Monday, November 6, 2017

The Benefits of Working Offline

Since starting a PhD I find there are never enough hours in the day to do my academic work, as well as the odd job around the house. Like just about everyone else on the planet, I have a problem and probably spend far too much time on my mobile phone. The invention of said device has all but eliminated boredom, whenever it creeps up on me the information of the world is at my fingertips. That’s all well and good, and there is a time and a place for everything, however; more often than not I am spending far too much time looking for pretty things I can’t afford on eBay. 

Last summer I made the executive decision of deleting any app with games off my phone, and treating it as a tool to either grow my social media following or something for work. So I’ve got Google Sheets to access our staff roster, on the off chance that I’m needed and thinks like Instagram, Pinterest, Shutterbot (a brilliant app which acts as a self-timer remote for a suite of DSLR cameras), Line Camera and a new app called Quality Time. It tracks how much time you spend on your phone, and what apps you’ve been using the most, which again is something I think everyone should learn to use if you feel like you have problems being present in most social situations. I can’t count the number of times within the last six months I’ve been ignoring my partner at the dinner table, because I’ve been too self-absorbed and focused on my bloody phone… but it’s not just the phone I’m struggling with. 

The Internet is a wonderful thing, however it too is fraught with distractions and to counter this, I’ve started using an app called Cold Turkey which physically blocks sites of your choosing for a given amount of time. I’ve only been able to bring myself to block sites for a few days at a time, but I think I would use it more extensively if I invested in the premium version. In premium, you can block sites but have windows where you can browse it, say in the morning or evenings. Even without premium, it’s been a pretty effective tool in my arsenal and saved me a lot of time but why has this started to weigh heavily on my mind? 

This obsession with time, making time, finding time or however else you want to phrase it has stemmed from two interviews. One with an American writer (whose name currently escapes me), who limits herself to only using a flip phone (and if you’ve never had a flip phone I can tell you first hand you can barely send a text message using the stupid thing) and also actively uses websites to limit what she can and can’t see. While it means she can’t really win a texting argument with her husband, she can get more shit done- which is something we all want to aspire to. The other interview has drawn some criticism, as is the case whenever you bring makeup and a woman’s appearance and social currency into things. The line that’s stuck with me is that if a woman spends an hour doing her makeup every morning, imagine what she could be doing with that hour. Men don’t have the same problem, although men are often praised for what they have to say, rather than how they look but that’s another kettle of fish. Whether you agree with the sentiment expressed or not, she does have a point: when you do one thing, you lose that time when you could be doing something else. If contouring and doing your brows is something that’s really important to you, then that’s great. But if you’re a writer and would rather spend that time honing your craft, then maybe that’s something that you should address. 

Basically, my goal at the moment is to act in alignment with my major career goals, and whenever I’ve acting outside those goals I have a bit of a mini meltdown, a lot of guilt but ultimately I am training myself to be a bit more disciplined. If you’ve got any time saving tips, or great apps which have helped you to change your behaviour for the better, let me know and leave a comment!

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