I've read The Happiness Project almost three times now, I believe (I'm just about in the middle of reading it at the moment).
I really like Gretchen Rubin's project: setting out to focus on her happiness. As part of this, she came up with a set of resolutions which she kept track of on a calendar, checking off what she was following well.
I've thought for years that I would like to do something kind of similar, but that idea has been stuck in the "one day..." file in my head. Maybe one day I'll actually get around to writing resolutions down and posting them where I can see - and constantly be reminded by - them.
One thing I've long meditated on, though, that I thought would be good to tackle the first time I read Rubin's book, is my use of time. I am one of those people, one who often would like more time, one who doesn't feel she has enough time. I'm pretty conscious of using the phrasing, "I choose to spend my time in these ways," but I am still finding a decent work-life balance to be elusive. (Oh, I must needs stop soon, because there are multiple rabbit holes to fall into here...including the "have it all" and so-called "working mom" holes.)
A couple of years ago, I went through a phase of wasting time online by scrolling through the humor section on Pinterest. I'd scroll and scroll and scroll through images that I often didn't even find that humorous, but it was like I was unable to stop myself from doing it. That probably lasted a couple of months before I could convince myself that that was not a worthy way to spend my time.
About a year later (half a year? I don't remember exactly), I went through a stupid BuzzFeed addiction. I would read the stupidest stuff there. Again, I had to have a stern talking-to with myself. (Again, that probably lasted a couple of months, but I wish it had only lasted a couple of days.)
I no longer even click on the humor section of Pinterest. Actually, I don't scroll through the sections on Pinterest at all. I scroll through my own feed or whatever that thing is called. I do that quickly. Mainly, though, I use Pinterest solely for myself and not as a form of social media. I don't tend to repin things that I actually find on Pinterest. I pin things mainly from Goodreads (when I come across a book I want to read, I go to Goodreads, which I'm not a member of, and pin it from there) and Etsy and Modcloth (as would be apparently to anyone who might decide to stalk my boards).
I no longer go to BuzzFeed's site just to go there. I sometimes still read articles from the site if someone else points them out to me (and by that, I mean if someone else posts a BuzzFeed article to Facebook).
But I still sometimes mindlessly use my screen time in ways that don't feel satisfying to me. I now have close to 3000 saved articles to read (in a bookmarks folder). I have emails to open. I have scores of blogs to read (and several that I like to keep up with, although that usually means catching up in January and then again in June each year).
And the thing online thing that's been eating at me most is my use of Facebook.
I was ready to be finished with it last year, but then I signed Pic and myself up for a postcard exchange, which was a 10-month commitment and which was managed through Facebook.
I am again feeling ready to be finished with Facebook. I don't really feel more connected to people thanks to my participation there. I barely participate there. I have long ago stopped posting regularly there (did I ever? I don't remember). I only occasionally use it to communicate with friends via private messaging.
More and more I have been noticing and fretting over (to say the very least) my lack of actual social interaction with real people lately. And sometimes scrolling through Fb throws that into sharper contrast for me.
And I notice that I spend a good 30 minutes a day (at least) on Fb, scrolling through everything that's been posted since the previous day (I usually only check Fb in the evening, because, well, I'm at work during the day). I notice that I'm bored as I scroll through. Few of the posts are actual things typed out by my actual friends. I don't read the memes. I pretty much don't read anything that has been shared and reshared (non-original postings).
I also notice that too often I feel hopelessly empty (and possibly end up in tears) by the time I'm finished scrolling through my Fb feed. I tend to notice a lot of ugliness and hatred and snarkiness. And I notice something ugly in myself: people will boast and I have a hard time genuinely thinking, "good for that person." Instead I become cynical. And I don't like that reaction.
So yesterday, I decided that I need a break from Fb. I don't want to cancel my account. I'm not sure why exactly. I don't have a good reason, I know. So I have signed into my account yesterday and today to see if I have any messages, but I haven't scrolled through anything. (After yesterday morning, that is. That was the last day I let myself spend my 30 minutes scrolling through my feed.)
As for where I'm going to gather my to-read articles? I've got a list of sources I'd check out once a week. And if I miss things, I miss things. I think I'll be okay. But if I don't create this space in my life and if I don't step back from this media that doesn't fulfill a social need for me, I don't think I'm going to be okay.
We'll see how this goes...