Friday, December 6, 2013

Take The Test. Show Your Work.

Lately, I've been really thinking on my priorities.  I do this a lot.  I've talked about it a lot, I write in my journal about it a lot--

I'm constantly deciding, redefining, and contemplating on what's really important and if I'm using my time well.  That's just me.  It's part of my mental situation.

I've talked about this before.  I'm beating a dead horse.  Forgive me for that.
I've also blogged about my efforts to cut down on my interwebs time.  To make a long story short, (too late),
not many years ago, I was a mom with really young kids, and I was lonely, and I lived in other states and didn't know anyone, had no car, and the hubs worked insane hours.  So I was bored.  I didn't have a house I owned to decorate-- I was just wiping noses and bums and making mac and cheese and sweeping and playing megablocks and coloring and reading books and that was my day.

And my "me" time was to sneak away from my toddlers and check my email.  And then I was checking blogs.  Or reading news articles.  And then it was facebook or whatever else was an escape. 
And pretty soon I was an internet addict.  Seriously peeps, this is a real thing.  Maybe you're an addict and you know it, (or you don't know it until you take this test) and I'm 100% positive you'll know plenty of people around you who are addicted. 
Let's find out, shall we?  Yes, lets.
(FYI: this test is on a 1-5 scale, 1 being rarely and 5 being often.  Take the entire test here.  I'm just choosing a few out of the 20 questions to make my point and not be redundant.)
Internet Addiction Test (excerpts)
1. How often do you find that you stay on-line longer than you intended?
(I dare someone to not answer "often" to that question)
2. How often do you neglect household chores to spend more time on-line?
5. How often do others in your life complain to you about the amount of time you spend on-line?
(Kids used to.  Check.  Double check.)
7. How often do you check your e-mail before something else that you need to do?
(Triple check.)
8. How often does your job performance or productivity suffer because of the Internet?
11. How often do you find yourself anticipating when you will go on-line again?
(This is me no longer.  But used to be big time.)
13. How often do you snap, yell, or act annoyed if someone bothers you while you are on-line?
14. How often do you lose sleep due to late-night log-ins?
15. How often do you feel preoccupied with the Internet when off-line, or fantasize about being on-line?
(I feel uncomfortable with the use of the word "fantasize".)
16. How often do you find yourself saying “just a few more minutes” when on-line?
(Um, hello-- everyone.)

17. How often do you try to cut down the amount of time you spend on-line and fail?
18. How often do you try to hide how long you’ve been on-line?
19. How often do you choose to spend more time on-line over going out with others?
And if this was my test?  And it's not?  I would add the question:
"Is the first thing you do when waking up is to check your email, facebook, or other social media site before doing anything else?"

Kay. So. How'd you do?  If you answered "often" to most of these, according to this test, you already have an internet addiction.

Hello.  My name is Mandi and I had an internet addiction.  And I still have a few problems that I'd like to work on.  (Check my email before anything else, read too many news articles. . . )

You don't need to hear all my thoughts on what should be a top priority in my life, but just know, that all summed up, it looks mostly like this:

Mandi's Priorities

1. God
2. Family
3. Everything else takes a back seat and who really cares 'cause it's a jumbled mess

Like I said, I still have a slight interwebs problem.  But I've made big strides.  I don't sneak away to check stuff-- my kids don't think I have my face glued to a screen half the day (whether it be computer, iPad, or smart phone), and my actual sit down at the computer time is now almost nonexistent.

But I have an iPad, so it's not like I don't get internet time.  Or Candy Crush time, for that matter.

Why am I even bringing this up?  I have a point here.  I think.

Despite my efforts to keep things simple, I am more busy now as a mom then I ever was with toddlers.  And I've been warned it only gets worse as they get older. 


No computer time makes my Pinterest time basically nil, I'm a bad email responder, and a terrible blogger.  And I have no idea how or where being a blog reader or a blogger fits in my life right now.  I feel confused.  Directionless.  You are Luke Skywalker, and you can feel the conflict within me.

If you are a healthy internet user and have found your own personal limits, what do you do?  How do you do it?  I'm apparently an all or nothing kind of gal.

So obvs,

my blog has always been important to me.  I like to write.  I like to take pictures.  I like to mould things and build crappy things.  I just don't know where it fits in, how often to actually sit at the computer and blog it out, and where to go from here.

Bear with me.  Please stand by.


Kali said...

Hi Mandi. I've never left a comment before, but today you posted a very thoughtful blog entry and I see you don't have any comments yet. I think it definitely needs a comment, so here's my two cents: you are a very talented writer. I love reading every post no matter what the topic is. I'm with you on being addicted to the Internet. I have a new baby (my first) and am now a stay at home mom. I rarely find myself without my iPad at hand and I tell myself it's only because I can't do much else with a baby in my arms, but it is getting harder and harder to stop browsing when I need to. So yes, let's cut back (especially when we're done with what we set out to do and just keep browsing anyway). BUT... You love to write, you love to take pictures, and you love doing your projects, and you're really talented. Everyone, even moms, need to do some things for themselves. And I believe that's what's key - yes, you have many followers who love reading your blog! But don't do it for us. You aren't obligated to write for any of us. Write because you want to, share your beautiful photos and projects, but don't feel that you have to meet some blog quota to keep everyone else happy. Although, I have to admit, as I'm writing this, I'm thinking, "I hope she doesn't wait toooooo long between posts!" But truly, you shouldn't be writing for everyone out here on the internet. Just do it for yourself when you want to, and share it with the rest of us just to be nice :-)

Jami said...

I had to stop blogging because it was sucking my life away. That whole "returning comments" things is very cordial, but I can't keep up with it. And honestly, it's fake. I starting blogging because I was breastfeeding and sitting down all day anyway, so I figured I could do something productive, but then it became the ONLY thing I got done all day. I think I would have been OK with that if I had made some money, but a few freebies here and there was not enough. Now I am trying to run an etsy store and once again, I am in this office chair waaay too much, but I am getting better at setting time limits and making myself a checklist for the day so that I can {hopefully} get something done besides sitting at the computer.

LD said...

I read your posts sometimes, not because I am a builder or lover of moulding, but because I like your writing.
This post resonated with me because I am struggling with how to find balance with my life and the internet. I became addicted after a move 5-years ago into a neighborhood where I do not fit in. I still don't fit in, but I have come to terms with it. Now I am trying to escape this addiction. I make a to-do list at night for the next day. Then each morning I tell myself to put first things first.
It is the worst feeling I know to look back at a day and see that I spent time reading news, comments on news, blogs, comments on blogs, recipes, comments on recipes, facebook posts, comments on the posts, etc. and not doing anything I feel proud of.
"Time flies on wings on lightening. We cannot call it back."

Cathy M~(checkitoff) said...

Mandi, you have always made me laugh through your blog. I halted much of my blogging because everything I did in real life, I evaluated whether or not I could use it on my blog. I miss blogging!!! Blogging helped get me through a tough transitional time in my life and I am grateful for that. It taught me a lot about other women and made me more confident as a stay at home mom. I have learned so much about my faith, cooking, house projects, books and decorating through reading others blogs. I have met 2 blog friends in real life and that has given me tremendous joy.

As far as whether or not you should blog, or the frequency...I think you will simply know what works for you and adjust accordingly! I have enjoyed instagram as a way to stay in touch with blog friends and it is less of a time drag.

You are one of my very favorite bloggers because you write with humor and authenticity.

As far as the internet addiction, I am with you there but found that in the summer I am much better as we have more limited wifi when we are at the lake. (Which I promptly replace with my water ski addiction!! HAHA).

You are an amazing mom and you will work through these issues, just as we all are doing. Thanks for keeping it real and entertaining! hugs, cathy

WhettenWild said...

Not telling the results of the test. LOL. Is it just me or does that internet sign look like it is from the 70's? Maybe hanging around Jack has rubbed off on me. He keeps asking me if everything is from the 70's. hahahaha

Eileen Murray said...

Hi Mandi,
You are one of only 3 blogs that I have in my favorites bar and I check for your posts every day. I loved your 30 days of moulding because I got to read your blog every day! I love your sense of humor, I think that's the main thing (although I love when you build's really inspiring)! So, I'll miss you if you stop blogging...I'll miss you if you even slow down! But of course, your other commenters are right..God and Family I hope you keep blogging, but I so get it if you don't!!

Layne Bushell said...

You are my favorite person on soooo many levels. You always, always articulate what I'm feeling. And you go ahead and make the change and I just sit and waste more time. I seriously need to take a page from your book and live it. You are one of my Heroes and I look up to you soooooo much.

Ps. Do what works for Mandi!

stephaniegiese said...

This speaks to me so much. I know I spend entirely too much time on the computer, but I'm also am at a point in my "blogging career" where I am starting to have some success and make decent money with it, so I look at it as a job and it is difficult not to fall into the "but I'm working" trap. One thing I try to do is to say yes to my kids as much as possible. So if they come to me and ask for a snack or if we can play hide and seek, I try to always make my answer be "yes" if I possibly can. But thank you for making me really examine my heart about this. It is definitely becoming an idol for me and I need to wor on that.

Leslie Woolf said...

So how about you consider us blog readers your extended family? Does that make it fall under category number 2? Kidding, kind of. I really feel like I've met sisters on the interwebs that build me up, and not just with crafty DIY info, but real life God, country, spouse, mothering, etc. inspiration. Love ya, lady.

james and bess said...

I totally agree with Layne - Do what works for Mandi. The internet's not going anywhere (fortunately? unfortunately?), but these children keep growing and changing - they never take a break! Believe me - I've asked them to stop and they totally said no. :)


fixitfaerie said...

I just read your blog today and went back to yesterdays regarding internet time. About 2 yrs ago I found that I was spending way too much time online. My kids are both in their 30's, no kids, one husband. I wasn't getting anything done, so I stopped picking up my computer and started to read again. Don't beat yourself up on this topic, it doesn't change anything, you just need to follow your priorities you have set above. You can do it. Take care and have a Merry Christmas. Blessings Paula

fixitfaerie said...

PS I like your blog, you crack me up, and do beautiful things for your home. P

Mary Beth Edwards said...

Hey Mandi - I LOVE your blog! I know it's probably sucking your life away, but it's hilarious! THANK YOU for making me smile every time!

I'm sitting here on a SATURDAY MORNING needing to get a pile of stuff done and this is what I'm doing! You're not alone!

Merry Christmas from a fan in Memphis, TN.
MB :-)

Mary Beth Edwards said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RachelK said...

The internet is absolutely addictive. I'm doing better (I only check favorite blogs every few weeks now, as evidenced by my delayed comment), but it can still be a struggle. It definitely takes willpower to shut it down sometimes. No words of wisdom from me. I'm not a mom, and I can't imagine all the things you have to juggle on a daily basis. But I pray that you find the balance that you need.

Pattie Moss said...

I look at blogging/internet/facebook as a GREAT solution to when I was your age with little ones and ONLY a T.V. I was lonely and felt isolated with my little ones. The only thing we had back then was the telephone and I still don't like talking on phones. My iphone is dead half the time. In my generation (in my 50s) women took doctor prescribed meds for depression. If only they'd had what you guys have to stimulate your BRAIN maybe some wouldn't have. I never did but I hated being stay at home mom and finally went out and found a part time job. So I look at it as a blessing. The other thing I learned just this year is when you write up your end of the year journal or Christmas letter or whatever and you list things you got done this year, if you don't have anything to show for the year but everybody getting older? Then maybe worry. But you can list DOZENS of projects you got done WITH LITTLE KIDS!!! That is MAJOR kUDOs to you girl. You are doing fine. And you keep peeps like us from feeling lonely sometimes just cuz we can log on to your fun partay. I log in first thing and end of days too and spend Tons of free time. As long as I can point out genealogy I've also done, church jobs, (regular job I have now teaching school)home fixups, trips, books read, etc. I'm okay. And we are all okay. It's a fun but USEFUL tool the internet is. Think of the money you are saving on shrinks or medications your neighbors are taking. :D Love, fellow blogger