2 Hours Online per Weekend Could Be Your Trip to Maui

Continuing the conversation about healthy
Internet practices
(particularly for self-employed artists), I want to take
a moment to address two big unknowns: What about managing Internet time on the
First, I think it’s crucial for self-employed artists to
“claim their weekends.” It’s all too easy to work straight through, especially when
you love what you do. Certainly, the occasional deadline or flurry with a new
chapter warrants the indulgence. But the fact is, we’re in it for the long
haul, a lifetime. Pacing ourselves and taking a break—even from things we
love—makes us better at what we do. When we’re living our lives, whether that’s
going on a run, raising a family, traveling to a new destination, gardening, volunteering,
attending a concert, or going out for a beer, we’re diversifying our experience
of the world and that will invariably influence the content of our artwork. It
also means we’ll be that much more prepared and focused when we return to the
task at hand come Monday—be that task email or artwork; we’ll be eager and
ready, consciously attentive.
I’m only about a month into this new practice with the Internet,
but what I’ve learned so far is that it’s helpful for me to be “a little loose”
on weekends. I still “cluster” any time spent on the Internet so that it isn’t
infusing my mornings, afternoons, and evenings—and sometimes I don’t get online
at all. Regardless, I don’t check
email unless I am looking for a specific message that I’m anticipating: an
update about a friend in the hospital, a note from a jeweler working on a piece
I commissioned, or a link to an online sale at Sierra Trading Post that I saw earlier
in the week and now have time to indulge.
Repeat: I am not engaging in work-related messages during
this time. I’m loosely aware of the clock, but what matters most to me on
weekends is not necessarily a strict 60 minutes, rather, the intention and tone of my online activity.
Here’s where reading comes into play (and thanks for the
great question in the comments!). On Tuesday, I’ll address what I’ve learned
about a healthy balance for reading and “surfing” online. For now, if you’re
not familiar with Safari
web browser’s handy “Reading List” tool
, check it out. It enables you to
flag articles and links to read later, in full, offline.
*A note about today’s headline: I know it’s a bold
statement, but for those of you who have a hard time setting boundaries with
work-related tasks online over the weekend, read on…Say you get paid $40/hour
or that your salary and benefits average out to a similar amount. Many of you
get paid less, many of you get paid more, but go with this for a moment. If you
get paid $40/hour, you’d rightfully insist on time-and-a-half for weekend work
($60/hour.) Now, pretend you spend only 2 hours online over the weekend,
attending to work-related emails and following work-related links, or even
doing some social networking in your professional field on Facebook or
LinkedIn. You even enjoy this work, and feel informed and connected because of

The fact is, in a very
short number of weeks, that $120 that you’re not actually getting paid, adds up. Do this every weekend for just
one summer and you’ve spent 24 hours online doing work you weren’t paid for,
but could have brought in $2880 if your boss or your business practices paid
you what you’re worth. Guess what else you can do with $2880? Buy two round
trip tickets from most of the 48 continental United States and go to Maui, with
spare change for piña coladas and your SPF 50.

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