Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Guest Post: How to Waste Time on Your Laptop - an Expert's Guide by Kathi Lipp


My friend and fantabulous author Kathi Lipp has a wonderful newsletter. Didn't you just love the last one?

What? You... don't... get... her newsletter...?

Are you really my friend? Because I'm not sure I know you if you don't read Kathi's newsletter. Well, I'll give you a chance to amend it. Go here and subscribe now, then come back here to read.

Now this is not the same stuff that's on Kathi's blog. This is new stuff. This is different stuff. This is more good stuff. Kathi graciously let me share this article with you so you can get a taste of what you're missing.

How to Waste Time on Your Laptop - an Expert's Guide
(or, My Real Life Strategy for Getting Things Done.)


"There's never enough time
to do all the nothing you want."
~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Don't you just love your computer?!?! It is such a time saving device. I can do my banking, order groceries, talk to my agent, invite friends over via evite.com, and design my next newsletter anywhere in the world that has a Verizon tower nearby. It is amazing all the tasks I can get completed for want of a power outlet.

So why have I spent a large part of my summer playing Free Cell?

I have just hit some major deadlines in my life after 18 months of running at full steam ahead. I realized just this last week (after the edits for The Marriage Project were finished) apparently I am not capable of work unless I am under tremendous pressure and have a sense of overwhelming guilt.

I just kind of sat there thinking, "I know I have things to do, but I don't want to do any of them." Real mature attitude - yes?

So I'm having to go back to giving myself some rules and boundaries when it comes to my time on the computer. Here are some of the rules when it comes to time wasters that I am now abiding by:

1. No More than 20 minutes on Facebook a day.

I have to tell you, I love me some Facebook.

I love seeing what old friends are up to. I love hearing about the little things in my niece's life that my brother probably wouldn't call to tell me, ("Elsa said A-B-C today. We have started the Harvard Fund.") Love hearing the latest industry buzz and reading what my favorite authors and readers are up to. Love Love Love.

And that is where the trouble begins.

I love checking out what everyone else is up to, and can get super caught up in commenting on people's status. That is fine when I am standing in line at Safeway. But when I should be writing my next chapter on time management? Not so much.

So when I am at home, I am keeping my Facebook addiction down to 20 minutes.

2. Clear out my inbox once a week.

I will do anything to avoid answering unpleasant or complicated e-mails (see my Free Cell reference above.) So I have been giving myself a weekly inbox dump where everything must be dealt with (and then I reward myself with an episode of Drop Dead Diva - hey, it's better than chocolate chip cookies.)

If you need some ideas on how to clean out your inbox, read this great article from Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt entitled: Yes You Can Stay on Top of Email

3. Turn the Wireless Off for a Chunk of Time - Every Single Day

Twitter and Facebook and E-mail - Oh My!
I have several ways to keep myself entertained on my computer. I love hitting the reload button on my Outlook to see what new mail I have sitting there (yes, we have already established I have a problem. Now let's move on, shall we?)

So, for about 3 hours every day, I turn off my wireless and concentrate on just working. Whether it is writing a blog post, writing a chapter, brainstorming a new speaking topic or having a conversation with a client, I focus completely on the task at hand and not on the e-mail that I am waiting for.

I call this my "Cave Time" and it is the only portion of the day that I can trust myself to do anything that involves numbers or creativity (which for me, both require super-human concentration.)

Now don't get me wrong - a little Free Cell every once in a while is a good thing. But I want my computer to be a tool to get more things done, instead of a distration that keeps me from getting things done. (I can watch all the cute cats on You Tube I want once my speech is written!)

See? Now aren't you glad I shared? Subscribe and you can read Kathi's newsletter hot off the press!

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