Friday Link Love

A smattering of stuff I ran across this week:

D-I-Y Chocolate Gifts for Valentine’s Day

Homemade malted milk balls, peanut butter cups, and more. I am pretty “meh” about Valentine’s Day but this post could make me a believer.

Tackling a Science Project with GTD

It’s enough to overwhelm the children and the parents. Instead of letting the stress get to me, I decided to apply the principles I learned from Getting Things Done and show my daughter that projects don’t have to give us headaches.  Here’s what we did.

This was a timely post for me, since Caroline finished her “Pueblo Project” this week. We used some GTD principles in the planning of it. Thinking about it in those terms helped us get it done without much last-minute stress and helped redeem the project in my mind (I was grumbling loudly to myself about it).

Being able to plan one’s time is an important life skill, even though being able to mold Model Magic onto a cardboard box isn’t.

How the Internet Gets Inside Us

From the New Yorker, an interesting (long) overview of recent books about the Internet and its effect on our brains, social lives, and psyches. He divides the books into three basic approaches: the Never-Betters (technology is GREAT!), Better-Nevers (the Internet is destroying our lives), and Ever-Wasers (the Internet is no different than any new technology). I disagree with Gopnik’s placement of Hamlet’s Blackberry in the Better-Never. I think he is an Ever-Waser. Otherwise, great article. Money quote:

The digital world is new, and the real gains and losses of the Internet era are to be found not in altered neurons or empathy tests but in the small changes in mood, life, manners, feelings it creates—in the texture of the age. There is, for instance, a simple, spooky sense in which the Internet is just a loud and unlimited library in which we now live—as if one went to sleep every night in the college stacks, surrounded by pamphlets and polemics and possibilities. There is the sociology section, the science section, old sheet music and menus, and you can go to the periodicals room anytime and read old issues of the New Statesman. (And you can whisper loudly to a friend in the next carrel to get the hockey scores.) To see that that is so is at least to drain some of the melodrama from the subject. It is odd and new to be living in the library; but there isn’t anything odd and new about the library.

On the other hand…

Fighting a Social Media Addiction

This link is from last year but I was reminded of it recently. College students were asked to abstain from social media for 24 hours.

“In withdrawal. Frantically craving. Very anxious. Extremely antsy. Miserable. Jittery. Crazy.”

“I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,” one student said. Another student had to fight the urge to check e-mail: “I noticed physically, that I began to fidget, as if I was addicted to my iPod and other media devices, and maybe I am.”

I take social media Sabbaths pretty regularly, and I get so much out of the practice, but I’ve experienced the twitchiness that can set in. I suspect that these students were simply asked to abstain without being given any tools or strategies for dealing with the “withdrawal.” That is the key. For example, instead of fiddling with my iPhone at a particularly long stoplight, I look out the window and intentionally notice five new things about my surroundings. It’s a small exercise in vision and discernment. It’s not enough simply to unplug. Or perhaps I should say, it’s difficult to say No to technology without a bigger Yes driving you.

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8 thoughts on “Friday Link Love

  1. Judy says:

    Totally unrelated to this post but HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY to Caroline!! (was it yesterday or is it tomorrow?) From her almost birthday buddy Bernhardt (whose b-day it is today).

  2. sherry says:

    GTD looks fine and is pretty much how I do my life and help my kids learn to do theirs……until the Father in law falls, gets a brain injury, spends 4 weeks in the hospital and then the GTD schedule for the science fair project has been blown to hell.

    Then science fair becomes a lesson in how “doing our best” does not look the same every day and how life makes what is our “best” on one day look very much like our “worst” would look on a better day.

    • MaryAnn says:

      YES.

      David Allen, the GTD guru, would acknowledge this reality, and add that the good thing about GTD is that at least you know what you’re letting go of and can triage, as opposed to having a crisis hit and be even more overwhelmed by a vague notion that things are falling apart but you don’t know what.

      It’s possible that doesn’t help everyone, but it does help me.

  3. Rachel Heslin says:

    I *love* that quote about living in the library. That’s pretty much how I feel about the internet — all that lovely reference at my fingertips.

    As for addiction, some of it is the whole Nature Abhors A Vacuum thing. You can’t NOT think of something. You need to replace what you’re not doing with something else.

  4. […] in the Better-Never column, as were many others who’ve read the book. MaryAnn McKibben Dana writes: “I disagree with Gopnik’s placement of Hamlet’s BlackBerry in the Better-Never. I think […]

  5. Rachel Heslin says:

    Okay, being quoted by the author is pretty dang cool. Way to go, MA!

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