Thursday, January 15, 2015

Web Zombie No More

Like many people, I freakin' love the internet and like many (if not most people) these days, I'm almost always connected to it.  At any given moment, I have a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desk top computer - and frequently more than one of those devices - within an arm's reach of me.

It's not unusual for me to Tweet or check Feedly from my phone during the work day, and I also tend to stream jazz over Spotify in the afternoons.  When I get home, I plug my phone into the charger and switch over to my iPad.  From there, I usually catch up on Facebook, Tweet some more, perhaps play a game like Plants vs Zombies or Sudoku, or generally go down the rabbit hole of web surfing and/or  Pinterest.

Occasionally, I'll fire up the laptop if I need to do some more in-depth research on something, edit photos, write a blog post, or need to get more work stuff done.

The point is, I'm always connected.  I realized over the holidays that my internet presence was getting in the way of getting a lot of other things done, sucking up what little free time I have, and generally preventing me from being present in my life.  I was essentially becoming a web zombie by getting lost in the internet vortex almost every night.


As of January 1st, I made a conscious effort to decrease my internet usage/online presence - especially the completely useless, mind-numbing trips down the rabbit hole of random web surfing. If I'm going to be on the internet, I've been trying to limit myself to social interaction (Twitter), blogging, or working on actual projects.  I actually set myself a weekly schedule of other things I needed/wanted to do.  I'm pleased to say that, 15 days in, I've definitely reduced my internet consumption and have made lots of progress on my goals.

I set a challenge on Goodreads to read 24 books in 2015, and as of right now, I've already read 6. I think I may need to revise that challenge number upward! So far, my favorite has been Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks by Andrea Lankford and I'm currently reading Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.  Spending so much time with my nose in a book, or a Kindle, has made me feel a little bit like a kid again.  My mom used to yell at me to "Quit reading, turn off the lights, and go to sleep!" all the time.  Back then, I used to wait until she was asleep and then I'd read some more under the covers with a flashlight - and hope I didn't get busted.  Now, no one tells me to go to sleep, but I sure do need an extra cup of coffee on some mornings!

I've managed to tackle a project that's been on my "Things I'd Like To Do Someday" list: I'm trying to learn Spanish!  Mr. R&R and I scored a killer deal on Rosetta Stone's Spanish package just after Black Friday, so we figured we'd both give it a shot.  So far, I really like it.  The lesson format is very different from the way I remember learning French when I was in school, but it's really nice to be able to repeat lessons as desired and work at my own pace - usually about 20-30 minutes 2x/week. I've completed the first lesson (each lesson has several parts) and I'm looking forward to starting Lesson 2 over the weekend.

In the last two weeks, I've also:

  •  Managed to order Walter & Spot's 2013 photo book. Yes, you read that right, the 2013 photo book.  I've made one via Shutterfly every year since they've been with us, and the 2013 book sat, fully completed, for over a year because I kept forgetting to do something about it.  I finally took the 10 minutes to review and order it - with a coupon!  I also went through my photo library for 2014 and I'm in the process of slowly putting together their 2014 book using iPhoto's book platform.  It's been a challenge, but I'm curious to see how the final product turns out.  I still have quite a bit of work to do on that one, but I figure it's probably a better use of my time than reading a bunch of religious rants/vague complaints/looking at funny pictures of cats on Facebook.
  • Joined Mr. R&R in a nightly reset of the house where we make sure all the dishes are done, the rabbit cage/play area are tidy, and all the clutter is picked up.  It takes about 20-30 minutes a night and we've both been really happy with the results.  It's definitely taken an element of stress out of both of our lives and has made it so that instead of having to do a ton of damage control on the weekends, we're free to tackle other stuff that always gets pushed aside - like reorganizing the linen closet, painting, or plotting another mini-improvement to The Cave.
  • Studied the Nutrition Guide for my upcoming foray into the Insanity Workout - and start planning how to make all the shopping and food prep work for me.
Close, but not quite!
  • Spent more time on the floor playing with Walter and Spot - which they seem to like.  
More time...more photo ops

Overall, I'm loving this new way of living.  I also think it's only going to help once Insanity begins.  It's a relatively small time commitment as far as the length of the workouts, but I'm going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen, in the shower, and trying to get 8 hours of sleep a night.

How do you like to spend your free time?  Read any good books or cooked anything fun lately? Thoughts on learning another language?

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