For the past seven days, I have been missing from the Blogosphere. I haven’t done any blog-related reading, writing, posting or commenting. I haven’t published my regular Sunday Guest Post. I wasn’t traveling. I wasn’t too busy. I didn’t suddenly tire of blogging. And, thankfully, I didn’t spend another week in Technology Hell.
Why the absence? It was an experiment.
I am passionate about writing. I love reading. And I am deeply inspired by connecting with like-minded thinkers.
Still, I was curious.
Like so many deep passions, blogging is a time commitment. A significant one. What would I be doing if I wasn’t blogging? Since I began blogging only six months into my retirement (and those first six months were consumed with returning home from overseas, setting up our new house and reconnecting with friends and family), I really didn’t know. Perhaps one week was not long enough to find out – but I was willing to give it a try.
From February 2 – 8, I went about my regular routine. The only difference was that I logged my time for everything that I did each day. Absolutely everything! At the end of the week, I charted the data that I had recorded. The summarized results looked like this.
Then from February 9 to February 15, I went cold turkey. I engaged in no blog-related activities. Zero! I allowed myself a maximum of thirty minutes per day on my computer/devices. I tried to use this time very wisely. Once again, I logged my hours and charted how my time was spent. Here is that data.
What did I discover? Anyone could argue that a single week could be a one-off. It could also be argued that wanting to see a difference, I participated in activities with that goal in mind (…which I did actually do). Still, this exercise helped me to gain valuable insight. I was surprised not only by the differences between the two weeks, but also by what remained the same.
I had expected an increase in sleep. However, there was little variation between the time logged in this category for each week. (This is significantly more sleep than I believe that I normally get…was that a fluke or did the more conscious use of my time contribute to that perceived difference?) As I did not add new categories, the remaining sections each absorbed the extra time. (Social/Community increased by approximately 8 hours, Household Tasks by 7, Self-Care by 5, Exercise by 5, Errands by 4 and Eating by 1!)
Reading held the most significant time gain (an increase of over 9 hours in one week). But here, things also stayed remarkably the same. I thought that instead of grabbing my computer/device in the mornings, I would grab my yoga mat, or engage in some other new and exciting activity. But…on many days I grabbed my book and curled up in my comfy chair, just like I usually did with my devices. Ditto for my after dinner routine!
I had set three goals for my week of blogging hooky. 1) Do something that scares me. 2) Rekindle an old love. 3) Do something that I have always wanted to do but hadn’t yet tried. In the fear category, I planned to give hot yoga a try. Not only did I not do that, I only went to yoga once in the second week (two times less than usual). I did, however, go to the golf driving range with Richard…a definite fear that I (and our marriage) survived! In the rekindling category, I visited both a local museum and art gallery – something that I would like to continue on a more frequent basis. I also went five-pin bowling with friends — which was a blast! Regarding my third goal, I have always wanted to read about meditation and give it a conscious try…separate from yoga class. Somehow, I have kept procrastinating on this. Early in the week, I picked up a simple introductory guide to meditation and gave it a try. The results were much more noticeable than I had anticipated. I plan to continue to explore this further. As a bonus, Richard and I hit several spots along the ’39 stop Nanaimo Bar Trail‘ in Nanaimo, BC. Hey, no judging! I also tried my hand at making Indian food for the very first time…and Richard helped with the naan bread. Yum!!
Do I have any current plans to abandon blogging? No. The enjoyment that blogging brings me cannot be denied. Since my December dip in Blogging Hell, I have consciously been trying to better manage my screen time. This simple experiment has given further testament to my need for balance…and my need to remain vigilant in maintaining this balance.
What would a log of your current hours reveal?
Highlights Shown Above: Day 1: A quick trip to Vancouver. Day 3: Making Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan Bread. Day 4: Bowling with Friends. Multiple Days: New restaurants to try and new routines to explore. Days 0 & 7: The makings of a brand new Thursday Walking Group.