A couple of people have asked if I have any New Year’s Resolutions, and I have answered “no”. I stopped making them, as history has shown that I am about as good at sticking to them as Nick Clegg is to a promise (POLITICAL SATIRE).
However, I’ve realised that there is one resolution which I do want to make and really hope I can keep: that is, stop wasting so much time on the internet.
You see, between the 502 Group, my Open University course and my oft-threatened but so far unimplemented desire to do some proper creative writing (not to mention my surprisingly existent social life), I have quite a few commitments that I’m… er, committed to. In theory, I have plenty of time to get it all done: I usually get home from work around 7pm; factor in an hour or so for mealtime and that gives me four hours or so of spare time every evening to get stuff done.
However, more often than not, that free time dwindles to zero very rapidly. And it’s all because of this:
Yes, there is no bigger devourer of time on this planet than YouTube’s “related videos” sidebar. I can click on a perfectly reasonable link on Facebook or Twitter (two more time-sucking web sites, but let’s leave them to one side for now) and watch a very informative and useful video for five minutes.
However, in that sidebar, there is usually at least one video with an intriguing title, or curiosity-provoking thumbnail. I click on it and it takes me to another video page, with its own tantalising sidebar of videos. And so on, until I disappear entirely into a vortex of streaming Flash video.
I’m serious. I have lost hours at a time to that sidebar. I’ll go as far as to venture that, if YouTube et al had been around when I was at school, I’d have come out of my GCSEs with a G grade at best (assuming I was able to spell my name correctly on the paper).
I know, I know – I should just turn off the internet for a couple of hours. However, I’ve come to realise that I don’t have the discipline to do this. Instead I’ll sit there, clicking away. A funny sketch from Whose Line is it Anyway? leads on to a railway video which leads on to a great music video. Each time I’ll say, “just one more, then I’ll do something useful.”
Basically I need some discipline (not in an S&M sense, but that could be fun too). Will 2013 be the year I finally acquire some self-control? Let’s hope so!