Monday, 24 May 2010

Swimming or Drowning?

Photo on Flickr by Online Photography School

So, how are you doing today? Have you managed to read all your emails, answer the urgent ones, delete the unimportant ones, read all the relevant tweets, retweet the good ones, tweet something yourself, check your Facebook home page, rant against the new policies of Facebook and Ning, write back to all the kind people who wrote to you in all your different forums and groups, leave comments in various blogs and tweet the links to a couple of great blog posts? And how about your blog? Eh? When are you going to finish that post you started some time ago?

How were the classes today? Were your students happy? Or were you distracted because you were thinking about that blog post you haven't finished yet? It is really important to finish that blog post. Blogging will greatly improve your teaching, you see. Clears the mind and helps you focus. Are you focused right now?

Are you swimming or are you drowning?

Right now I am drowning. It always happens when I have too many offline obligations. I try to compromise by losing sleep, but my treacherous body starts complaining after a while and my mind refuses to work. So, every now and then I disappear from the internet for a couple of days, or even for a week or two. It is terribly difficult to come back after two weeks. Your inbox will be full, you'll find a dozen different messages addressed to you all over your forums and your poor blog will be neglected and lonely.

If I was a digital native, I would probably not worry about this. I would simply erase all my email messages without a second glance at them and write a blog post about what I did during my absence. However, I am not a digital native. When I was a child, my parents taught me not to procrastinate and never to let others wait for me. It is the feeling that I am letting others down that makes me feel like I am drowning. And it makes me procrastinate. Just like this guy:

There has to be a better way. What do you do to find that perfect balance between your life online and your offline obligations?

balancing elephant || Balancierender Elefant
Photo on Flickr by Paraflyer


Janet Bianchini said...

Dearest Natasa

I am so glad that I read this truly honest post. You have defined so well the feelings that I am certain we all go through at one time or another.

Sometimes I agree, there is so much happening all around us both online and offline, that we hardly have time to stop and appreciate what we have.

You may think you are drowning, but in fact, you are not. You are definitely swimming in the right direction!! Writing about your feelings so honestly takes courage. I can bet that the overwhelming feeling of relief is tangible.

You have asked a very pertinent question and one which has so many variable personal answers. How to balance offline with online life? I guess you just need to take "time out" occasionally and literally focus on what your heart tells you to do, but without feeling guilty.

Throw any feelings of guilt into the rubbish bin immediately!! Once you have done that, you will be free to get on with whatever you do best.

Dear Natasa,thank you very much for this post.

Natasa said...

Dear Janet,
I am glad this post has resonated with you. I am also glad that I got this off my chest, it has been bugging me for a long time. You are right, I feel better already.
You say: "Throw any feelings of guilt into the rubbish bin immediately!! Once you have done that, you will be free to get on with whatever you do best." Just what I needed to hear. Thank you once again for being such a great friend and for supporting me through my blogging adventures.

Janet Bianchini said...

Dear Natasa

Thank you for dropping by and commenting on my blog recently. I appreciate your comments very much.

Likewise, I enjoy sharing this grand blogging adventure with you very much. It's all a huge learning curve, and these are very exciting times to be involved in.

Natasa said...

Thank you Janet. I agree - these are very exiting times. I have been thinking about this recently and I am really glad I am living in these particular times. Wouldn't have missed the excitement and the fast changes we are going through for anything.

Scarlet Pumpernickel said...

Amazing, I thought I was the only one suffering the effect of drowning in the blog-o-sphere. It's summer here in Georgia, USA and school is out. I should be writing. I'm a romance writer, instead, here I am surfing blogs and stumbling across one that makes me feel guilty! I should be writing.


Natasa said...

So, not only do I suffer from these feelings of guilt myself, but I have to go and make other people feel guilty as well:))
Thank you for visiting my blog, Scarlet. I had a look at your blogs, they are very nice. I envy you for being a writer - I have always wanted to be a writer, but I have never really done anything about it (so far).

Duncan Rawlinson said...

Hi there,

Thank you for for using my photograph in this post!!

Please attribute the photograph to Online Photography School AND link to

I have a little note about people using my images here:

Thank you!

Natasa said...

Hello Duncan,
Thank you for explaining to me how to link to your school. I hope I did it correctly.
It is a lovely photo. Thanks for giving it a CC licence.

renaissancist said...

Nice to know I'm not the only one having trouble with this. I think a big part of it is the internet. It's become such a big part of society and there's so much stuff to look at that you just lose track of time. Whether procrastination and multitasking came from the internet or if it's just a reflection on humans beings, I don't know. Maybe we create what we are, or something like that.

Natasa said...

I agree, the internet eats up a lot of our time. The biggest problem is not being on the internet, it's what you do while you are there. I often turn on my computer to work and end up listening to music. And no, I don't think we can blame procrastination entirely on the internet. People used to procrastinate even before the internet.


Thanks a very good point, Natasa - that people used to procrastinate before the internet. I think the thing is that we slip (sorry, sink) into things that are most interesting because that's the way our brains work - it craves the good stuff and rejects the things that will make us work too much and it's one of the reasons I'm anti the concept of so-called "multi-tasking" as we don't multi-task at all, we divide attention and when one of the things we are doing is more interesting than the other then that's the one we focus on... dangerous territory and I, like you, have been drowning a bit - nah, sinking like a titantic :))

Still have had a good think and am now hoping to refocus on my blogging and the blogosphere in general. Twitter and FB are fun, fun, fun but my heart's in my writing!


Natasa said...

Hi Karenne. The same here - have been sinking for a while. Then I allowed myself to keep the computer button turned off for as long as I needed, enjoy my holiday and think things over. Then my computer broke down, but that's another topic.
My heart is in my writing too. Which means that, although I am planning to cut down on my internet activities a little (I have to, or I'll start sinking again), I will keep blogging.
You have made a very good point about our brain craving the good stuff and rejecting the boring stuff. It is important to keep that in mind in the classroom.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Natasa

Glad to read that you have had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday with time to do other stuff that interests you.

Writing is one of life's pleasures and like you and Karenne, I would also like to do more writing whenever possible.

I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Kristi said...

This video gives a perfect picture of the stage of life that I'm in right now! Thanks so much for sharing.

Natasa said...

Thanks for visiting, Kristi. My life has been like this for a while.


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