I think I may need to declare a general Internet/connectedness/social-media bankruptcy née blackout née vacation for the next few months.
Which may seem odd, as I am already nigh-silent most of the time, but what you may not realize is that I am a lurker: I spend hours a day keeping up to date with emails, with social media, with news, technology, blogs, science, forums, et cetera. Then two or three times a week I add my own thoughts to the mix.
I just don’t think I can afford those hours, any more. In part I’m sure this is related to the 90 minutes a day, 3 to 5 days a week I’m exercising – but as long as I’m able to keep that up, I don’t want to give it up. Right now though, the looming thing seems to be work.
Tonight I sat down at my computer and lost hours and hours trying to catch back up with my inbox and with Google Reader. I mean, I watch my inbox, I see every mail come in as it comes in (usually on my iPhone or iPad, with a glance), and the few which require immediate attention get it… But there are hundreds more which, when I’m deeply involved in a project, just get skipped over, put off until later. I hadn’t realized it until tonight, but apparently last Wednesday when I got intensely involved in fleshing out an early/first prototype of the game I’m building, everything else just stopped. All those connectivity things, the keeping up with the world, plus things like cleaning or planning meals, their priority dropped and I didn’t even notice I wasn’t keeping up. Not until the brain fever subsided, anyway.
Now I’m facing a massive project. I “woke up” to find a dry-erase calendar (3’x4′) on the wall above my desk, filled in with 7+ months worth of (rough) plans for how to execute that project and meet my deadlines. Plus huge amounts of unread email, news items, blogs, and never-ending-scrolls of social media sites. Plus a messy house, and piles of laundry.
I’m thinking that if I make the intentional decision to cut out most of the Internet-time-suck stuff, to start treating Facebook and Google+ like I do Twitter (more like a river constantly rushing by, where the best you can do is see what’s rushing by now, this moment, than like a newspaper or newsletter you could actually expect to keep constantly up-to-date with and read cover-to-cover), to select a tiny subset of my feed subscriptions to actually follow, and to set up some aggressive rules in Mail (and go on yet another big unsubscription spree) to winnow out only the “real” mail, then for the time being, while I’m working on this massive project, at least, I mightn’t feel awful when I can’t keep up with the flood. When I can’t swallow the entire river.
This month might be the hardest, on my apparent/proposed calendar, partially due to NaNoWriMo-related constraints. I’ve got a little over two weeks to finish all my research (which feels barely begun / half-done) and do all the planning for the entire massive project. Which is massive, and I don’t want to tell you about until I have all that planning (and probably at least a month or two of work) done on it. Plus there’s the work of winnowing. Cutting back on connectedness.
There’s also the danger I won’t care to re-connect, on the other side.
I suppose it’s a way to measure the value these connections represent, to cut them off/back. If I go four or six months without, and am not diminished thereby, perhaps connectedness as implemented now is/was/will-have-been more vice than value. Facing my own inbox, my own unread subscriptions, I began having a sort of slow-burn, extended anxiety attack, tonight. I worked through it, I got caught up, but I’m unable to sleep right now because I’m still wound up by the experience. I imagined what it would be like if I actually committed myself so fully to the execution of this project that I failed to notice (or make pre-emotive decisions about the management of) such backing-up of information for several months, rather than mere days; it was a gruesome thought.
Ah, well, I suppose tomorrow I begin to fade away, a bit. Or dim the world, at least.
Call me, if you need anything.