My name is Lori Woodward, and I'm a social media addict.
I don't state this in order to belittle those who are struggling with serious addictions -- however, if I don't get a good grip on how much time I spend online, it will indeed affect me in adverse ways. I've talked about this subject in the past, but it's time for me to get transparent again... if only to help some others who may be falling into the same time traps that plague me.
Something's got to give, and it's not going to be my art/writing career,my family or friends.
Typical addictions have never been much of a problem for me. I've never smoked a cigarette, and I don't like the taste of alcohol. Oh, well... I forgot one... I'm in love with ice-cream. But let me get to the point: I'm surprised that I am apt to succumb to the pleasures of Internet surfing - and some days when I don't have any deadlines or appointments, I fall into "the zone" of mindlessly checking email, Facebook, Twitter, and even my stats. This social media zone feels just like the creative zone
. Only problem is -- painting is productive, the social media zone is destructive when its trappings suck me in for hours at a time.
My writing this post may seem hypocritical because, after all, you're reading this right now, and I want you to
-- in fact, I'd be delighted if you would comment, and yet, I know that if we spend most of our waking hours in front of our PC screens, we'll not succeed as artists, and even our offline relationships might suffer.
Some Artists Do It Right
While artist Daniel J. Keys
stayed with us, I observed that he manages his time well on the Internet, and at the same time, he is responsible to the people in his life as well as his painting time. Daniel is indeed a highly social person, but he's a lot better at not letting social enjoyment get in the way of his career than I do. In the days after he flew back to his home in California, I had some serious discussions with myself about self-discipline.
Before Daniel arrived, I had to finish two articles for magazines, and worked right up to the day he arrived. The house was not cleaned, I didn't have art supplies ready for him to use, and I hadn't even gotten a chance to go food shopping. Why? Because I was frantically finishing up two magazine articles. I felt so stressed that I promised myself to never let important work wait 'til the last minute again. (Now, give my husband some slack - his job requires him to put in way too many hours to food shop. He does do the dishes and his own laundry)
Yes, I have had a lot on my plate this year, and yet I am still practicing irresponsibility with time management -- I spend way too much time doing unimportant things online. So what's an artist whose work is online to do?
I must tame this beast! Well.. it is really myself I must tame. So, yesterday morning, I wrote pages and pages (by hand) of how using online social media keeps me from being responsible. I also wrote down ways that I can continue to use the Internet responsibly and get my work done in ample time - thereby cutting down on stress.
Several months ago, I started the "20 Hour Challenge"
; It helped for a while, but then I fell off the wagon. How do I know I've fallen off? I begin to neglect the things I must get done, and my productivity takes a nosedive.I'm making necessary changes and am looking forward to forming a new regiment so that I can live in both worlds (cyber and real) equally well. If anyone out there struggles with Internet addiction or has advice on how to use social media and yet be productive and responsible, please don't hesitate to share with readers here.