Are You An Internet, Email and Facebook Addict?

I will admit, I am an addict. Yes, checking my email and Facebook is a part of my day, every day throughout the day. I have attempted to wean myself with occasional, moderate success. I have thinned out my email, unsubscribing to newsletters and other unwanted notices. I have reduced my inbox to under 50 and on a good day to under 20. I have created files of important emails to keep as reference and I periodically review and weed out obsolete items. I think all that just means I am an organized addict and that I am fooling myself to think that those measures make me less hooked!

Despite becoming efficient and proficient, I am obsessed with checking my email and checking in on Facebook. I log on in the morning and review my accounts over my cereal and coffee. I don’t feel I can move on to other things of greater importance like writing my next book or this article until I have cleaned out new emails and reviewed the newsfeed on Facebook. Real work or productivity comes second.

I have made strides in posting less on Facebook unless I am traveling (I love to post travel pictures). Now a few days can go by without a Facebook update from me but never a week! I love to feel connected to my friends and relatives, many of whom live far away from me and I might be out of touch with their lives without Facebook. I learn things, laugh and feel a part of a community when I browse the newsfeed. If I don’t look in, I feel a loss of not knowing what is going on in the world (I have stopped watching TV) and I begin to feel invisible.

I recently finished reading the book The Shallows, What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. He described having more difficulty keeping his attention focused on concentrated reading and deep contemplation. I have been noticing this trend myself, and it bothers me. [Read more…]

Who Are These People?

Shultz Family 1920

Shultz Family 1920

As I look at an old black and white photo taken about 1920, I see serious looking people who I know are my relatives, but they are all dead now. Only my dad who is almost 90 can identify them. He is mostly sure he got their names right, and I think to myself, does it matter?

Somehow I found myself the only one in the family willing to look through countless boxes of photos and old newspaper articles of someone’s wedding or death. I look at photos with stern faces that seem to reflect hardship beyond my comprehension. Their eyes are hard and it is hard to imagine them smiling or laughing. Did they have joy in their life or was it mostly survival?

Viola Cemetary, South Dakota

Bob Shultz at Viola Cemetary, South Dakota

I know where some of them are buried in a little country cemetery in rural South Dakota. I hope their souls have found rest and peace after burying children, surviving wars, depressions, dust bowls and untold hardships that today’s kids will never understand.

I return to the task of looking through the boxes and trying to figure out what to do with these relicts of the past. I write on the back of the photo the names: Grace, Viola, Milo, Ralph, Henry, Ellen, Mable, Minnie, Peter, Caroline and Lydia. Ralph was my grandfather and I never met him because he died before I was born.

Do I frame the picture of my ancestors? [Read more…]

10 Ways To Reduce Mail Clutter In Your Life

Are you tired of all the clutter that keeps coming in your mailbox or inbox? Are you zoning out and barely looking at most of it? Would you like less coming in so you can breathe more and read quality correspondence as well as feel more caught up?

Take the next week or month to trim paper and electronic clutter. Here are 10 ideas of how to do that! [Read more…]

Does Anyone Want A Bunny?

How in the world did I get so much stuff? Whatever space I have lived in, I fill every inch of it in stuff. I have been in a declutter mode for years now, and I have made good progress. However, I am still sorting and getting rid of stuff each month.

Stuff just crept up on me. Having kids really brought on the stuff. Buying a big house gave us lots of room to put it and soon it got out of control. I was encouraged by TV commercials and other media to buy, buy, buy stuff, and I accepted the offer and did. Bought a house that I couldn’t really afford and one that had more room than I really needed. We were all told it would help the economy to buy and buy. Did it?

When the weight of debt and too much stuff felt like 5 elephants on my back, I sold the big house with a 3-car garage and moved to a much smaller house with no garage. No more bikes and garage stuff. I kept a few garden tools and shovels but they had to fit in my small laundry room.

Kid stuff went bye-bye and so did over half of my wardrobe and knick-knacks because I had virtually no storage and my closets were small. I refused to pay for a storage unit but kept a few things in my mom’s basement. It was liberating. And still there was more.

BunniesI just got out my Easter decorations. Now that I live in a small space, the holiday decorations are more confined instead of spread out all over a large house. I counted over 20 bunnies that are now on all surfaces in my living, dining and main floor bathroom. Do I need that many bunnies? How did this happen? [Read more…]