"The internet is such a double-edged sword for most of us. It's hard to write without the resources it provides and almost impossible to reach an audience without it these days."
With a pinch of discipline and understanding, social media and all things internet don't need to take over, despite their lure and all the reasons we need to be there.
The tool vs. recreation.
To balance our time online, we need to be able to differentiate the internet from being a tool and being a recreational outlet. As a tool, it can help us achieve the goals we want. As a recreational outlet, it can distract us from the things we want to do most and even prevent us from achieving our goals.
For example: As much as I love blogging and Facebook, I need to remind myself, if I allow the time on those outlets to go past my daily allotment, then it falls into the recreational category and I only have myself to blame when I don't achieve my goals.
Know your weakness.
Only you know your weakness. For some, a weakness might be Twitter: You think you'll just pop on for a second, and an hour later you're still there chatting away with friends, having a great time and justifying it by calling it marketing. For others it might be less easy to justify, but just as much of a distraction, such as Facebook games.
If you are honest and acknowledge your weakness, then that's a big step toward dealing with the problem and making a change.
For example: If you're able to acknowledge your weakness is turning those seconds into hours, then don't 'just pop on'. Give yourself a specific time each day to indulge and stick to it. Set a timer if you have to, or turn off your alerts. Again, only you can know what solution works for you.
Fight the guilt.
Don't let guilt sway you from your goals. Building a large following happens over time, and with it comes a higher demand to maintain those connections. Your goals will remain the same, so that means something has to give. All too often, it's the writing time that get put on the backburner because guilt will creep in and tell us we have to visit a gazillion blogs a day.
A writer with no books out won't need to use social media as much as a writer with something to sell. Yes, a new writer needs to build a platform but, more importantly, that writer needs to write. In fact, all writers need to write. Individually, we need to work out how much time is needed to achieve each goal. And stick to it.
There comes a time when you have to ask yourself what you want from the limited time you have and how much you gain in return.
How do you manage your internet time vs your writing time?
Photo: my herb patch: Thyme (since this is a post about time management, lol)