It must be the seasonal change, regardless hemisphere. It seems lots of bloggers are evaluating how much time they spend on the internet and making proactive decisions to be more efficient with their time. I've been doing the same. This past week I finally cancelled my satellite television subscription. I realized that the few televisions shows I watch are few and far between and are always repeats of episodes that originally aired two or more years ago. For far less than what I paid a month for my subscription, I was able to purchase two complete seasons of used DVDs for programs I watch on occasion.
I've started to view television as a one way conversation: programmers provide the conversation and I can either listen or ignore what they're saying. I don't have any input, but now I've eliminated that monologue. The internet, however, is a two way dialog in which I can be a participant. I love the internet as it's a wonderful tool to keep in touch with friends, family, and like-minded people and it's like having the Library of Congress in your house. The problem is, I sometimes have too many choices. That's where the problems begin. Right now, I have over 250 blogs listed in my Google Reader, I belong to a number of Yahoo Groups, and I have Facebook friends that I don't really know. Keeping up in just these areas requires lots of time that I'm no longer willing to sacrifice.
Today I'm going to start some virtual editing. Here are some of the steps I'm going to take:
Facebook - I really shouldn't have more than 50 "friends." More than that and I find it distracting and time consuming to wade through the discussions, announcements, and trivia. As an introvert, I really find it too overwhelming. So, I'm going to "hide" a large number of friends. Not that I don't care about those individuals, it's just that my plate is too full.
Blogs - I'm going to edit my list in Google Reader to about 50, then I'll monitor those 50 to see which ones really speak to me and will probably reduce the number again.
Email - It seems that my inbox is often full of advertisements and newsletters that I somehow subscribed to over time. I end up wading through those bothersome emails to get to the ones I really need or want to read. So, I'm going to start unsubscribing to all those unnecessary emails.
Yahoo Groups - Again, I'm a member of too many. I don't always read or participate in those groups, but I know they're there and I find it distracting. I'm going to cancel my memberships to all but a handful of those groups that I find truly engaging.
Searches - Doing Google searches can be a huge waste of my time. I'm going to start making a list of things I really want or need to know, then sit down and do only those searches. I'm going to try hard to resist going down the rabbit hole of endless information.
Some readers might think these are drastic steps and maybe they are for some individuals. As for me, I think it's just what I need to keep sane.
I'm curious: what are your internet time wasters and are you going to do anything about them?