Friday, 8 July 2011

Words of Wisdom

Reported this week – one in three of us is desperate to cut down the time we spend doing emails, Tweeting, Facebooking etc.

I can see why. There are always new and interesting things to ail us. With the dawn of computers came repetitive strain injuries from sitting at a keyboard or clutching a game pad. Now we have Facebook Fatigue, Blogger Burnout, Forum Fag, Email Exhaustion and Twitter Tiredness – that’s before you even start on the lure of interesting sites, the latest news at your fingertips and surveys.

My main activity on Facebook is playing Farmville. That’s the latest in a long line of games I’ve temporarily become addicted to. I’ve played everything on FB from knocking out bubbles to complicated word games. Now I put pretend trees in pretend orchards and every two days I harvest them. It’s an undemanding pastime and while I’m harvesting my orchards and watering my mystery seedlings or feeding love potions to my sheep, my mind takes a little break. It goes away all on its own and thinks about stuff.

And I don’t even have to go to FB to play it. I can cut out the middle man and go straight to Farmville. So do I need to cut down on Facebook? I don’t think so. I took a load of photos Tuesday and put them on FB, made them visible to the people who would be interested and that was it, done. And what’s more it’s easier and less time consuming than shrinking them to a sendable size and attaching them to emails.

So there you go, Facebook saves you time!

I sort of fell into Blogging. I follow so many I can’t keep up with them all, but when I look through the list and see if I could cull any – I can’t. I like all those I follow too much and don’t want to lose any of them and would like to follow more, but I sometimes miss posts and that annoys me somewhat because I just don’t have time to go back through them all and dammit I don’t like missing anything.

I’ve resisted Twitter. I’m not even going to go there. I think Twitter would be the straw that had me running down the street screaming that I can’t take any more.

Forums. I belong to a small number and find it hard to keep up with the posts on those, but I can’t let them go – I just can’t. They are, on the whole, such friendly places, somewhere you can go for a bit of a chillax.

And emails. I’d go mad without them and so, probably, would some of you. Not only do they keep you in touch, they make everything so much faster – and cheaper. Emails must save us a fortune in postage and brown envelopes.

Moving on to the business of writing. I had a sort out yesterday of all the folders, magazines, notes etc beside my desk. It had become such a huge tottering pile that I couldn’t use my printer without transferring it all. I transferred it to the chair behind me last time I had to print, forgetting that the dog that cannot see was damp and muddy – the result was a pile of soggy, grimy, falling apart pieces of paper and a very uncomfortable looking Tilly wondering what on earth had happened to her comfy chair.

She’s in there now sleeping peacefully, unmolested by piles of paperwork.

It led me to actually look at the projects I have on the go. There are five folders on the floor beside my desk – five projects there. Indy is taking care of those for the moment.

Then there are the notebooks scattered about the house. One with started greeting card verses in, one with Indy’s story, another with notes for something bigger. Yet another has writing websites written down that I must visit and one more on my desk with ideas for short stories. I haven’t even started on the folders on my computer with half started this and that. There is one into which I have transferred the stories I am going to one day – one day – publish on Kindle.

And there is of course the painting waiting to be finished, but that is unrelated to writing. At least I got the windows cleaned this week – very weak Yayyy.

So I haven’t done much. I would blame the dentist, but I have to say his lovely eyes went some way towards compensating for the pain.

The only person to blame is myself. I’m trying to do too much and in doing so I’m actually achieving very little. I used to make lists until the day I cracked, tore the list into tiny pieces and stamped my feet vowing never to make a bloody list again, so that’s not an option now.

Does anyone else feel overwhelmed by it all? I used to be overwhelmed by the mountain of ironing or the windows that needed cleaning or the grass that was as high as an elephant’s eye or the dust that settled the minute you finish dusting. Now all it takes to overwhelm me is the arrival of a writing magazine which I simply must read – just as soon as I’ve read last month’s.

Anyway, Words of Wisdom – I almost forgot. In fact I have forgotten. I’ve waffled on so long and talked so much self-indulgent twaddle I’ve forgotten what I was going to offer in the line of wise words. So let that be a lesson to you… I think.

I could easily and do easily become addicted to things. I can stop any time. I can turn this computer off and go and do something else. I can. You just watch me. I’m going now. See. I’m moving the mouse towards the sleep button or perhaps first I’ll check on my orchards, read a few blogs, reply to some emails and visit a forum or two and then I’ll switch it off and sort out some of those notebooks…..

How about you? Where are you off to now? Please, please tell me I’m not the only one to feel this way…


  1. I am the same. I love spending time reading what everyone has been up to, even when I know I should be doing something else. I won't say 'doing something more important,' because in my eyes, what you are doing at any one time, is the most important thing.

    Now, does that make any sense? If not, I'm sure you'll pick up the gist of it :-)

  2. I've resisted Twitter and I can live without Facebook. But I *love* my Blogs! Nothing comes between me and my Blogs - although I've tried (but often failed) to cut down on the amount of time I spend on my favourite blogs. This is because I'm supposed to doing more writing short stories and my books! I've got a lot of stuff on the proverbial "back burner" that (like you) needs to be tackled! Caroline x

  3. You're not alone, Teresa. Of course your'e not. There are hundreds of us out there at this very minute, not doing the ironing or writing novels or any of the other things we ought to be doing; just tapping away out little messages to the blogosphere (or FB or whatever). Like you, I have resistd Twitter, because I just know I'd become isntantly addicted. At least I know my shortcomings. Someo of them...

  4. I am exactly the same, Teresa. You're not alone.

  5. That makes perfect sense, Eileen, thank you!

    I can't imagine being without my Blogs either, Caroline.

    Thank you, Frances that really does make me feel better.

    Thanks, Jacula - I'd say we needed a support group except we already have one don't we in FB and Blogs etc :-)

  6. I think most of us are the same, Teresa! It's a bad habit, but I go straight on to facebook and then blogger before I start any writing - fatal mistake. But I know that if I don't, I won't concentrate on what I'm trying to write.

    One day I might just stop doing it and gt a lot more work done.

    Julie xx

  7. I don't fancy Facebook but I do love blogs and forums - you meet such lovely people there, don't you? - and I have a wonderful email prog that I can set up to delete everything I don't want to be bothered with.

    I've recently been lured into trying Twitter but I'm honestly beginning to wonder what the point of it is. It all looks like Double Dutch so I'm not sure I'll be staying with it long.

  8. Oh, how you speak for me, Teresa! I was beginning to get melt-down before we had the few days away, and we may have a few more soon. But I, too, love all the blogs and forums. Twitter isn't as bad as I'd feared but I probably don't use it enough yet. The one I don't seem to like as much is facebook, for some reason but I try to remember it every few days.

    I also got burned out with all the promotion, which was necessary really for an e-book published in Canada, but I had to force myself to do it! However, I'm going to use much of July for revamping blogs, organising writing etc - or that's the plan... if I can stop reading blogs and forums.

  9. Teresa, I opened a Twitter account a few weeks ago and I confess I'm a tweeting failure. No kidding, there are people who actually live there! I've resisted Facebook, but blogging suits me fine.

  10. I couldn't do without my favourite blogs either, so you're not alone.
    I limit myself to playing Solitaire on the computer as I know if I started playing any other games I'd never get any writing done.
    I don't Twitter or Facebook yet, but I will...eventually. :)

  11. Me too, Julie. I've tried writing first, but I find FB and Blogs a distraction so have to get them out of the way before I do anything else!

    That's how I feel about Twitter, Gail. I've had a look but I don't really "get" it.

    You needed that time away didn't you, Rosemary - the wedding looked wonderful!

    I haven't even got as far as opening a Twitter account, Martin! I took one look and it scared me so much I ran back to the blog with my tail between my legs - no wait, that was Indy - but I was right there with him!

    Solitaire - especially Spider got me so much, Carol I started seeing playing cards in my sleep. I took all the games off my computer - then I found Facebook and there they all were. There is no escape :-)

  12. You are definitely not alone, Teresa. I wake up every morning and the mountain of half-finished tasks looms above me. I don't seem to take more than one or two steps up it and then I take a step or two down before the day is over.
    But I think we are all too hard on ourselves. As long as we try to achieve as much s we can, that's all that matters. We should give ourselves more credit for the things we have started, even we don't finish them for the time being. And we should give ourselves plenty of time for the fun and relaxation we all need and deserve without a trace of guilt.
    Lists are cruel, spiteful creatures and I gave them up long ago. They only crouch there making you feel menaced and under pressure. I just do the housework whenever the dust becomes obvious. And vistors really do have to take us as they find us now. I used to dash around manically tidying and hoovering and wiping before people came. But now I expect to just have a good time with friends and family even if the house is less than perfect. And, as a result, I enjoy myself more than I ever did when I worried about dust and mess.
    As for Facebook etc, I do indulge a bit, but when I've had enough, I start writing. Usually the urge to write overcomes me quite quickly once I've checked my favourite blogs and taken a quick glance at Facebook. I don't do Twitter at all and I just take a quick look at the news and weather. I think I spend less time on all that than I spent reading the newspaper. We don't have one at all now and that has freed up a lot of time.
    Worry and guilt also take up far too much time. It would be nice to be totally free of negative thoughts and I an trying hard to do that. If the ironing has to wait another day, I am learning not to care. Or to pay my daughter to do a few jobs! (Not the daughter who blew up both the iron and the Hoover at her first attempt, though!)

  13. Oh I so agree about lists, Joanna - I made one last night for the first time in ages and it's beside me right now and yet instead of inspiring me, it is bullying me!
    It is hard, if it is in your nature, not to feel guilt or to worry though isn't it?
    Your daughter and the iron and Hoover - bless her, at least she tried!

  14. How comforting it is to know we are all the same isn't it! Muddling through doing the best we can every day, and instead of feeling happy with what we HAVE achieved beating ourselves up for what we HAVEN'T! I suppose in this technological world everything is there to supposedly help us do things in shorter time but actually makes us try to achieve more in the time saved - and there are still only so many hours in the day! Oh - I am the List Queen and find them a wonderful help. Mind you without lists I wouldn't remember ANYTHING so I need them desperately! Oh Lordy - Just 'poppped on' to check my emails - oops!! Must fly xx

  15. I had to stop making lists as they ruled me and made me sad. I am addicted to Facebook, and I do the odd tweet - usually when something is happening in the world that interests me - the topic is usually a trending one, and you can see what 'real' people are thinking about things instead of the media led frenzy which accompanies every news story now!
    I check my emails all the time - usually to see if YOU have emailed me!! lol
    I question my addiction to Facebook almost daily - its a pretty rose tinted bland little world, and I find myself deleting my status updates as I don't want to sound like I am moaning, and I don't want to come across as a boasting wally - I try just to update those who are interested in what we have been up to - almost an on-line apology service 'we would have phoned/visited/had you round for tea but we were......' thinking about it that is exactly what I use it for a means of communication on days I have no time, a sad reality of the modern world?! Probably. But then if I didn't spend so much time on Facebook playing Bejeweled and stalking people to see what they have been up to I might have more time......anyway, I haven't checked Facebook for three minutes so I'll speak to you later......

  16. Freecell is my addictive game.
    In addition to that these marvellous computers can get radio and television so Radio 4's Test Match Special is on during the summer and the Tour de France has live coverage for the first 3 weeks in July. I've tried having both on at the same time but my ancient machine passes out with the effort. That's probably a good thing really.
    I sit at my machine and tell myself I'm working but I think it's self-delusion.

  17. I've started a new list, Sue - I'm listing what I DO get done in a day and so far - well one day in - so good!

    Trending? See Lizzieoaks that is why I don't Tweet, I don't know the lingo for a start. Check your inbox ;-) (Bejewelled is another of my past addictions).

    Freecell - that's another one I know well, Keith! Lol - your machine passing out with the effort. That's what my old one used to do - it's in bits now, that'll teach it :-)

  18. You are definately not alone Teresa! It's good to know how many of us have the same frustrations! My current addiction is ebay, I just can't leave it alone! I have resisted FB and Twitter, my day just isn't long enough, but I love blogging and the lovely people I've met.

  19. Thank you penandpaints. There are worse things we could be addicted to aren't there :-)

  20. I've become addicted to a thing called clipboard on the iPad. it let's you link up Facebook, Twitter, Linkdin and Google reader, which is where I have all the blogs I follow. You can add in a load of other things like, I have the Newyorker, the Guardian the BBC, Granta and a few others. You get a selected feed from the commercial sources, but enough to be going on with. The advantage of having it all on the iPad is that when I sit down at the computer (Mac that is) the distractions are all out of the way.

  21. That sounds good, Rod - you are in control of it rather than it being in control of you! I like it!

  22. Sorry - been a bit absent, so coming late to this one. Just wanted to say how lovely it is to hear everyone else saying the same thing!
    I am reading these comments thinking: yes! I am not a bad/disorganised/ill-disciplined/low-achieving person OR if I am, so is everyone else LOL! x

  23. It's nice to know we're all the same isn't it, Lydia :-)

  24. Hello! I just went down my very long favourites list and found your blog there - which I had obviously tracked from somewhere else and stuck into my favourites list to try and catch up with later. Now there's a good use of a list!
    I do confess to being a lister, though. If I don't list, I spend so much time worrying about what I will have forgotten, having a brain like a sieve that's rusted and frayed round the edges, that I can't ever concentrate on the writing, for wondering what I should have done by now. And I forget story ideas too. I have notebooks of those.
    The only problem, now that I consider it, is that I used to list on paper and then I had the satisfaction of seeing things crossed off, and now I list electronically so when it's gone, the list is shorter, but I don't have the satisfying view of items achieved. Maybe I should make a second list of the things I've crossed off the first list ...

  25. Thank you for coming back Inkpen! A list of things you've done isn't a bad idea - I've just started doing that :-)