Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Big Question: is my time schedule ruled by the new media?

Big question of June launched by Tony Karrer via the Learning Circuits Blog is: where is your time spend? or how to cope with all the time that goes into using new media for different purposes.

This question comes at a very crucial time as my time seemed to be slipping between my fingers the last couple of months.

But let me start with the past. I never was a fan of letting instruments control my life. I used to unplug my phone, sometimes for a couple of weeks (while I was home, it is easy if you are on holiday), throw away my television set (sometimes drastically), unplug any appliance that could possibly interrupt the peace of mind I wanted to have for a longer period of time.
Once I began to use a computer for communication purposes, I just copied the above and unplugged the computer from time to time. No worries. But in the last couple of years the communication channels have grown exponentially and this has put my time on the line.

Why I can no longer throw my computer out whenever I want to
Apart from the fact that a computer/laptop/mobile device costs more than a television set, I hesitate cutting myself off from my social media tools. Because social media is so social, I feel that I am casting away my connections if I do not keep up with them within a 'reasonable' amount of time. So I made a time schedule to keep my professional, family and learning time well balanced. I swiftly scan my feeds for interesting information, I stop roaming for knowledge after a set time (depending on the priority and deadlines), and I plan at the beginning of each week.
And to gain time: I skipped reading three news papers a day (I keep up with one, while pulling in feeds from others based on keywords), the television set is off most of the time (I do watch documentaries while commuting). I rearrange my feeds every couple of months, keeping them as relevant as possible.... and other such time saving things. I increasingly depend on my (old) mobile device as well, as it shrinks the information down to a minimum.
... well, a lot of things are mentioned by all the other commenters on the Big Question, so let me become more personal, because what happens if your time schedule is scrambled by an inexpected human factor?

Life sometimes interferes with your time
So why did this question come at a crucial time for me? Well, my close circle of friends and my partner are essential to me. In their company I do not look strange, my dynamic enthusiasm does not result in remarks to become more at ease, they do not mind that I skip between topics or that I sometimes glow because I have a (what I think) incredible idea. So yes, they are essential to me. Unfortunately/fortunately, this suddenly scrambled my 2.0-time schedule. The last couple of months my partner fell ill. So all of a sudden I needed to keep the household running (normally we really divide everything: cleaning, cooking, washing...). This meant that by the end of the day, I just could not open my computer to start blogging, chatting... I was exhausted and did not want to risk becoming ill as well. So I did what I used to do: throw my home computer out of the door to disable temptation in an attempt to keep myself sane.
But as I mentioned above, this feels a bit strange. I seem to loose out on things, I no longer have the time to read every tweet, feed ... even filtering information is downsized to an amazing minimal. So I feel a bit disconnected, as if one of my dear friends suddenly does not get the attention they deserve... yes, the machine is a human.

The reason I blog now is because I am abroad, knowing that my partner is eating cooked meals I prepared and freezed to ensure a good vitamin intake. But is it normal to be soo anxious if your regular online time is downsized by very human reasons?