We are all guilty. We check our Facebook messages while driving down the road. We post tweets at the dinner table. We get up in the morning and check our email. As a matter of fact, you are probably reading this article because you linked it from a social outlet. We are social creatures and are therefore naturally interested in what is going on in the lives of others (that is a nice way of saying we are nosy).
There is nothing inherently wrong with being plugged in; there is nothing wrong with staying connected with friends and family. In many ways these social outlets have reconnected me with people I probably would have never seen again; it has afforded me the opportunity as a pastor to reach thousands of people with daily, encouraging words. Personally, I think these outlets can be great tools for ministry, communication and organization. Here is the problem…..
It takes up a lot of my time, let me re-phrase that…it can waste a lot of time.
Facebook just announced it has a membership of 1 billion people. This means that more and more people are connected than ever before. This also means that we are spending more and more time at a screen, on a phone, or staring at an electronic device. Ironically, the more we try to connect with others who are far away, the more we disconnect with those who are close by.
Stop and ask yourself a few questions. How many minutes, or perhaps hours do I spend on these social outlets? How many times do I check my phone or computer in one day? Do I wake up with these devices and go to bed with these devices? What, or who, is being neglected as a result of my many hours on the computer?
Here are a few suggestions that I have tried to implement in my own life to have better time management when it comes to these social outlets.
1. Establish certain times when you will check.
Instead of constantly being on the computer, set specific times when you will keep up with everyone, and do not allow yourself to just keep checking the meaningless information about someone’s dog or big toe.
2. Set time limits.
Once you’ve logged on don’t stay on for a very long time. It is unnecessary to just soak in everyone’s complaints, comments, and criticism for hours at a time. Log on, check up, and get going.
3. Use the Delete Button.
Yes you can delete certain people. I have thousands of “friends” but I have deleted many people because of their drama, language, intentions, and bad spirits. Don’t waste your time on who said what about who. I have a rule- if anyone who is my friend posts ANYTHING that is in bad taste or is a reproach to Christ- I delete them immediately.
4. Take a Break from it.
I propose a Facebook fast! Consider taking a few days, or a few weeks from it. If you were to take a break you will be surprised at how little we really need to know all the trivial information about everyone else.
5. Keep Eternity in View.
This is the greatest way to keep the proper time management on these social outlets. For one week count the hours you spend on Facebook and translate those hours into how many doors you could have knocked on or how many chapters could have been read in the Bible. We cannot get those hours back.