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A Buffer Experiment

3 min read

A few weeks ago I spent seven days in Chichicastenango, Guatemala without access to internet. So 90% of the apps on my iPad & iPhone were useless, including my FIFA 14’ game, which I did not see coming. An I found myself loving that aspect of the trip. I was able to to focus on things much better. So when I got back I started to find what took up the most time for me having internet access 24/7. And below is what I found out.

Twitter is one of the greatest resources I have in regards to finding articles, videos, and connecting with others. My problem is I turn to Twitter and Instagram like it’s a drug or something throughout the day. I’m always pulling out my phone to see if I missed something important in the last five minutes. While in Guatemala I did not have that available to me and it felt incredible.

So after returning from Guatemala I decided to do three things:

  1. Log out of Tweetbot (but did not delete it)
  2. Deleted Instagram
  3. Downloaded Buffer App

1. Log Out of Tweetbot

I logged out of Tweetbot instead of deleting the app itself so I can still receive notifications of @ mentions & DM’s on my phone. I do not want to miss the interactions with friends across the world so I still needed to receive those updates. But if I open Tweetbot there is no time line available. If I get a notification I need to respond right away I open up Buffer App and respond that way. (more on Buffer below)

tweetbot

2. Deleted Instagram

Next step was to delete Instagram. This was hard to do because I follow some talented artist and photographers out there with great inspiration. But this was one app I needed to rid myself of due to the constant checking. So this one was simple. I held down the app icon and then hit the X. Done.

3. Downloaded Buffer

I then downloaded Buffer App and began using it as my main Twitter and Facebook status update app. Buffer allows me to still share my thoughts on Twitter and Facebook. I can still share photos, articles, and resources. And I can spread these items out over time so to not be filling up others time lines. The UI is simple and pleasing to use, which is a major factor for me in using software.

buffer

So that is it. I now find myself reading more books, articles, newspapers instead of reaching for my phone to see what I missed. There are so many blog posts out there on giving this stuff up. I don’t think you have to do that, but you do have to be honest with yourself about limiting yourself to it. Don’t let it be a distraction from the more important things going on in your life. And just to be clear, I still use Tweetbot on my laptop and catch up there daily. I just do not have the draw to be looking at it on there often.

[highlight]How about you guys. Any tips or tricks you have learned about social media addictions?[/highlight]

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Why I Toggl My Time

4 min read

I started using Toggl to track time at work a year ago, but it only would last for a week or so. That was until last month when I gave it another try, but this time around I simplified the process. I then added our entire production & media department (10 staff members) to Toggl. But before I get into how I/we use it, I want to share quickly why tracking your time may be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your staff.

There are three major factors why I started tracking my time. They are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Data
  3. Accountability

1. Awareness

Before I started tracking I only knew what time I came into work and what time the clock read when I left the office. This gives me no awareness to look back on a day and see on what and how I spent my time. I had assumptions on how much time I spent in my email inbox or in the hallway chatting. I always said updating the website with the latest sermon did not take long, but how was I to really know. I knew I took time during the day to check social networks, but it couldn’t be more than 10 minutes right?

toggl_time

Since I began tracking at the end of February I was able to best online casino run a report for the entire month of March. I found some interesting things that I will share after April ends and I can compare the two months. For now I spend a minute or two at the end of the day looking at where my efforts went. This awareness gives me the opportunity to keep my self in check.

2. Data

This is something that we don’t have as a team just yet, but by the end of May we will. All organizations/churches track some type of data. It may be their profit margin, online sales or Sunday attendance. They track the numbers because they are helpful when making upcoming decisions. The same goes for a media or production department in a church. There are always videos to produce, logos to be designed, rehearsals to be prepped or a “small” event to be organized. All of these things take time and usually we are very good at underestimating the amount of time and resources a project/event takes. Our hope is that soon we will have data from all these different projects to use as a gauge to assist us in setting true timelines instead of shooting from the hip. The data will also give us great raw data on how to approach the need for future hires.

3. Accountability

Having the entire team on Toggl together has already improved our workflow and work ethic for most. After just 2 or 3 weeks the entire team makes jokes about whether something is “Toggl worthy”. And I believe that is a great thing! I know for a fact the amount of time spent on sideways energy has decreased. We have also had less lengthy “creative’ discussions, also known as watching a new movie trailer and talking about it at lengths. This in my opinion has it’s place in our type of creative environment, but it can be abused.

The team has done a great job in helping each other with the new time tracking and I can’t wait to share in Part 3 the results we are seeing and the data we have compiled. Next up will be Part 2 of “Why I Toggl My Time” where I will show how I technically use Toggl and how we have integrated it with our Basecamp Next account.

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Social Separation

4 min read

I am approaching December a little differently this year. Just like a lot of people, I have started to make a list of things I would like to do beginning January 1st, 2014, and they include some of the normal yearly goals or resolutions. Although for the last few years I have changed the whole way I look at New Years Resolutions by using the My One Word concept my church and pastor go through every year (more on that in the next week or so), I still choose some goals to try to accomplish.

What I have found though is that there are way too many distractions throughout my day that keep me from focusing on the things I am trying to change in my life. Changes such as:

  1. Bible Reading Plan
  2. Writing on this Blog
  3. Date Nights
  4. Working Out
  5. Running/Training

And the distractions that I am finding are due to my addiction and constant desire to check in with the social media systems that follow me everywhere I go. I am addicted to my iPhone & laptop.  There, I said it. I finally stated what I believe others are thinking and it’s entirely my fault…


Sidebar

…minus email & phone calls. Today’s work culture in all fields have this sense that we should always be available to chat, respond, decide & discuss 24/7. That cursed Mailbox app I have keeps me checking it all the time. And this is on both sides of the coin, because I too email out at night and text co-workers.  Now back to the original thought…


Now there are a million reasons why I don’t find the time to work out or find time to read the Bible at night, but I know one thing that keeps grabbing my attention from the time I wake in the morning to the moment I fall asleep. And that attention hog is the way I – Mike Paschal – use social media & the internet. I usually wake up and reach for my phone to see what I missed on Twitter during the night instead of reaching for my wife. And at night Kirsten usually falls asleep  to the glow from my iPhone/iPad/laptop lighting up the room. And I think it’s time for me personally to do some things to change that.

So now my iPhone screen looks a little different compared to just last week when I wrote about the apps I am currently/was using. The apps that are on my home screen now are specifically to help me reach my goals. Every time I look at my phone I see specific goals staring right at me.

So beginning today I have deleted the following apps and will not be logging onto them for some time from anywhere:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram (replaced w/Pressgram for a reason)
  3. Flipboard

I have changed my home screen to hold the following apps:

[one_half]

  1. Fantasticial
  2. RunKeeper (for goal reaching)
  3. MyFitnessPal (for goal reaching)
  4. Camera
  5. Day One (for goal reaching)
  6. ByWord (for goal reaching)
  7. Bible (for goal reaching)
  8. Safari

[/one_half] [one_half_last]

  1. Settings
  2. Reeder (for goal reaching)
  3. Group Me
  4. Reminders
  5. Phone
  6. Messages
  7. Evernote (for goal reaching)
  8. Rdio

[/one_half_last]

And the reason for all of this is to experiment with getting back to creating content and giving back to the community. I hope my writing helps others. I know my bible reading will help my walk with Jesus and my relationship with my incredible wife. I hope the running will better my health so I can spend time with my wife and kids until a very old age. My hope is I start giving to others instead of just consuming a massive amount of here today and gone tomorrow knowledge.

Now how about you? I know some of you reading this are addicted to social media. And I know you have read other posts like this. Did any of this change the way you have been thinking? If so, I would love to hear about it below! Maybe we can challenge each other through December.

Cheers