As I peek back over my Attention Log journal for the week, one word comes to mind: distracting. The Internet and all of its wonderful offerings can really be a distraction, can’t they? Going back through my journal provides me with that insight. For example, what was meant to be a quick clearing of my email inbox turned into an online shopping spree that never should have happened (darn you, Vera Bradley sales). It’s true that the Internet can be a vacuum that sucks up all of its users’ time, but is that necessarily always a bad thing?
Reflecting back, I can see that I undoubtedly spend a lot of time on the Internet. I work at the Welcome Center of the college in my hometown and spend a lot of time with Admissions/Recruiting and Registration and Records. I have my own desktop and even bring my laptop with me to work. I use my computer at work to log information about students and do office duties. After work, I come home and log onto Sakai and my social media sites periodically throughout the evening. If it’s a designated homework night, I spend even more time shut in my room with just my computer and me. I also am habitually on my phone right before bed. So, I’m behind a screen all day long; this is something I already knew. However, what I didn’t know was how distracted my use of the Internet is.
(Image CC: Pixabay.com)
A great example of distraction happened one night when I was working on homework. I’m not going to lie; I sometimes have an issue forcing myself to get all of my work done in a timely manner, and Thursday night was no exception. As I worked on my homework, I continually found myself doing something that wasn’t actually homework. From Snapchats popping up during my TED Talk to blaring my Spotify radio and singing at the top of my lungs, I was never really 100% focused. Instead of focusing on finishing the homework I had laid out for me, I chose to belt out a little Adele (not very prettily, I might add). This caused my homework to take me way longer to complete than it should, which then caused me to become frustrated. I kept wondering why it was taking me so long to complete the assignments. What finally worked for me was turning off my music and turning my phone on silent facedown on my bed. In retrospect, I just really needed to unplug and focus completely on my schoolwork. Easier said than done in this day in age, am I right?
However, I also found myself using my time online wisely this week as well. One day at work, I had to proofread a magazine publication that was to be released about the college. It took me hours and a lot of close reading, but I never strayed further on the Internet. Since I was so busy working on that, I avoided my phone (for hours) and all forms of social media. It was absolutely empowering in a weird way. I spent this weekend with my grandparents, and I found myself only using Twitter or Facebook when it was appropriate. I love to scroll through my Twitter feed, but by watching my time spent on it, I was able to spend more time with the people I love. Most of this time spent scrolling was at night before bed.
It’s obvious that not all of my time was spent wisely online, but that doesn’t mean that some of it wasn’t. Through social media and the Internet this week, I was able to wish my best friend who is currently in Italy a happy 20th birthday and find out that someone I know is engaged. I was able to get some pretty huge projects done at work and feel productive. I got to celebrate One Directions’ 6th Anniversary with lots of music and Twitter scrolling. I was also able to Netflix, and we all know how important that is. The Internet opened these doors for me.
Although the Internet is distracting at times, I think it’s also wonderful. Finding a balance between too much and too little exposure is important, and this journal helped me with that. I saw bad habits and am trying to correct them or figure out solutions to them (I’m currently not doing anything other than writing this blog. Progress, my friends.). Someday we might have the perfect formula figured out. Until then, I’ll just be trying to act mindfully and will be deleting any and all emails from Vera Bradley because my bank account can’t handle it.