Sunday, March 4, 2012

Minimizing: my electronic 'diet'

Cartoon by Dave Walker
While reading through my Google Reader stream, I came upon a post by The Minimalist Mom which had a cartoon in it. The cartoon was apparently free to use for bloggers, so I followed the link to see more. I found the site of Dave Walker & a few more cartoons. There I got the idea two write this post.

For the last few months I've been trying to become a bit more productive in the use of my computer. A big part of that is gradually reducing my Facebook time. This is easier said than done because a lot of my family is on FB, not to mention all my friends, at least to some degree or another. I get news there, I ask for advice, I hear about events... but I also waste tons of time just surfing, reading useless information & plain old voyeurism.

Since I'm on my computer for several hours a day, every day of the week & FB is often open in a tab somewhere, it was difficult to estimate how much I was actually using the site. So when I found the app RescueTime (sorry, can't remember where) I downloaded it right away. RescueTime keeps track of what apps & sites I'm using & sends me a report at the end of the week to let me know how productive I was. I've customized it to categorize my use of OpenOffice & Blogger as productive writing time, for example. Adobe Reader is also in that category, as a lot of my course reading is PDFs of journal articles or eBooks. Using FB or Google Reader is in the not-so-good category. Getting a weekly report has helped me whittle down my FB time to under an hour a day. I suspect in some of my worst weeks, before I started my 'diet', I was probably on FB for at least double that much time.

Another way I've been pruning my less-than-productive screen time is by editing my Google Reader subscriptions. Just a few months ago, I was probably sifting through maybe 70 blogs, many of which  post daily. The topics ranged from politics to crafting to parenting to personal finance to fashion to home decor to environmental issues & more. But it was a huge time suck just to sift through all the posts, even though I wasn't reading every one. So I started deleting the subscriptions to the blogs I wasn't reading much.  I also cut out anything that was too focussed on product reviews, giveaways & basically just the whole business of making you want to buy more stuff. I don't really need a constant diet of beautiful photos of well-curated, spotless show homes or gorgeous, thin, young models in expensive clothing in my RSS feed to make me feel inadequate, thankyouverymuch. Then I got more ruthless & started deleting the blogs that were nice, but I wasn't really learning anything from. Now we're down to 45 subscriptions in total, about ten of which are friends (in real life) who rarely post. I look forward to seeing how this affects my productivity score in RescueTime in the coming weeks.

Have you ever gone on an electronic 'diet'? What did you try to reduce? How did you do it? What were your results?

1 comment:

  1. I have done this in a different way. I have stopped being on the computer in the evenings and find that my stress level is much reduced. I have been crocheting instead. I also use rescue time and it is quite helpful!


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