OK, I’m going to admit this–I waste enormous amounts of time on the interwebs, and I tell myself that what I am doing is important. And it is not.
Reading through Facebook today, I had no desire to post anything. Many people are now endorsing products (they get paid for doing this) and it drains their credibility for me. If I don’t know if you like the product or like getting paid to say you like the product, I don’t want to give up a chunk of my time figuring it out. Pinterest is nice eye candy, but I’m not connecting to anything. I’m looking at nice things, and forgetting them. I was neither doing anything nor being me, I was floating in a half-world or unreal experience that wasn’t memorable.
I got up early this morning, and was supposed to be writing my book. But first, check Facebook and emails and Pinterest and stop by Twitter. Because, no kidding, I feel guilty if I don’t check in on my. . . what, exactly? My fake feeling of connection is what. One of the people I follow on Facebook posts every thought, every decision, all to a wash of predictable support from her friends. I have begun to dread seeing her avatar. This is not connection. This is not friendship. This is also not doing nothing. It is fueling a low-grade irritation about someone I have never met. Still, I can do this because on the internet you can do nothing and rationalize it as social networking, and call it working.
By 7 a.m. when I’d been up for two hours, I has spent the entire time sitting at my desk, staring at my laptop. I was not relaxing. I was not doing anything, either. I was in some sort of half-awake world of semi-attention, hoping that something would inspire me.
What would really inspire me was rest. It came up like a huge bubble from under a deep pool–if I wanted to rest, I should rest. Stop fooling myself. So I got up, closed the computer, and went back to bed.
I lay on my back, wondering if I should be working. No, I was tired, so I closed my eyes. It felt. . .good. I fell asleep quickly. Slept for two hours. Woke up rested.
When I returned to the computer, I did not check in on Facebook. It ran just fine without me. Instead, I wrote down what I needed to do, set the timer on a reasonable amount of time to accomplish it, and started writing. It worked. Because I was rested.
Lying down is resting. Lying down and opening your iPad is not resting.
I like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. But it’s not work and it’s not research. It needs to fit into my goofing-off time. So if I don’t have time to goof-off, I will not call posting on Facebook “working,” and spend 45 minutes reading what people who are not in my computer’s contact list are doing.
Rest when I’m tired. Work when I need to work. Goof off when i am done working. That feels better.
—Quinn McDonald rationalizes too much of her life. She needs to write more about the Inner Critic, who can also tempt us away from work, then snicker behind our backs. She won’t give up Pete’s Pond, though.