Thursday, 13 January 2011

First Anniversary

It’s hard for me to believe but it’s one year ago this week that I started this blog!

It’s been a bit of a hotch-potch, just as I warned in the very first post, a kind of  ‘Christmas pudding’ of ingredients! A few practical tips on selling greeting cards and a few on art-related subjects, stirred together with updates about how my card-selling business is progressing and hopefully spiced up with the occasional digression into gardening and birdwatching, all mixed together with a fair amount of  musing and speculating, opining and ranting and guest posts.

I wonder whether this has been confusing for my followers and so this is your chance to tell me if you’d prefer me to change the mix in some way in future. 

For this second year, I’ve decided that, much as I enjoy writing, I'll try to stick to one new blog post a week. This is partly to give myself more time for other things - like painting! - but also because I realise from my own experience, how time-consuming it can be keeping up with other people’s blogs! Of course, decisions like this need to allow for some flexibility, like when I slipped in an extra post with  the second photo of Sugarloaf’s ‘alpenglow’!

I’m sure most of you would agree that time always seems to be at a premium and that the internet can gobble up large chunks of our time! I’ve decided to limit the time I spend on Twitter this year too! I’ve come across some really interesting people through Twitter and ‘happened upon’ a great many excellent blogs and articles that I would never have otherwise come across. So I’ve come to have a kind of love/hate relationship with it, the ‘hate’ bit being when I realise how easy it is to get distracted by it!

Is it time that we lack or is it attention?
One of the articles I read was about how most of us tend to feel that the internet takes up too much of our time but that’s it’s not just time that it consumes but also our attention. If we’re not careful we can find ourselves bombarded with more stimulating thoughts and ideas than we can comfortably cope with, especially if we are trying to earn a living at the same time! 'Instant' communication seems to have had a 'speeding up' effect on our lives that doesn't encourage patience. I'm horrified to admit that if I go to a website that is slow to open, either because it has a flashy introductory page or because it has a lot of large images that are slow to download, I often don't have the patience to wait but move on to something else! I wonder how my attention span these days compares to that of a flea!

Somewhere else I read a suggestion for getting our household chores done by using those little bits of time while waiting for the something, eg waiting for the kettle to boil, to do a minor task, such as cleaning the sink. It sounds very sensible but it probably wouldn’t work very well for me because it wouldn’t leave me those precious little intervals that I value as ‘thinking time’!

Many years ago I designed an ‘Office Change of Address’ card for friends and they insisted on paying me by the hour. When it came to working out how long it had taken me, it was they who brought up the subject of ‘thinking time’ which I would never have counted as ‘work’. In fact a lot of time management advice seems to ignore our need for time to reflect on and process our experiences. If we don’t allow time for this it can result in a kind of mental indigestion!

But ‘thinking time’ is not something that can be easily scheduled  - it wouldn’t work to time-table it in for, say, 10 – 10.30 am on Mondays! We do need, though, to take account of it when planning our time by not expecting to fill every single minute of every day with definable tasks! But this is where the internet can wreck our best intentions. No matter how flexible our schedule, it’s all too easy for the internet to not only eat into our time but also our attention, leaving our heads buzzing with too much information or too many ideas!

But of course, some enterprising, insightful person has come up with a solution! A rather drastic one and it costs money so you’d have to be desperate to take it up, I think!

What do you think?


Ulla Hennig said...

First of all: congratulations, Judy! I have been following your blog for quite some time and I enjoyed your posts very much.
Second: I understand your reason for posting once a week. It will only make me more curious!
Regarding thinking time: We definitely need time to think and to reflect. I would never think of scheduling it between household chores, but I feel somewhat the need to schedule it--for example on the weekend combined with a latte macchiato at a nice Starbuck café round the corner!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you very much, Ulla!

I like your idea of Starbucks as a place to 'schedule' your thinking time! I actually have a 'thinking seat' - a bench at Abergavenny Castle that overlooks the Usk Valley. I used go there when I was househunting - and was really annoyed when on one occasion, it was occupied by a family eating fish and chips! I still go and sit there when I have a really big decision to make - and thankfully it's usually vacant!

Country Mouse Studio said...

Congratulations, I am so happy you started and I had a chance to get to know and appreciate you and your artwork.
I looked up that Freedom you mentioned and thought how great it would be for parents wanting to lock out their children so they could get school work done.

I find it does take a lot of discipline to walk away from the computer and just read an article on how they've now classed it as an addiction as hard to quit as smoking or drugs. They said people go through withdrawal and feel anxious etc when removed from it.
I wish you a wonderful, productive, prosperous second year.

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you very much, Carole, and I'd like to say that the feeling's mutual:)

When I went to visit my daughter just after Christmas, I wondered how I would feel being internet-free for two whole days as my computer is usually switched on from first thing in the morning until I go to bed at night. But in fact I didn't have any withdrawal symptoms at all so maybe I'm less addicted than I feared!

Itaya said...

I just wanted to wish you a Happy Blogaversary and tell you that I'm very glad you are here! I always enjoy your input and feedback on my posts and for taking the time to do so. Thank you for all the time that you have invested on your wonderful Blog and I look forward to more of your posts! :)

Michele said...

Happy blogging birthday, I think it's about a year for me too! I have installed 'Net Nanny' for my teenage daughter to curb her addiction to games. It not only limits her to an hour, it stops her going to a range of sites, and sends me an email when she tries to access off limits sites. I have set it to block facebook (which I refuse to use myself), youtube, chat rooms and many other time wasting, potentially dodgy activities. My daughter is delighted I have given her this 'help' of course. Ha ha.

To anyone having time management issues I recommend the book Get everything done by Mark Forster. It examines saying no to too much stuff, focusing, avoiding procrastination, and looks at why real life gets in the way of many traditional time management systems. I wouldn't be without it.

nicol said...

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You only go to:
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and include a link to your website so that everyone gets to know her.
Thank you for your attention

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Itaya and Michele - thank you very much for your good wishes and I'm glad you enjoy my posts! I must say that I enjoy blogging much more than I expected and am so happy to have 'met' so many lovely, helpful and talented people through my blog!

Norman Young said...

Happy Blog Anniversary Judy.

Blogging and Twitter are certainly addictive and time consuming. Like anything it's about priorities and interests.

If blogging is a chore, why do it? If it is something you enjoy, why feel guilty?

Some of the alternatives you suggest are very worthwhile. I aim to do more (amateur) painting and get out more with the camera. The difficulty is that latter generates work on the PC to process and archive images and also for to use on my own blog, facebook etc.

I do my best thinking in the shower or at least that's where I seem to have "ideas". I read about someone else who said the same thing too. Doing dishes has never worked in the same way apart from to wish I could be somewhere else.

So I wish you all the best with the blog for year 2 and for the doing of other things.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Norman - thank you for good wishes and good luck to you too with your aim for the new year. You are so right about the enjoyable creative activities generating the often tedious work on the PC! It's like you can't have the icing without eating the cake as well!