Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time Sinks, or not

Time is rarely on any of our sides these days, it seems. We're busier with more responsibilities, places to go, people to see, deals to make, projects to complete, you name it. As if there wasn't enough to do just doing everything, we also add the task of telling people that we're doing it via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and a dozen other social networking thingamabobs.

Remember when we were excited about simple cellular phones? Now we carry mini-computers that keep us uber-connected and, oh yeah, they even let us talk to each other. (Some let us see each other while we're gabbing.)

The flip side to having all this wonderful access to information that allegedly makes our lives easier, which should lead to us accomplishing more, is that they also open us up to endless time sucks.

Angry Birds? Time suck. My index finger is soon going to suffer a repetitive stress injury from catapulting those virtual feathered friends across my screen to explode green pigs.

Just typing that last sentence makes me laugh at myself. "So, Mary, what'd you do today?" "I worked and when I took a break, I shot cartoon birds at cartoon pigs. On a screen."

If anybody actually asks, I should cut to the chase and say, "I worked and when I didn't, I engaged in a mindless time sink."

Angry Birds, Bejeweled Blitz, Bubble Popp. Fun games but they can all take over my attention until I play them over and over and over in robotic repetition.

I have a Scrabble app on my phone. Is playing one game against the computer a time sink? I refuse to put it in the same category. Maybe that's because I love to play Scrabble and consider it a learning experience. It's not a time sink. It's helping me stave off Alzheimer's. That's my rationalization and I'm sticking to it.

I could wile away an entire day reading a great book. Is that a day wasted? Maybe on some level, in that I didn't accomplish anything else, but the pure entertainment of reading is never a waste. At least not in my opinion.

So, I ask you. When is an app or a game or some mindless activity NOT a time sink? Maybe I should develop criteria. Say, it isn't a time sink when it's helping me fill otherwise empty time --like when I waiting in a doctor's office for an appointment, or my flight's delayed and I'm bored. Ahhh, maybe that's the ticket. If the app helps me do something else, then it serves a useful purpose.

There's probably more to ponder on this topic, a lot more. I could keep writing but perhaps that would then become a time suck, too.


Hope said...

You should download Words With Friends. Then, we can play "scrabble" together over the internets.

That's definitely not a time sink.

Mary Stella said...

I have Words with Friends. Email me your sign-in. :-)

Jen said...

I LOVE Scrabble and have never heard of Words with Friends. Where do I get it!?!?

Jen :)

Mary Stella said...

If you have an iPhone, searc the Apps for Words with Friends.