Thursday, July 25, 2013

Managing Computer Time

So, I have a tendency to use the computer too much.  Screens suck me in, and sometimes I do this hyperfocus thing where I miss other things going on around me.

My kids have made some mega messes but fortunately been in no serious danger when I'm off in computer-land.

Nonetheless, I know I need to change.

It's tempting to just pull the plug and leave the computer or at least the internet off altogether.

But, the problem is that it's integral to a few different ways God has called me to use my talents for His glory.

I'm the Publicity person for MOPS, in charge of maintaining our group's public and private Facebook pages and sending out email reminders.  I also use the computer to design monthly newsletters and slide shows for our meetings.

I'm a La Leche League leader, and Facebook and email are part of the job description there as well, as is the ability to quickly do research online.

I'm a homemaker who uses the internet as a household management tool and calendar and cookbook and how-to manual and reference library and sometimes, my social life.

And, once again, I'm heeding the call to be a blogger and share my thoughts and experiences here with whoever cares to read them.

But even with all that, I go online and use the computer much more than is really necessary.  I sit down to nurse my baby boy and think I'll just check Facebook or Gentle Christian Mothers or Television Without Pity quickly and then end up sitting for hours, reading about other people's lives or thoughts, not participating much because it's hard (but not impossible) to type with a baby in arms (or balanced on my knees) at the breast.

I've been convicted that it needs to change and I want to find a solution.

In the past I've used the StayFocusd extension for Google Chrome, but I found it insufficient for several reasons.

Yesterday I searched for alternatives to that program and discovered Productivity Owl, another extension for Chrome.

What I like about it is that it gives me time to look at the sites that suck me in (I set it for 60 seconds at a time before it closes the browser tab).  That's enough time to check in and participate, but not enough time to get sucked in.  Most of the interactions I need to do for LLL and MOPS require about 60 seconds or less, especially if I look at the notifications in my email first.

I whitelisted sites I truly need to be productive, such as email, MOPS and LLL, a few recipe aggregator sites, banking.  Most of the other sites I visit, whether for fun or household management, can be visited in 60 seconds or less and make a nice break.

I'm only on day two of using this extension, but so far so good.  It has made a difference in the way I use the computer and the ease of getting back out of the chair once I sit down to check something or nurse the baby.

I also installed FocalFilter which is a program that allows me to block sites on other browsers too so I don't end up just booting up IE or Firefox to get more time on a site that's triggering my hyperfocus.  I need to set that up still though so far it hasn't been a problem.

In other news, I have a psych appointment to be evaluated for adult ADHD in a few weeks...

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