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Managing My Screen Time

Carving out computer time for Mama is always a juggle and takes ingenuity.  Prior to Bass’ birth the bulk of my computer time was mostly  early morning before the family arose.  After his birth this time no longer worked, and a ‘quick check’ at 7am leads to a later start.  We accomplish far more when we start lessons by 8am.  So I have been searching for a more natural time.  The afternoon was a time to trial but after we turned off the children’s screen, I wasn’t comfortable with using a time the children were forbidden, wanting to lead by example. I trialled night but find it conflicts with the time I wish to spend with PC; also the children use the computers then and are very excited and noisy.  Their noise is manageable for normal computer task but I find it difficult for head space in which to write deeper blog posts.

So when to boot up?  .I decided to be very intentional about computer usage and first write down just what  tasks I use the computer for and what is needed to meet these tasks efficiently:
Board Moderating/Participating
Blog Writing.                 
Writing posts means I need time to plan, write and polish.
Reading blogs.                
I read in google reader. Quick and efficient.
Commenting on blogs.  
Write comments immediately, or I never get back.
Learning Notes blog.      
Write Lesson Notes weekly on Learning blog, bulk on Thursday, finalise Friday.
Education Research, Printing etc
Read emails
Answer emails                
Really strive to reply within 2 days or the task becomes huge.

Simply by writing it down I was able to ascertain how much time was to be allocated to each task. I then broke my daily computer time into two separate sessions.  With a clearer plan I am striving to stay within my time parameters and am wasting less time already by being intentional. I still haven’t found ‘the correct time’ but afternoon/night appear to be the best choices.

I still need inspiration in how to plan my blog posting.  I’d love to hear from other bloggers as to how you manage your actual writing time most effectively?  Do you have a set plan on what to write on what days? How do you manage when you know what you want to write about but struggle with how to say it? Any tips to share?

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7 Comments

  • Dawn Farias

    I am having this exact struggle right now. I used to get on early in the morning as that's when I'm feeling the most creative but as you've found out, it sets the wrong tone for the beginning of the day.

    Evenings are hard because I'm exhausted and no longer feel creative plus I want to be emotionally available to my husband.

    Afternoons seem to be the best choice only it's hard to be online then because the kids are all still awake and need me here and there.

    Some things I've done are cut my online commitments way down. I've pared my blog reader down by about 90%, I try hard not to add new blog feeds or FB and Twitter accounts to the ones I already follow. I am no longer on any bulletin boards/forums.

    In the end, I just don't accomplish as much online as I'd like. Not even a small fraction, actually! I have papers filled with blog post ideas, outlines and digital design inspirations but they just sit, unused.

    I am looking forward to reading other people's suggestions. I'd suggest staying up later but I can't personally do that without my personality suffering and becoming short-tempered.

  • Vicky

    I can really relate to this post!

    In my case, I felt that I was spending too much time on the computer, so I stepped back from the forum that I'd joined and I privatised my blog (the older boys wanted more privacy, too, so that was another incentive).

    I'm finding computer time more manageable, these days, and I feel freer now that I'm not writing for the public blogging world. I write only what I want to write and I only write when my head is so full that the words are flowing. Nowadays, I don't worry about producing good writing, because I'm writing just for me, so it's a lot quicker to write the posts.

    I often write when our youngest is asleep on my lap, after I've read to the other children. During busy times, I write in short 5 minute bursts, saving the drafts for when I have more time. (If you are disciplined, it may work to keep a laptop in the kitchen – but I sometimes find that this distracts me from the important things of our day.)

    My youngest is 20 months old, now, so I'm gradually getting more time but, when he was younger, we had to prioritise a lot and I would go for days without logging on. There always seemed to be more pressing demands on my time. But, things change and life becomes more creative, again.

    Ooops! I'm spending too much time blogging, again – must be time for a read aloud!:D

  • Michelle Downunder

    Erin,
    I find that having a personal journal (real life paper) can help for blogging. I can write a few notes in that during a quite time or other time and then using the Writing Institute idea of highlighting key words I can then write a post quite quickly.
    I also don't feel bad if I don't post. I wait for inspiration. If I don't post for a month so be it. If I post every day a small post I'm ok with that as well.
    Finding time if I'm in the mood is easy, I can throw out all self discipline and find lots of time. My issue is when to turn it off. We have 5 computers.
    It's a constant struggle to keep it under control but I'll keep up the fight.
    Smiles
    Michelle

  • Leanne

    We struggle with Computer time as well. The biggest thing is that dermot has put all our music onto the computer network, now a computer is on when we want to play music. It can be a distraction. we have 3 computers.
    I think the main things I do is get all my jobs done and then i take 10 mins out to look at blogs emails etc. I do this a couple of times a day. I know its too much.
    When I write a post its normally in a word doc, and then copy it to my blog. that stops online time.
    thanks for sharing

  • alecat

    My computer is getting more attention this week than it has in a while. The reason is because I'm researching some ideas, then because I'm online, I'll just do a few other tasks … that can take up some time.

    But on days like today, when we're quiet and I have no pressures on me, I don't mind spending some time browsing around. It's very encouraging to know that there are lots of wonderful, inspiring ideas other share, and that you may like to share in return.

    Blog posts are now not my main focus, or forum posts. They're lovely social extras, when I have time. Just like having time to enjoy the company of a friend for a cup of tea … but I'd rather have the real friend visit!! 🙂

  • Erin

    Isn't it amazing, so many of us are struggling with this issue. I suppose it is all a matter of balance, and really maybe this has always been a human issue, finding balance, diff generations have had diff issues.

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