I need to get something done. I need to end the distraction. A quick and cheeky refresh of my Facebook newsfeed is enough to interrupt the creative flow. A day awash with Facebook updates is not life, but simply existence punctuated with snippets of the lives of others. I need to finish a chapter. I need to get a painting to a stage where a coat of varnish and a frame are the last pieces of the puzzle.
In order to fling this monkey from my back I’ve installed a great app for Mac called Self Control. It’s just a kick start – the app only lasts for 24 hours. Like anything worth having, you do need to actually put in some effort yourself (I know, an what an utterly quaint concept). I’m sure there is some kind of muscle memory laid down where, when I am at the keyboard, periodically my fingers wander to the track pad and involuntarily click on the Safari icon, meander over to the Facebook tab and then quickly, before the brain is even engaged, hits refresh.This social media frenzy has conjured up a whole other class of friendship – lolling somewhere between acquaintance and comrade – and they are a bloody distracting bunch! Disembodied communications devoid of context amplifies the gaps between us. Intensifies that I haven’t seen her for so long. Shows that I never really knew him. For the last 24 hours I’ve not been able to tell my friends that I love honey on toast with a cup of hot tea! Oh – the humanity!
I’ve had to sit with my thoughts on life and everything in it. After so many years of indiscriminately spewing out all that comes to mind – be it of interest or no – The critical questioner has burst forth! The amazing filter-wunderkind! My Uber Mental Negotiator. Welcome back, Mademoiselle, welcome back.
When I finally did a cost/benefit analysis for Facebook it just didn’t stack up – for what it cost me in time wasn’t even close to the cost of the energy of metal processing and interruption to creative flow. I am a procrastinator from way back – telephone calls, vacuuming, cleaning, washing, sorting receipts – you name it, I’ve tried it. So add Facebook to that mix and I’ve got no hope. Eventually I nutted it down to this – if, previous to Facebook, I wouldn’t have taken out an ad in the Herald Sun to announce it, chances are it doesn’t need to be shared.
The Jolly Roger icon of the Self Control app sitting in my Macbook dock is displaying a little red timer – two hours and 44 minutes until I’ve been off Facebook for 24 hours – and it will go right back on when that time is up. Already, I feel lighter.