I’m not sure if a time suck is considered a real thing or not, but I can tell you there are a few of them hanging around our daily lives. I kind of fell into one this morning while I was supposed to be getting ready for work. Let me explain.
My phone dinged, so of course, I had to see who was texting me. It turns out it wasn’t a text at all but a notification that Kid 2 had posted something to Facebook. I am always curious to see what the kids think is worthy of sharing or posting to their Facebook feeds. So I paused my morning routine long enough to take a look. Unfortunately, I saw something that caught my eye just below what Kid 2 had posted, so I scrolled down and saw the cutest cartoon called Fowl Language drawn with ducks as the main characters and it was all about parenting. Now I am quite sure I am the last person to learn about this but keep in mind that I do live under a rock most of the time, or as hubby used to tell me, I am culturally deprived.
After I had wandered down that black hole looking at a post with the ten best cartoons or some such, I hit the back button realizing I should be getting back to the morning routine. When I got back to the Facebook screen, I was again distracted by a post of the top funniest yard signs or something like it, I had to see just the first one so, of course, I clicked on it and read the first few but managed to stop myself when I realized it was one of those pages seriously over-populated by ads and graphic links to other eye-catching stories tucked just beneath the big orange NEXT button that I would need to click to keep “reading” the bit about the funny yard signs. Ha! I thought. I am smarter than that I will not get sucked into that again. Last time I followed one of those paths, it was about a baby baboon and what the female lion did to it. Next thing I knew I had to wade through a story on a different lion that involved a hippo, but they kept taunting me to continue by telling me how I just had to read about the baby baboon and what happened to it. That darned baby baboon was so cute, I just had to stick with the story until I learned the ending. I told myself I was better than that now and went back to getting ready for work.
I escaped that time by telling myself I could look at Facebook while I ate breakfast if I still wanted to. The thing with Facebook is that if you don’t look at something of interest when you see it, you may never find it again. I have lost hours looking for something I saw once and wanted to find again. It doesn’t help knowing who originally posted it either because the feeds fill up so quickly that eventually you just give up or get sucked down a more distracting rabbit hole. I have solved this sort of by saving the video or link, but now Facebook is constantly reminding me that I saved several things this week and asking if I wanted to go back and look at them now. I call that nagging! Facebook doesn’t understand this is my way of bookmarking the posts I want to be able to find again.
Most of the time, I try to avoid Facebook altogether. I used to get notifications from lots of my friends but then I realized that some of them did nothing but report everything they liked from their feed and never posted anything of personal interest. I only told Facebook to notify me so I wouldn’t miss the important things in my friends’ and family members’ lives, but I quickly realized I was being notified almost constantly and it was way too distracting. So I turned off all the notifications except for hubby (who is rarely on Facebook anyway) and the kids. Most of what I know about what goes on in the kids’ lives I learn from Facebook and when it comes to finding photos to share in the family holiday newsletter, I have to go see what photos are available on Facebook. So, I’m not saying Social Media doesn’t have it’s uses. I just know that I need to only tune in to it when I have free time to burn (so, almost never) and even then I know I had better set a timer to pull me back out of the time suck I will invariably get pulled into.
The lesson of the day to avoid time sucks is to leave the phone alone until after I am ready to walk out the door for the day. I also need to take the time to change the notifications so the one for text messages is different than general notifications.
So what are the time sucks in your life? How have you learned to deal with them? Please let us know in the comments.