Facebookers Anonymous

I got a Facebook account back in 2006, when I was going into college. That’s about 300 internet years ago. Back then, facebook was only for college students.

Fast forward to now, when there is an actual “National De-friend Day” and people have to go on Facebook fasts. Tweens are online at every minute, and so are middle-aged businessmen. People have been reduced to what they like, what they say, where they are, and what they are doing.

I am an internet-aholic. I am completely dependent on Google when I have a question about anything. I shop online before I go into stores. I can’t watch a movie without looking at what IMDB has to say about it. All of my friendships and interpersonal relationships are founded on facebook.

Now, facebook is a glorious thing. It helps me connect with people I wouldn’t normally get to talk to. It keeps me in contact with friends across the country as well as make new acquaintances when I move (both are especially important in a military family).

But being a stay-at-home mom, I can be on the internet 24/7. Being a work-from-home designer and writer, I do 99% of my work on the computer. And when my Marine is gone, you bet your fanny I don’t want to miss an opportunity to chat with him.

Not only do I usually have at least one browser open at all times, but I also tend to average about 7 tabs at a time. When I am browsing, shopping, or investigating something, I have as many as 50 tabs open (or as many as I can fit in one browser window at a time).

I don’t have to say how much I love the internet.

Usually it’s not a really huge problem, because I try to put family above online time. I feel terrible thinking about the times I have spent checking facebook or twitter or my email when I should have been paying attention to my family or my friends, even if we weren’t really doing anything.

In some ways, I have been disciplined. I have avoided getting online when things need to get done, I hide my computer or silence my phone when others are around. But the past week, I don’t even want to think about how many hours I have spent doing nothing but refreshing my newsfeed on facebook or my email inbox.

And I think that I don’t have time to clean or prepare healthy meals for myself.

It has come to my attention that my priorities are still out of order.

First is my family. (This is one of the reasons I am online—to keep in contact with my husband while he is away). I don’t usually have a problem putting everything aside when LT or Champ  need me.

Second is others, third is self.

That sounds good. Until I realize that “Others” is actually too broad a category, and it was leading me to justify reading and commenting on random people’s facebook pages rather than doing chores and even eating, both of which I had classified under the “self” category.

Allow me to just get to the point.

Here’s what I need to do:

  • I have to get myself into a real schedule, one that works with and around Champ’s schedule.
  • I need to eat at least 3 actual meals each day. Neither Chex-mix, nor pop-tarts, nor M&Ms are meals.
  • I need to do housework every day, rather than having hours worth of catching up and hiding things before guests arrive.
  • I need to stop doing nothing online.
  • I need to still be online so I don’t miss an opportunity to talk to my one-and-only.
  • And I still need Facebook access because I am the coordinator for various Officer’s Wives’ activities.

Here are some things I have done and am going to try out:

  • I made up a list of chores and divided them into 6 days of work, including 2 days of laundry. Each day, except Sunday, I have to clean one room. Otherwise I fail at that day. (Sometimes I must resort to using melodramatic scare tactics on myself)
  • I made a list of things I need to do every single day, and put them into a schedule. (Breakfast, chores / work out, lunch, work, break and snack, work, dinner, dishes, putting J to bed, relaxing/reading time, going to bed)
  • I started hosting Writer’s Group at my house, and will soon start hosting two Bible studies at my house. VISITORS=NEED TO CLEAN. (I also threaten myself with embarrassment.)
  • I am changing my priorities to the following: Husband and son, Local friends, chores, self, faraway family and friends, local acquaintances, faraway acquaintances. (In a perfect world, I’d delete most of the “faraway acquaintances” from my facebook, and get rid of them all together! But I am too nice. And I can’t say “no” to friend requests.)
  • I removed my shortcut to facebook and unchecked the “remember me” box, so I have to log in with my obnoxiously-long password before I can get on. Hopefully that will limit browsing time.
  • I added Push notifications to my phone, so I get an alert (similar to a text message) if somebody contacts me via facebook or email. This will keep me from checking facebook and my email a thousand times a day (which is when I get distracted and start browsing).
  • I told LT to email me if he is online, so I am not always checking to see if he is so.
  • I added Pandora to my start-up tabs, so if I open up a browser, lively music will begin to play, reminding me to do chores AND motivating me to do them.
  • If all this fails, I have a timer I can plug my wireless router into, so I cannot get online during certain times of the day. This is a last resort, because it could mean missing LT. It would also mean that I couldn’t get some of my work done, not to mention play Pandora, which would be very sad, indeed. (Just kidding, I have great music. I just forget to turn it on.)

I’ll let you know how it works. I will still blog (I am considering it as “work.” It will be my break from designing, and I do think of it as a sort of responsibility), and I will still probably browse facebook daily, but only during one or two small allotments of time, probably in the middle or at the end of the day, rather than browsing all day long.

Are you distracted by social media? Are you dependent on the internet? How many people are you “friends” with on facebook that are really just a waste of real friend space? How do you motivate yourself to do chores? Vent and give wisdom below.

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4 thoughts on “Facebookers Anonymous

  1. I’m always online. But I still tend to do chores, most days. I need something to do while waiting for the laundry to dry. However, I usually don’t have 50 tabs open. ;) It looks like you have a great sense of priorities. Trying out different takes on the situation is a good idea. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right balance.

  2. Good for you! I am home from school (sick) and I feel like I have spent the whole 5 hours I’ve been up online (not true… I folded laundry, tried not to listen in on the arguing/fighting couple outside our apartment, and worked out too, once I felt better :) I can imagine being home every day would give so much more temptation! Thankfully Jamie and I share a computer, so on regular days neither of us are online that much (when I say “that much” I have to think about what our priorities are… scary!). Anyway, good luck with your new plan!

  3. Sounds like quite a good plan…just don’t beat yourself up too bad when you stray away from it…there is always tomorrow to pick yourself up and start again ;-)….I do find that having a schedule and sticking with it has helped me a lot….and I often will not allow myself to turn on the computer or tv until a certain time of day because I know that as soon as I do that even for just a few minutes….suddenly time is lost and not to be regained! flylady.org is also very helpful with organizing chores and cleaning…although she does communicate through email and such so there is that…again. Think about you guys often! From what I see you are rocking it!

  4. This = a healthy response to what can be a very big asset, or very big liability.

    Thanks for sharing this! I can relate!

    I had the same problem with staying online (sometimes writing papers, but sometimes noodling online) putting off sleep. (It never makes sense when I say that–why would I put off sleep???) So, I set the automatic setting on my mac to shut down the computer at a certain time at night. While it doesn’t outright shut everything down at that moment, a window pops up that says it will shut down automatically in 10 minutes. I decided that if there is something legit I’m doing (i.e. paper due tomorrow) I simply remain online. More fun, however, is when I give myself a personal “ten-minute-warning” and do all that I can finish within that time frame.

    The result:
    Increased 10-minute productivity.
    The more important result:
    The computer is off at a time that makes sense. Sleep. Increased health.

    If you’re anything like me, (and I know I am), that’s a golden solution to what can be a problem.

    Cheers,
    >Brian

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