Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessing in Disguise

by Pat Stoltey

Who knew the absence of an internet connection in my home for more than a week would turn out to be a blessing in disguise? We’re changing internet providers (which is a long story I told yesterday on my own blog). Seems like it should be simple in this age of technology. Old company turns your account off, new company flips a switch and off you go with new service. It hasn’t worked that way.

For now and probably for the rest of this week, I’m disconnected at home. If I want to post a blog or check my e-mail or visit Twitter and Facebook, I either travel to a coffee shop or the Northern Colorado Writers studio to use their wireless connections.

So why do I consider this apparent disaster a blessing? Because I have a laptop I can carry around town, and because I quickly figured out how to organize my tasks so I could do all my online chores in less than two hours a day:

At home--

1. I make a daily detailed list of what needs to be done while I’m online, including the individual tweets and Facebook updates needed for promotions.

2. Write multiple blog posts ahead of time in Word so I only need to copy and paste to Blogger, add the necessary links and pre-schedule.

3. Plan my trip(s) to the coffee shop or writers’ studio for times when there will be as few distractions as possible.

At the coffee shop—

1. I check e-mail and deal with important communications first, leaving newsletters and Yahoo! Groups until later. Note any items that need to be added to the next day’s To Do List.

2. Work through the day’s detailed list item by item, crossing them off as I go.

3. Pre-schedule new blog posts.

4. Return to e-mail and scan digests and newsletters for important information and note in my calendar or list (or flag to deal with later).

5. Check Twitter and Facebook for personal communications that should be answered.

I don’t—

1. Waste time daily surfing the net or reading bunches of Facebook updates and/or tweets. I’ll set aside an hour a day to do this after my service is restored at home.

2. Spend much time visiting other blogs and leaving comments. Once I’m back online, I plan to set aside at least one hour a day for this important networking task.

My plan—

Is to continue restricting my online time after I my internet access is restored at home. I waste a lot of time online, time I need for writing, revisions, and submissions. If I close all my tabs and shut down the browser, it won’t be so easy to hop back on Twitter or check e-mail one more time.

Losing internet access for more than a week has been educational, to say the least. Hopefully, I’ll have established new and better work habits as a result.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - That's definitely one advantage of limited Internet access: it teaches one to use one's time wisely. I admire the way you're taking the good from this experiences.

Heidi Windmiller said...

I agree! I've been though a similar limited internet situation for different reasons. Mine lasted about six months. Since that time I'm not as frequent with posting, visiting blogs and returning emails. But that's okay--because my ms is getting shinier by the minute.

But that reminds me that I need to email you back. Which I will do this morning.

Elizabeth C. Main said...

You've spurred me to action. Good work. I recognize my bad habits all too well. Signing off now to get to my own lists, though I have full Internet access. Liz

Dean K Miller said...

Well that sounds too scary. I'm quivering just thinking about cutting my electronic ties....

Patricia Stoltey said...

Margot -- the big question is whether I'll be able to continue my new good habits once we're back online. Time will tell.

Hi Heidi -- no rush in e-mailing me back. As you can see, I'm operating with one hand tied behind my back.

Liz -- I've always been good at seeing what I'm doing wrong but not so good at doing something about it. This is my chance to fix it.

Dean -- That's the way I felt the first day. Luckily I was able to work it out.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

When I'm on the road, I'm happy to be unplugged!

Kay Theodoratus said...

As we say at our house, "where there is a whip, there's a way."

Glad you beat the time demon.br