Semester Prep: Internet Control

My semester starts on Wednesday, which is coincidentally the due date of my second (also known as “my last”) child. Certainly, this means that things will get very busy very soon for me. My goal is to carve out more time in my day so that I can teach well, do research, and spend as much time with my expanding family as possible.

Looking at my work routine, I feel that one area where I can stand to save some time is my time on the internet. Not being a member of Congress, I am actually going to develop a plan so that I cut back on my internet time. I am going to start with a realistic goal of two one-hour internet sessions each day (once in the morning, once in before I come home). This may seem like a lot, but a huge portion of my day is responding to email from students, colleagues, co-authors, and administrators. If I can limit my email to those two one-hour sessions, I will consider it a win; I also think that it is very do-able.

One of the great boons of my professional career is the blogosphere/Twitterverse. I have learned two metric tons of how to become a better teacher from my internet colleagues. However, this is also a time intensive process. In order to have a chance of fitting all of my internet time into two hours, I needed to cut back. I am now following 25% fewer people on Twitter, and I am now reading 50% fewer blogs. These were difficult cutbacks, but I also feel that I am approaching the asymptote for how much I can learn from my PLN (that being said, I am still planning on learning a lot—I am still following over 30 Twitterers and 50 weblogs).

So please do not be offended if I stopped following you; all it means is that I am choosing my son, daughter, and wife over your internet rantings.

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4 Responses to “Semester Prep: Internet Control”

  1. Joss Ives Says:

    Very wise Bret. I use filters, lists, folders and the like to reduce my daily load to manageable size. I still have to figure out how to properly slot in email time as I currently just deal with it as soon as possible and as you point out, there’s a lot of it to deal with.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Yeah, nobody told me that being a professor would involve so much email. But at least my life has become a lot less stressful since I instituted an Inbox Zero policy. It does take time, but it is worth it. Bret

  2. Jason Buell Says:

    Understandable. My GReader is ridiculous and I’ve long ago come to terms with not being able to read everything. That’s actually where Twitter comes in handy for me. The very best get tweeted out a few times so I can be sure to catch it. (PS – I was going to compliment you on one of your earlier posts but I totally dropped the ball and now I’m too lazy to go back and find which one it was. So you’re getting generic, non-useful, but feel good praise instead)

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Hi Jason,

      I have gotten really good at deciding not to read things in Google Reader. I also feel better about unsubscribing to a bunch of blogs, knowing that the best posts will keep coming up on Twitter.

      And I will give you a generic “thank you” to your generic praise! It is always nice to hear that I wrote a worthwhile post. Bret

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