Posts Tagged ‘productivity’
A few weeks ago, I wrote about an experiment that I conducted on myself. It was a success – though, alas, it was only short-lived.
Withdrawing from social networks like Facebook and Twitter for a fixed 24 hour period was doable for me, but something that I struggled to continue with on a regular basis. Immediately after my experiment, my old habits and patterns resurfaced – and I was once again on the exhausting social network treadmill.
On the desktop, it’s very easy for distractions to take over. It starts innocently enough. You’re stuck in the middle of a project, and you decide to take a peek at Facebook. Two hours later, you’re still on Facebook – with no further progress on your task. For me, social network addiction takes a great deal of effort to control.
So it was a matter of fortunate happenstance that I came across Matt Gemmell’s recent blog post Working in the Shed. Reading it, I started to reflect even more.
I needed a solution.
I didn’t want an all-or-nothing approach, where I eliminate the Internet entirely from my computing habits. Many of my tasks (synching files and folders on Evernote, Wunderlist, DropBox and Copy, respectively) require an Internet connection – and not having one would push back my productivity. And Mac OS X’s parental controls are easy to circumvent when temptation beckons.
Matt’s article pointed out two apps (Freedom and Anti-Social) that work together to keep distractions at bay. I plan on extensively testing both apps during their 90 day evaluation period. I’ll still be on Twitter, Facebook, and the like – but I want a more controlled approach so I can better use my time.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on the subject.
As you know, yesterday I stepped away from the world of social media for 24 hours. For the entire day of Thursday, I resisted all temptations to check my Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, G+, and Instagram feeds.
And, you know what? It felt great.
Actually, the word I’d like to use is refreshing. Without the constant waterhose of status updates from Facebook and Twitter, I felt much more in control of my day. I could focus on my work. I had solitude. I had clarity in my thoughts.
Letting go of such staples like Facebook and Twitter wasn’t easy, though.
There were several times throughout the morning where I wanted to share a tweet or a process update, but I resisted the urge. Not posting constant updates of my art process on Instagram allowed me to slow down and really focus my attention and time on the work itself. I felt, for the first time in a LONG time, that I was creating a piece of art for myself, not for someone else’s vapid consumption.
To sum up, yesterday allowed me to see the benefit of being away from social networks. There was more ‘signal’ (focus) and less ‘noise’ (distractions). As a result, I felt more relaxed. I felt less pressure. I felt more in control of how I spent my day. And I accomplished more in the process.
Does this mean I’ll abandon all social networks for good? No. Part of being a cartoonist requires that I spend time on social networks to engage with others and to promote my work. I’ll still continue to do that. But my presence on networks like Facebook and Twitter will be limited from here on out. If that means more carefully thought out art and well-crafted blog posts, then it’s a win-win in my books.