The 8am Club

The other evening I was at work, after everyone else had left, waiting for the laundry to finish. At times like those, I’m generally reading, or poking around the internet on my phone. This particular night I had followed some hazy internet path (a blog with a link here, a sidebar widget there…) and ended up watching this video on the “5am club”.

Now I normally don’t have much truck with motivational speakers, self-help books, and the like. But what this guy was saying was interesting, and I knew where he was coming from (part of the reason I don’t like those books… they’re all stuff I could figure out on my own if I thought about it for a few minutes). Basically, he recommends getting up at 5am and using that “magical” hour between 5am and 6am to prepare yourself for your day. Take that me time. Visualize… stuff. And stuff. I wasn’t so sure about that part, but the thought of that hour of thinking time/working on personal project time/quiet time sounded pretty cool.

Then I landed back in reality-land in the laundry room, because it was 10:30pm and I was still at work. And have you ever gotten home from work (at whatever time) and gone directly to bed and actually slept well? No? Didn’t really think so. I usually end up going to bed at 1am or later, and getting up at 9am makes me pat myself on the back. I need my 8+ hours, and I get home from work late, I’m not a slugabed. That’s just my schedule.

And yet, I can just imagine what I’d accomplish in that extra hour. It isn’t even about the “quiet time” before anyone else is up… I’m the only one here right now.

So, I’m trying something. I’m making myself my own “8am club”. It means going to bed a little earlier than normal. Not the worst thing in the world. I’m going to try to use that time for personal projects that get little attention during the day (I had that Etsy shop, remember that? Writing knitting patterns. Spreading the news about the podcast.)

It was about 5 days ago I watched that video. I definitely haven’t gotten up at 5am since then. I actually haven’t even managed 8am yet. I got out of bed at 830am this morning… because I knew a guy was coming to install my dishwasher at 9. So far, the biggest hurdle has been getting to bed before midnight (she says, typing this at 12:06am and not feeling the slightest bit tired). I think the next step might be telling myself I’m not allowed on the computer (or phone. or iPad) once I’m home from work. That’s not just a hurdle, that’s the high jump!

I’m also wondering, by doing that, am I just cutting one end off the blanket and sewing it to the other end? Giving myself “extra” “magical” computer time in the AM by taking it away in the PM? To be fair, I think I am more likely to make mistakes later at night.

Something to sleep on. Which I should do in the next few minutes if I have any hope of getting up at 8am!

Edited the next morning to add: Well, after posting this at quarter after midnight I got distracted by the internet. Then I went to bed and read my book for much too long. I went to be at almost 2am, and got up at 10:30am. So much for that idea! Maybe I can get my computer to automatically shut down at midnight?

New adventures

I haven’t posted here in a while, until today!

I’ve still been knitting, crafting and baking, and I’m not planning on deleting this blog or letting the domain lapse. I’ve just been having lots of fun recording a knitting podcast! I’ve been doing that for about 6 months now. You can find it over at knittinggo.com

Living with less

As I’ve been spending more time on other parts of my life (a lot of it work, for reasons that will become apparent) rather than blogging, I don’t think I’ve mentioned that my husband has gone back to school. In September he started the first of 3 years at university to earn his BFA. This means we’ve gone from living on two artist’s salaries (getting along fairly well, no debt, but we weren’t going to be buying a house any time soon) to my artist’s salary + temping as much as possible (not seriously worried about paying rent+bills+food, but not paying anything else, including school fees).

We’ve had a necessary lifestyle adjustment which is slowly getting easier. We were both lucky enough to have our first (in my case, only) rounds of post-secondary education paid for by amazing parents. This time, we’re on our own, and we have the line of credit to prove it. We did pay off the first semester before Christmas, but 2013 started out in the hole because I went on an almost month-long trip of a lifetime with my mum. He doesn’t begrudge me that, and I’m so happy I went, but we’re only just starting to dig out of the hole that that created.

Talking about our finances in front of the entire interwebs wasn’t the purpose of this post though. I’ve noticed, after almost 9 months of being married to a student (he did a training program this summer as well), that I feel like I need less, and not just in the ‘buying less’ sense. I’m looking critically at my closet/cabinets/bookcases and weeding things out. Pulling out the high heels that I wear twice a year that my feet need 2 weeks to recover from. Sure, I may try to find a consignment store to take the nicer things to, rather than just dumping it all at Value Village, but buying less has turned in to wanting (slightly) less.

It is also encouraging me to use what is already in the house. Rather have black beans in the chili we’re making? Well, we only have kidney beans, so deal. I’m almost out of my bottle of body wash. I prefer gel to soap, but we have soap in the cupboard, so when the bottle is gone, I’ll use bar soap. When the bar is used up, of course I’ll buy more gel, so really I’m just postponing that expense, but it helps. And someone might buy me another gift basket with a bar of soap in it between now and then, so I can save that $7 for another month.

Now if I can just train P out of his Tim Horton’s habit, I might be able to buy myself a skein of yarn for a treat.

Digital Clutter: Pinterest

Pinterest was supposed to make it easier to see things that we’ve bookmarked, a giant, uninterrupted digital pinboard so we can see everything at a glance. That only works when you categorize things well.

When I started this project I had almost 900 pins and 300+ likes. Now I’m at 859 pins and 21 likes. I’ve also pinned a lot more things since clearing out.

I didn’t want to end up with too many boards, because then you have the scrolling through of that list and trying to figure out what you put where. Everything I’ve pinned is divided up between 23 boards, none of which seem overwhelming. I’ve also tried to name the boards so there isn’t any easy overlap, taking out the guesswork of what to file things under.

I found, immersing myself in my pins for a few days, that I’d pinned the same images multiple different times, sometimes to the same board, sometimes to different ones. Those got deleted. So did projects I’ve completed. I created a new board for pinned recipes that I’ve actually made and liked.

I’ve been questioning the purpose of ‘likes’ vs. ‘pins’. Anyone have any light to shed on that? People’s likes don’t show up in my feed, just the pins, so it isn’t for sharing. I can’t categorize my likes, so it isn’t for ease of finding things. I decided to use ‘likes’ very sparingly, and spent most of my time either deleting them, or pinning them to appropriate boards. I’m also trying to have my Pinterest account be things that are useful to me. Pictures of pretty interiors or kitchens, recipes, craft projects, style I want to emulate, these are all useful to me. Quotes in fancy fonts? Not so useful. I do have a couple frivolous boards: “Book It” is where a lot of my ‘likes’ went – pretty bookcases, things made out of books; “Shelf of Geekery” is mostly captioned pictures of geeky things that make me smile; but both of these boards only have 30 pins.

Since organizing, I find myself actually using recipes I’ve pinned (I created a few boards for food, instead of one giant one: general food, desserts, slow-cooker food, food I’ve made, cute food that I don’t necessarily want to eat), and referencing style photos I’ve pinned because I want to be that girl. I have a peplum top I wanted to wear to work, but couldn’t figure out how to style it. Check out my board, why yes, I did pin a photo of a woman wearing a peplum top with pants, that must be ok! I don’t need to buy a pencil skirt! (Pencil skirts and I are not friends.) I’ve started knotting my belt. I feel cooler and more organized.

 

PS: My email inbox is now at 306!

Digital Clutter – The Email

In my digital clearout, I started with the email. After all, it was ‘Inbox 0’ that inspired me to give the whole thing a go. I started with 1800+ emails in my inbox. Currently, I’m down to 447.

Now, it isn’t that I don’t want to keep anything, I want to keep emails! It isn’t like P and I write each other physical love letters, there will never be a shoebox full of those. But there are sweet emails, and the nostalgic part of me wants to keep those – our generation’s version of a dusty box full of airmail envelopes. I didn’t delete those, but I moved them to an appropriate folder. All the emails mum sent me when we were planning our trip went into the ‘Burma’ folder. I’ve got 25 folders apart from Inbox/Sent/Deleted. So, some of those 1400 lost emails aren’t gone-gone, they’ve just been rehoused somewhere more appropriate. That’s fine, they’re off of the page I see daily, I can reread them when I want to re-live those moments.

I did really delete a lot though. I found the easiest thing to do first was to sort by sender, and scroll through to see who I still had big chunks of mail from. Banana Republic sales? Gone. Daily work schedules from all my past shows? Gone. Grouping by sender like that really helped me clear out the chaff in big sweeps. After a first go-through like that, I put it back to being sorted by date, and went through from the oldest emails. I didn’t do that all in one day, I’d do little bits at a time, sometimes even sitting down and scrolling to somewhere random and deleting/filing from there. Things from P are safe, so are most emails from my parents. I tended to delete the ones that were just a link and nothing else, and kept the ones where we were actually talking to each other. Sometimes though, figuring out the conversation isn’t easy. For some unknown reason, my mum never replies to an email, she writes a new one, which leads to emails along the lines of: “I love the second one, but the third link is a little too bright.” So some of those went as well.

There are some emails causing me grief though. There are ones where mum and I have been fighting (most of them in the months leading up to the wedding, fancy that). I don’t like reading them, they make me feel sad, and we’ve moved on. But, for some reason I don’t want to delete them. Although I try not to remember those times in my head, I for some reason don’t want to delete all evidence of them. Most of those I’ve put in the wedding folder, so whatever alien anthropologist unearths and decodes my computer hundreds of years from now will understand how stressful primitive human weddings could be.

Even though I’m at 447 now, and not 0, I feel good. Every time I sit down to check my email (which I’m also trying to do less) I scroll down and delete/move a few. I try to get to a round number each time. I also don’t want to add hundreds of folders, I’m trying to keep them general enough that lots of things can go in one. For instance, there is just the one folder relating to the wedding, although the ‘Travel’ folder has subfolders for different trips. Those are other emails I deleted, flight notifications for flights I’ve already gone on. I don’t need a record of every flight I’ve ever taken to visit my parents!

I also found that I’d kept every email Etsy had ever sent to me from my store, which I’m currently taking a break from. Each time something sold, I’d get a notification from Etsy, and one from Paypal. I can also look up my entire history on both of those websites. If all that history is there once I sign in, why do I need to keep the emails? For now they’re in an ‘Etsy – Selling’ folder, but I’m starting to think that I can completely can that one. The shop has also been closed for a few months , so none of them are terribly recent. Maybe if I started up again, I could keep the Etsy notification only, and only until I knew it had arrived. But when I think hard about it, even that seems unnecessary.

So, so far, Operation: Email Clear-out is going quite well, even if those last 400 are the hardest to get through.

Digital Clutter

So apparently another Alt Summit happened. I stopped following them a while ago, when I realized I didn’t want my blog to be a brand or a business, but just me. I only noticed because there were all sorts of new info graphics on Pinterest the other day. While scrolling quickly through all the Pins I’d missed (have I mentioned I was on vacation and mostly internetless for most of January?) one thing jumped out at me.

That one thing was the concept of ‘Inbox 0’, and the phrase really resonated with me. Apparently Inbox 0 is a whole movement, there’s websites devoted to it, steps to take, processes to implement… that’s about where I stopped reading. Does it sound like I don’t read anything through to the end any more? Because that’s certainly how I feel, and after having the phase ‘Inbox 0’ bounce through my cranium for a while, I feel like I have an idea of why.

I don’t have a work email*, just my personal email. My personal email has 1800+ emails in the inbox (not to mention the 400+ that I arrived back home to after 3 weeks away). These aren’t 1800 unread emails, I can’t stand to see that little red number staring at me. They’re all there because I rarely do anything with emails after I’ve read them. That’s a lot of clutter, most of it useless.

Then I thought about Pinterest, and looked at my numbers 880+ pins, 330 likes. I had no idea I’d pinned that much, but that explains not being able to find things when I looked for them again… and wasn’t that the point of Pinterest?

I logged in to Ravelry and looked at my 12-page queue, and my favourites tab and wondered again what the difference is between the two.

And (confession time) I’ve been too scared to look in my bookmarks folder in Firefox. I don’t even know how many bookmarks I have.

This, all this, is clutter. Baggage. Why do I need an email copy of an Etsy receipt of something I bought 2 years ago? It arrived, I left feedback, I’ve been using it for 2 years. If I want to look up how much it cost or who I bought it from, I can log on to Etsy for that info. I don’t care what was on sale at Banana Republic in May of last year, why haven’t I deleted that? Why am I letting it clutter up my inbox, and make myself scroll past it and all its cousins the few times I ever do need to search for something old?

And so, slowly, I’m going through all these digital repositories and weeding ruthlessly. Or at least doing a gentle first pass to make myself feel good, and then going back and being ruthless.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to 0 in my inbox. And 0 certainly isn’t the point of Pinterest, but I don’t feel I need all 1200+ of my combined pins and likes. (How are pins and likes different? How should we use these two tools?)

Here is where I could put in a lovely designer quote-graphic-thing, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris. But I’m going to refrain, so it doesn’t get pinned and forgotten. Such a rule to live life by needs to be internalized, digested, not stuck through like a butterfly in a box. And I know dear Mr Morris couldn’t have imagined the digital clutter the world would gather, but I think it applies just as well to my inbox as to my kitchen cupboards.

As I go through all this, with no set goal time of ‘Inbox 0 by March 12 or bust!’, I’m going to keep writing here about it.

 

*Well, when I’m on contract, there’s a general one we the SM team use, but that’s just for 8 weeks at a time, and I’m not usually the one that does the most of the emailing. Besides the point.

Happy Olympics!

Olympic outfit!

Happy Olympics everyone! I am not a sports fan, maybe I’m even an anti-sports fan most of the time, but when the Olympics are on, I am glued to the TV. As much as I can be. I have to say, I’m working a little too much during these Olympics for my liking.

I chose my outfit carefully this morning, and pulled out that tiny old Union Jack purse of mine. Can I just take a moment to say how freeing it is to carry such a tiny purse around? Normally I have this giant bag, but today I felt so free and easy and light. I had my phone, my wallet, and my keys. That’s it. It was awesome.

Yes, those are little blue mice on my feet. They’re that jelly material, I bought them last year and had ever worn them out because they made farting sounds when I walked. Last week I finally got rid of that by taking my hole punch and punching a couple holes on the inner instep (right where your arch is) on each shoe. That gave the air somewhere to escape that wasn’t around my foot, and voila! No more fart-walking.

IMG_0749

Calgary had a ceremonial raising of a Union Jack outside City Hall this afternoon, to show solidarity with London, as we too are a former Olympic city. The Mayor and the British Consul General participated.

IMG_0750

I love the Olympics, I love Britain, I’m very excited. Although, I’m afraid to say I’m not expecting anything as all-star amazing as the Vancouver Olympics were. We might be great at ice hockey, but that leaves no time to devote to field hockey (which I played for years in school, and mostly enjoyed). I’m looking forward to watching the rowing (something else I used to do) and the diving most I think.

IMG_0751

And yes, I did cast on a project today. More on that later.

Here and There

Where I grew up and where I live now are very different places. The flight is only an hour and a few minutes, although the drive is about 14 hours + ferry. As you fly you get to see some very different views in such a short time frame:

IMG_0634

Islands and ocean.

IMG_0635

Islands and ocean and clouds.

IMG_0636

Amazing mountains, I could have taken hundreds of pictures of all the different mountains.

IMG_0637

And, here. Flat, with the mountains off in the west. At least in this photo it looks flat and green, instead of flat and brown.

BC trip

I just got back from a bit of a last-minute trip to visit my parents out in BC. It ended up being a lot of fun, and I saw a lot of wildlife! Including these guys, that are always hanging out at the marina down the street from my parents:

IMG_0602

That one seal just wanted to show us his belly, he floated like that most of the time we were watching them. Until he was bored with that type of upside down, and tried out this direction:

IMG_0604

I also saw a lot of deer, although not in my parents’ garden like usual. This year they’re fenced up like Fort Knox with deer fencing, and dad has a stick by the back door for if one manages to get in and he has to chase it. Yes, deer are cute, but they eat all the plants that they’ve worked so hard to grow, or just spent a bunch of money on at the nursery. Thus, the entire perimeter is fenced now, the hedges have a layer of black plastic fencing, and most of it is higher than my head, because deer can jump. The garden also ended up very stinky one day after dad sprayed some deer repellant around. It was definitely a repulsive smell, so I’m going to assume it will work!

There was a baby bunny in the back yard too, but he also got chased off.

Tom Jones at the Jubilee!

I was a little worried watching the news the past couple days. They were reporting about the Queen’s Jubilee concert, and all the newscasters kept going on and on about Sirs Elton John and Paul McCartney. They’re all well and good, but if you’re talking about classic British acts, shouldn’t THE Voice, THE Welshman, THE Tom Jones be there? Turns out, I needn’t have worried.

Whenever people my age, or any other age, ask why I like Tom Jones so much, I tell them I love his voice. Then I find the most recent YouTube video I can, and ask them if they think that when Britney Spears/Lady Gaga/Justin Beiber/whoever they prefer is 72 (well, 72 on Thursday) will they still be singing like he is? Could they ever sing like he does to begin with? I say no.

Perfecting the Blog Layout

As mentioned a couple weeks ago in my category vs tag post, I’ve been tweaking the blog layout. The first step was more than just a tweak, I changed the whole theme. I used to use Paper 1.0, which made the blog look like this:

oldbloglayout

I used this theme for quite a while – I loved the bulldog clip and the scribbly, sketchy lines. I also loved the Etsy favourites widget that came built in in the top corner. When I was selling stuff, it was full of my items, but more recently it was my favourites.

Now my blog looks like this:

headerphotocoloraffection

But also like this:

headerphotopaperflowers

This:

headerphotoyellow

This:

headerphotosocks

And this:

headerphotoshawl

The new theme I’m using, WordPress Twenty Eleven, lets you have a rotating header image. Every time you click around on the blog somewhere and have to re-load the header, 1 of these 5 photos pops up! It took a lot of restraint not to add 20, and I’m still second-guessing some of my choices. I think I may delete the yellow one… but I do love the texture of up-close-and-personal knitting photos. What would you do? Do I need a baking photo in that mix?

Another cool thing about Twenty Eleven is that is supports multiple post formats. I’m still not sure yet what most of them do, but I am using the ‘Image’ format in addition to the standard one. Posts like this one are Standard. An Image post looks like this one, although there is much more difference if you are on the main page of the blog and scroll by an image post. The date, category, and tags are in a big block at the bottom of the photo, like a caption. Image posts are just one image, no words, so if you just used those on your WordPress blog, it would end up looking a lot like Tumblr. I’m enjoying using them to share a random Hipstamatic photo on days when I don’t have a post go up.

I’m also trying to see if I can post 3 times a week, then fill in other days as I feel like it with Image posts. I don’t want to force the blog though – I don’t want to write something meaningless just to get to my self-imposed quota. So far it’s looking good though, as long as I keep myself a few weeks ahead. I use a calendar plugin that lets me see scheduled posts in a calendar format, and drag posts around to re-arrange. That way it is easy to see if I’ve got 3 posts in a given week, and shuffle them around if one week have 3 food posts and others have none. I try to work on posts at least a week before they’re scheduled, I find that’s the easiest way for me to post consistently. I’m also very careful to never have more than one post go up per day. I hate that, in most cases (communal blogs like Weddingbee are an exception).

This Twenty Eleven theme is all sorts of customizable, and it makes it easy for non-coders like me to access most of it, which is great. It’s a nice, sleek, plain change. Although I think I’ll have to put the Etsy widget back, I did love it so.

What do you think of the new look?

FitBit Living

For my birthday last month, one of the things on the list was a FitBit (along with a purse, yarn, and fibre). P chose to get me a FitBit, and also one for himself so we could have a little bit of friendly competition. The crazy thing about that is that for her birthday (the day after me) my mum asked my dad to get her a FitBit. We’d never talked about them to each other!

The FitBit website is here, but basically it is a pedometer on steroids – it tells you how many steps you’ve taken, how many miles you’ve walked, how many flights of stairs (10′) you’ve gone up, calories burned, etc.

Wearing it for the last month has been a lot of fun. It’s reaffirmed what I thought I knew about our jobs – we’re fairly active. I don’t have a problem getting to 10,000 steps per day on a day that I work, and P does at least 15 flights of stairs a day (he works a few stories below ground at a place with a slow elevator). I usually beat him on steps, he always beats me on stairs. The days he’s up and down a ladder constantly are fun to look at on the graphs. Here is a graph of mine from a day when we went to see a movie, then I went to work after:

fitbitmay112012

You can see where I got up, then sat and ate/checked emails. Then we went to the mall and wandered for a bit before the movie. Wandered the mall a bit after the movie, then home to sit and eat dinner while watching the news. Then to work, where I walked the majority of my steps, then home! That day I walked 12,956 steps. Had I looked at the FitBit before I went to bed, I probably would have walked in circles around the bedroom just to get it over 13,000, but I like round numbers. I traveled 5.3 miles and burned 1992 calories.

FitBit has a food tracker where you can put in what you eat, then it will graph calories in vs calories out. I was pretty good about entering food for the first few weeks, but I’ve fallen off that wagon a bit. I still wear the FitBit every day, because it is a real motivator to see if I can get in a few more steps or sets of stairs. It has also helped me realize exactly how sedentary I am on my days off.

aprilmaymonthgraph

That Monday the 23rd is only so high because mum was out visiting and we walked all over two malls. Otherwise my only steps are between my computer desk, the kitchen, and the couch. Sadly for my body, all my hobbies (knitting, baking, blogging) are fairly sedentary. I alternate between feeling terribly guilty and like I deserve it after all the walking I do at work.

You can wear the FitBit on a soft armband in bed at night and it tracks how many times you wake up. I’ve basically stopped doing that, as I’ve always known I sleep like a brick, and the FitBit didn’t really have anything different to say. ‘You woke up 0 times last night. 100% sleep efficiency!’

I am really interested in comparing my activity level on different shows. This current show isn’t a crazy one to run – most of that activity is wandering back and forth refilling water jugs. But I’ve done other shows where I am running to make all my cues, sometimes steady for 2 hours. Then of course, I haven’t worn the FitBit in a rehearsal setting either, which is a totally different work environment. That’s more sitting, punctuated with getting up and running around.

Have you ever tried counting your daily steps? Should I try to be more active on Mondays?

Category vs tag – how do knitters do it?

I’ve been tweaking the blog layout lately, and now I want to sort out the whole category vs tag thing. I started this blog on a platform that doesn’t exist any more (I think, I honestly can’t remember what it was), then migrated to Blogger, then here to WordPress. Between those two moves, and the fact that once upon a time WordPress didn’t have tags, just categories, I’ve got a big category list.

If you look at the drop-down over on the left, you can see exactly how many I have! I want to streamline, because with tags, I don’t need a category for every knitting project. Now instead of ‘Dollar and a Half’ being a sub-category of ‘Sweaters’, I can just tag it ‘dollar and a half’.

I’m undecided on if I should just have a giant ‘KNITTING’ category, or have ‘Knitting’ as the parent, and the children be sweaters, socks, shawls, mitts etc. Thoughts? I also realize that this whole debate could be moot, due to the popularity of Ravelry, but I still want to have my kniting on this blog. I like writing here better than mashing everything together in the project description.

The other categories are doing fairly well already, I’ve got ‘Baking and Other Food‘ for all kitchen-related things, ‘Wedding‘, ‘Etsy‘, ‘Fashion‘, ‘My Home‘, ‘Papercrafts‘… those all make sense and don’t have 500 child-categories.

It’s going to take a while to go through and edit everything so it’s pretty, but it is something I really want to get done. I also want to categorize the 100+ posts in the ‘uncategorized’ category.

This post doesn’t fit anything I currently have as a category, and I’m loathe to add a new one, so I’ve filed it under ‘life’.

How many categories does your blog have? How many is too many? What do you do with category vs tag?

Mental Blocks

I waste time on the internet. There, I said it. I waste a lot of time on the internet. I can look up and two hours might have gone by, and what do I have to show for it?47 new pins, and a few funny songs running through my head. It bothers me, but I still do it, it’s hard not to! Even though there are so many other things I want to do, I waste hours on the computer every day.

I’m not talking about wasting an employer’s time – I don’t sit at a computer for my job, so it’s impossible for me to browse Facebook/You Tube/blogs on company time. I’m talking about wasting my precious time off from work. I will work from just 6pm-10pm each day for weeks at a time. This sounds awesome, I have the whole day to accomplish things. Important things. But all of a sudden it’s 4pm and I don’t even know what I’m going to make for dinner.

Today, I took back a little bit of control. I found an add-on for Firefox (are you using Firefox? I hope you are, it’s awesome) called ‘LeechBlock‘. It lets you designate groups of websites that you want to block yourself from. You can choose what days you can’t see things on, you can give yourself access only from 8pm-10pm, you can cut yourself off after 10 minutes in an hour…. The timing of the blocking is infinitely customizable like that. Currently, this is what I have set up:

Facebook, Twitter, Weddingbee – I’ve lumped these guys together and have set it up to block me after 10 minutes in every 2 hours. That’s not 10 minutes per website in the group, that’s 10 minutes for the group.

Pinterest is it’s own category, as that is an endless time-suck for me. Pinterest is at 10 minutes every 3 hours.

Ravelry, blessing and bane of knitters everywhere. I would get so much more knitted if I didn’t spend so much time on Ravelry! But because it’s a great community and I’ve joined some awesome active groups (Harry Potter House Cup FTW!) I’ve given myself 1 hour every day. Also, one of the things I want to accomplish with my new-found extra time is writing some knitting patterns, and Ravelry is then a work resource. (Seriously. Stop looking at me like that.)

The group I call Real Time Wasters!: Places I go when I don’t know what else I want to do. Go Fug Yourself, various fanfiction sites that I still haunt when I don’t know what else to read…. They get 15 minutes every week, and I’m hoping I don’t even use that much.

Given these limits, it’s still a fair amount of internet time I’m allowing myself. Say I have a day off. I’ve slept 10 hours, so of the 14 hours left in the day, I can spend 1 hour on Ravelry, 50 minutes on FB/Twitter/WB, and 30 minutes on Pinterest. That’s still 1 hour and 20 minutes in front of the screen. I don’t want to lose online friends and relationships, I just want to put more focus on to things I really want to do, the things I complain I don’t have time for.

What don’t I have time for? Well….

  • Blogging. I want to blog more. Some might say that if I want less ‘screen-time’ I should quit the blog. Nuh-uh. The blog is what I want to do more of! I also haven’t blocked Google Reader or any blogs I read. They’re fair game!
  • Knitting. I want to knit multiple pairs of socks in a year! Maybe even finish a pair in less than a month! I want a wardrobe of sweaters I’ve knit myself. And, you can’t knit and scroll at the same time.
  • Designing. I promised the world a Metroid Toque months ago, and I’m still not done. I have more design ideas in my head just waiting to get out, but haven’t taken the time to put pen to paper.
  • Reading. I used to read all the time. I was a bookworm. Now…. I haven’t finished a book I started on the last day of our honeymoon (March 10th). It’s two months later.
  • Studying. I applied to an online program and got in! More about that later, but it means I’ll have school reading to do, and essays to write. It hasn’t started yet, but the thought of not doing well because I got distracted by “Sir Ian McKellen” doing the theme from Ducktales (OK, you do have to watch that one, it’s hilarious. Just close YouTube once you’ve watched that one thing! You can do it!)

Not to mention cooking, baking, learning my camera, yoga, and (most importantly) spending time with my awesome husband.

Once you’ve installed LeechBlock you can also put a little countdown timer in your Firefox toolbar, so you can see exactly how much time you have left on whatever site you’re on. Apart from saving me from trawling old posts because I’m too lethargic to get out of my chair, it is making me value the time I do get to spend on those sites more than I did before.

I feel like this change also fits in with the two New Year’s Resolutions I gave myself. Even though the content I was reading was not in itself negative, the awful feeling of 3 hours “wasted” looking through post archives or Pinterest was pretty negative. And I felt like I was re-reading a lot of things too.

How much time do you think you waste on the internet? Are the rules I’ve set for myself too stringent, or too loose? Would you ever try LeechBlock or something similar?