hours staring at the tv and I’m exhausted because I couldn’t put my iPod game down and stayed up way too late. It’s certainly a struggle to stop the mindless activities and make a decision to do something else (even though it’s undoubtedly more rewarding in the end). Even “unplugging” hasn’t been able to grant me more time. Namely because I do fritter it all away.

    I’m trying to focus on the “why” behind my frittering now, and find solutions based on that. For example – keeping only my favourites in my Reader, and then creating a bookmark folder for all the other blogs I enjoy. And not having Twitter updates pushed through on my phone. Hope you can figure out how to work around your hindrances.

    1. It’s times like these I wonder how I ever had the time to fit in a WoW addiction a couple of years ago!! 🙂 I definitely couldn’t have an iPhone or have Twitter updates sent to it, I think I’d end up throwing it out the window!

  11. There’s never enough time in a day for everything, and unfortunately the internet takes up a huge chunk of time. I think it’s wise to step away. It’s important to have REAL interactions with people and live your life for you. Enjoy!

    1. Absolutely! I realised over the last year that I’d gone from 2-3 Facebook photo albums per month of all the stuff I was DOING went to 1 album every TWO months, which means I was spending too much time indoors and not enough time out there doing stuff. Definitely time for changing things up 🙂

  12. I think Facebook has taken up way too much of everyone’s time. Including my grandmother’s, which I never thought would be the case – but it IS the 21st Century.

    I deleted my Facebook a few weeks ago for other reasons, but apart from keeping in touch with a few select people, I haven’t missed it AT ALL. It’s actually been very nice. I suggest a FB hiatus for everyone who feels it’s a bit overwhelming.

    You’re in the right mindset to make changes – and I think it’s awesome. Too many of us miss out on life because of the insignificant things we’ve prioritized to the top of our lists. I want to do more things, see more places, make new friends. This post is encouraging … thanks! 🙂

    1. LOL my nan is on Facebook too!! Every few weekends I’ll have an “offline hiatus” just to DO stuff, and it is very refreshing. I think I just need to balance week-weekend ratio so as not to burn out. Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  13. Very interesting. I love your writing style – I have never been keen on blogs and twitter for the reasons you sugest – spending too much time social netwroking and not actually getting off my bum to do something lol. I recently have joined your blog and also Linked in, and realise that as I am speaking. I have decided that I love to read your blogs, not only are they thought provoking, I can also interact. I wonder how many other people spend their first hour of the weekend checking status updates, scared they have missed somehting – and going on as soon as they get in from work as I do – then if I do go out for the evening, I am back on checking when I get back. This HAS to stop! Does it really matter? no.
    In answer to your question, I would say set a daily goal to ensure you can achieve some way towards your bigger goal.

    Thanks

    Sand x

    1. Thanks for the sweet comment Sandy. I started last night – instead of spending time online, I did 15 mins on the treadmill and 30 mins of my yoga DVD, and I felt far better knowing I’d done something good for me!

  14. I really love this post!
    I have been spending way too much time online reading lately, but my guess is I’d just spend that time reading books instead if I didn’t.
    Facebook is not a problem for me. I love it and would never leave, but a quick check of the home page to see what people are up to, and a few comments throughout the day are all I seem to care about.
    As for Google Reader, a couple of days ago I had so many blog posts to read, I just picked a few I couldn’t miss, (you’re one) and marked the rest as “read” Since then, it’s been easy to keep up with. I’ve decided that when the list get’s too long, I’ll just let it go.
    Since I almost never watch TV, I figure that time spent creating online is time well spent… but I did spend the day writing yesterday instead of working in my shop. (sigh) We do need to find some balance.

  15. Go radio silent for a few days. No TV, computer, or cell phone. Start Friday after work and end it Monday morning. If you get out of those daily habits of checking Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and websites you would be amazed how much time you free up. Yes it becomes daunting when yuo check back and realize how much you have to catch up on BUT you will in turn find out what you read is important to you and what is just internet dribble.

    “Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour count”. A friend says this all the time. Not sure where he got the quote from but I’ve always liked it.

  16. That is a really good one, and I’m totally going to do my radio silent this weekend. Other than BEING on the radio 🙂 I know all of a sudden it’ll feel like I have a TONNE of time and I’ll be able to do actual productive things with it! 🙂

  17. I’m finding that I’m falling into that same trap, especially with me being finished work for the summer (!)…it’s like I have a ton of stuff to do but not enough time but I’m still checking facebook every two minutes! It’s frustrating! But at least time is wibbly-wobbly and maybe I’ll find a wormhole and I can move back a few days or possible slow-motion time and get a few more minutes into the day! Wonderful writing as always, beautiful! xoxo

  18. I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. My little project only has 7 goals, but they’re BIG, time-consuming goals. Like your 26 Before 26, my list is all about pushing myself out of my comfort zone and zoning in on the habits and routines that are inhibiting me from being a better person and contributing to the world around me. The more I’ve worked to change, the more I see how much time I waste!

    As much as Facebook has reconnected me with friends and family, it really is a huge time waster; time flies when I’m doing silly things on the Internet like checking statuses and looking at photos, and before I know it, hours have gone by. I’ve also gotten into this habit of staying up really late and sleeping in; by the time I wake up, I feel like I’ve wasted part of my day away!

    I wish I had an answer for “how do you make time to achieve your goals?” but I’m still trying to figure it out!

    1. I love that we’re on the same page at this point in our lives and I am so happy we get to cheer each other along with these goals! Facebook is a blessing and a curse. If it wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have met some truly awesome people (and reconnected with Sweet!), but I’m also guilty of spending far too much time browsing… at least we’re acknowledging it though, right? First step of doing something about it? 🙂

  19. I just need to stay away from Facebook late at night. I find, around 9 or 10 pm, when I’m TIRED and should be reading or in bed, I will let my eyes glaze over and just stare at/stalk Facebook for hours at a time! Such a bad habit. I am trying to get myself in the habit of shutting off my computer and all social media that comes with it at 9:00 pm every night! Harder than one would think!

    1. It is!! I really want to get into the habit of switching off earlier, and go to bed and READ – not having time to read is one of my biggest complaints yet I still go online at night before bed or watch Star Trek instead of actually productively reading!

  20. I feel the same way. So much to do, so little time. I long for the days of childhood when I would complain to my mom about how bored I was. Now I am never bored. i can not remember the last time I was bored. It is great to have a full life, but it is also sort of exhausting.

    I def have re-prioritized my time – starting when I was working in that horrid job this winter. I stopped turning on my tv at night when i got home and instead used that time to focus on catching up on blogs, emailing friends, or doing things around teh house. i rarely am on facebook anymore; sometimes I think I should just de-activate my profile, but it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends/family and share pics of life events, like my nephews birthdays, etc.

    It’s to figure out what to include and what to drop. And you will inevitably feel like you are letting someone down at some point. But it’s so importnat ot figure out the right balance for you! I know you can do it, though! Lots of exciting stuff on the horizon for you!

    1. Aw, thanks! I do like the idea of disconnecting from FB just a tad, and using it just to keep in touch once a day and share pics etc. rather than wasting a bunch of time on that could be better spent doing other, more productive things. I don’t know if I’ve ever complained of being bored but I DO miss having 5 hour stretches to play World of Warcraft!! 🙂

  21. I love this post!

    I’m guilty of spending a lot of time online. I read a lot of blogs (and I only follow those I find interesting, including yours, obviously 😉 ), I have 2 Facebook accounts. And I’m also guilty of complaining about having so much to do. Between my job, my blogging, and my business, I hardly have time to enjoy life anymore. Not the way I used to when I was younger. Lately, I’ve been sacrificing sleep just to finish everything I have to finish. I can say that I still have to learn how to use my time effectively and be more productive. 🙂

  22. I recently went through my Reader and deleted a bunch of blogs where I haven’t felt any sort of connection with the writer. Then I went and divided everyone into folders: Must Reads, Second-in-Line, Third-in-Line, Mom Blogs, No Commenters (people who don’t comment on my blog, but whose blogs I still like to read), Healthy Living, and Testing the Waters (blogs where I’m a new subscriber to and seeing if I want to keep reading them, i.e., connection.) I have to admit, it has helped SO MUCH! I only really feel a big obligation to read the first 3 every day.

    I’m also feeling the need to schedule my time better so I can get more done and I’m not spending my entire afternoon either napping or on the computer. Every morning, I make a to-do list of things I want to get done, list the priority, and then make sure I attend to each one throughout my day.

    I completely understand your dilemma and this tug-of-war of wanting to be so involved in this awesome online community, but not so that it creates a disconnectedness from everyday life. It’s a battle I’m constantly facing.

  23. I am so so excited for September!! And you’re right, that sentence should’ve read “when I want to explore Shakespearean England, I could go on an adventure in a tropical rainforest with robot trees 3,000 years in the future” 🙂

  24. Good luck with the productive internet time, I know I waste a lot of time online and I’m not even sure what it is that I am doing that the time goes by so fast.

  25. Oh yes, technology has become a HUGE distraction!! Which is a shame in a lot of ways…

    I have vowed to never get a contraption like an iPhone, because being the more introverted person that I am, a thing like that can easily suck me away from real life.

    I also like breaks from the internet…it’s very refreshing!

    1. Definitely – I just need to take more of them! I don’t think I could ever get an iPhone or a Blackberry or anything like that – I’d be sucked in for good!

  26. One of the many things I love about you? Your Star Trek analogies! So great. I just read some of it aloud to Aaron!

    I’ve been trying to prioritize my time better, too. A big part of this is eliminating time sucks. For one, we cancelled cable, which was huge. However we still have Netflix so still can stream TV shows and movies, hah. But we’ve barely played any video games lately (that tends to go in and out in phases though).

    Also I haven’t been online as much lately. I’m trying to get my home in order, super organized, and more importantly develop some better routines so I don’t waste so much time on things like: running around looking for the right bra or skirt at 6:30am.

    Speaking of early mornings, I was inspired by another blogger’s new morning routine–starting the day with intention. But I am so NOT a morning person and have to be out of the house by 7:10. So this is a hard one for me, but I want to try it and if I like it, work hard to turn it into a habit. (Maybe it can eventually turn into actually exercising before work!)

    Between working and commuting, there’s just so little time left. One habit I’ve been working on is spending Sunday afternoons/evenings prepping food for the week and whatnot. Part of this is cleaning/prepping all the produce as soon as we bring it home. It makes cooking so much faster and easier throughout the week!

    But kind of like what you said, the biggest thing, I think, is the small decisions everyday. Deciding if spending 30 minutes on *this* is helping me to advance any of my goals in any way, and if not, why am I not using this precious time to do so?

    1. Thanks for such a thoughftul and insightful comment 🙂 I think you’re right – with more practice, that’s the only way to make things become habitual – and so because it’s different it might be a little difficult right now, but the more we make those decisions and ask ourselves those questions like “is this helping me or is this a waste of time?” the more conscious we’ll become of how we spend our time.

    1. We do and I definitely did! It was….n’t as massive as I was hoping. The 2nd last episode was SO tense and exciting I was hoping it’d carry on into the finale and it just sort of slowed down… but it was good nonetheless. Bring on next season!!

  27. When you find out how to make time to achieve your goals, please let me know because I’m wondering the same thing too!! Sometimes I wish we had more than 24 hours in the day but with the exception that we don’t need more sleep to survive throughout the days. Just saw some comments and I think I should wake up earlier too…but I love being a night owl because it seems like I function better at night, hah! 🙂

  28. A few things:
    1) I am WAY behind on my comments

    2) “be home in time for tea.” Do you regularly have proper tea? Do you drink a lot of tea? I’ve never asked!

    3) This post was awesome. I, TOO, need to prioritize and fix parts of my life that are broken. I need to run like a well oiled machine!

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