It's a beautiful day at the botanical garden, and each visitor is dazzled by nature's splendor in all its variety; from the songbirds in the treetops to the tiniest details of each intricate flower. Everybody is enjoying the gardens except for one gentleman shuffling through the park with his eyes and thumbs glued to his smartphone, live-tweeting and status-updating while those songbirds watch on with pity. That would be the garden blogger.
That's the tricky thing about combining social media with nature. At some point, you just have to stop tweeting and 'liking' so that you can listen to the real live tweeting and look upon the garden with such emotion that it can't be expressed in 140 characters or less. Social media has become so portable that for many (myself included) it has become a distraction from the real world. I've noticed that people who constantly 'share' to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest often have very little to share of their own making.
While they're a welcome relief from my ancient and lagging computer, my iPad and Blackberry have been accomplices in my negligence. I'm pretty sure that I've spent more time checking for updates than I've spent posting anything useful, and apart from editors and clients, most of my email is just fluff.
So here's what I hope to do this year. I'm making an effort to be less active on social media and more active when it comes to the important stuff: Writing and illustrating. Rather than post ten status updates a day, I hope to post a single one that made ten people smile.
Since a big part of the problem has been my incredibly slow computer, I've decided to get a laptop instead. With Windows 8 apps and a touch screen, it effectively replaces both my computer and the iPad, which means I'm less likely to get distracted by games. (It's an Asus X202E and it cost me less than an iPad, by the way)
I've used the new Metro 'Livetiles' to categorize my day and make me more productive. The goal is to structure my day and put the important stuff front and center so that my ADD doesn't get the best of me.
The first category contains a to-do list, calendar, social media apps and other apps that I use for writing. The second category contains live feeds of blogs that I hope to read, (let me know if I should add yours!) news and weather.
The third category contains all the apps I need to upload and edit photos. A week ago, if I wanted to add six photos to a blog I was forced to upload them to my slow PC and edit them in Photoshop. While Photoshop is great for specific projects, this everyday task took me thirty minutes to complete. Now I can do all of that in a few minutes, thanks to a speedier computer and fast touch-screen apps.
Here's a question for other writers: How do you get things done? Do you use a traditional desktop or a mobile device? Photoshop or Picasa? What tips would you have for being more productive? Be sure to let me know in the comments