Friday, June 23, 2006

Time management on the internet: Five things I don't do anymore

In the past week, four people have asked me where I find the time to do all that I do on the internet. The questioners ranged from the faintly disapproving to the clearly awed. My answer is always the same: I don't watch television, so the couple of hours a day that most people spend watching TV "to relax," I'm playing around on the internet. Friends, this is my idea of fun and self-education. I use the internet. It does not use me.

Regular readers of No rules know I've been struggling with some health issues during the past few months. Nothing life-threatening, merely uncomfortable and inconvenient. (I had a migraine nearly every day for almost two months. Then when my resistance was down, I got hit hard with bronchitis--and that's still hanging on. The migraines are coming about once a week now, and they usually take my mind off the coughing and chest congestion and give me something fresh to complain about to my hunk o' burnin' love.)

Since I've been sick, I've pared down my internet activities. And because I often hear people complain about the internet (and e-mail, in particular) taking up too much of their time, I thought I would share five of my best timesaving tips:

Five things I don't do anymore

  • I don't check the spam folders in my mailboxes. Ever. It's just not worth reading two hundred offensive subject lines every day just to make sure I haven't missed an important message. If G-mail or AOL thinks a message is spam, that's good enough for me.

  • I don't feel that I have to answer e-mail messages the same day I receive them. Sometimes I peek to see what they're about, but if I don't have the time or the inclination to answer right away, I don't feel even a twinge of guilt.

  • I don't read every message that comes through the dozen or so e-mail loops and message boards I participate in. Quite often I'll glance at the subject line or even the sender's address and just delete the message unread. (Bonus tip: If you want people to read your stuff, put something meaningful in your subject lines, avoid inane chatter, and refrain from endless "ranting.")

  • I don't try to catch up on my blog-reading. If my Bloglines box gets too full, I do a mass delete. (I'm currently subscribed to 66 RSS feeds). Do I worry about missing something good? No. The blogisphere renews itself every day, and there will always be far more juicy posts out there than I have time to discover.

  • I don't blog about everything that's on my mind. When I link to an article and blog about it, don't expect an exhaustive post on every point I agree or disagree with. Most of the time I'll just blog about the first thing that hit me when I scanned the piece. (And if the piece is a long one, it's entirely likely that I didn't even read the whole thing.)

Hope this helps somebody.

Technorati Tags: , , ,


    Chaos-Jamie said...

    I hear ya on the TV. I get disapproving looks about the hour a night I spend on the computer, but hey, I'm not watching any tv this summer. I think I've "earned" at least that much. :-)

    Brenda Coulter said...

    I don't mean to disparage TV viewing. There are some very entertaining and educational shows on. I simply prefer to get my news, information, and entertainment from the internet.

    But you and I have to admit, Jamie, that we can't chop onions or iron shirts or pay bills when we're on the internet. The TV watchers are ahead of us there.

    Anonymous said...

    Hey, I'll admit that I'm a T.V. watcher. I like a good story. *shrug* But as for chopping onions or ironing shirts....well let's just say I have a mountain of laundry still waiting to be put away. It's been over a week. :-)

    Audra said...

    Thanks for the tips which I can definitely use and since we cut the cable and can't get anything w/o it, I should be able to be more productive.

    GeorgianaD said...

    Great tips, thanks. I've stopped reading every single message that comes through as well. Sometimes I still think I might be missing something. I guess that might take a while to get over.

    Camy Tang said...

    Great tips, Brenda! I was wondering how you found time for all your internet reading. Now I know. And now I also wonder why I bother to feel bad when I'm behind on my blog reading! Sheesh. I'm pathetic.

    Hey, have the technorati tags been good for you? I've actually got a slight jump in my average stats, although I'm not positive it's from the tags.


    Brenda Coulter said...

    Thanks for commenting, everyone. It's always gratifying to see proof that people actually read my posts.

    Camy, I get other traffic from Technorati, but my referrer logs show almost no visits from people who have searched for the tags I've embedded in my posts. It seems that most people are still entering search words on Technorati's home page instead of heading to the Tag page. I do that myself--why go through an extra step on a simple search? I do get good traffic from the blog tags, which I've been using since last year. But the post tags, no.

    Every post tag is a link to Technorati, which is why they're so thrilled about 'em. But I really don't believe the post tags are getting me any traffic at all. Still, it was easy enough to add the tag code to my Blogger post template, and now I just fill in the words as I go.

    I don't think post tags are good for anything but organizing posts. Technorati's new "baseball card" page shows the tags in a cloud, which can be helpful once you've tagged a lot of posts.

    Dee said...

    I agree with all that you have discovered. I also tell my friends and family to call instead of email, else they stand the chance of the massive delete:)