(This post was originally written for INK, where I am a guest blogger.)

I’ve created a new practice that I try to do daily. Actually… it’s an old habit that I’ve rationalized into being a practice, and I’m quite happy about it. I’ve taken something that I’ve used in the past to distract myself from something I need to get done and have turned it into something productive.

I’m talking about surfing the web.

I am a social, curious person so I can spend an entire day on the web. I love to ask questions – and get satisfying answers – so if I’m wondering about something, I start exploring. In the past, I would get distracted by the shiny squirrels that were everywhere to look at on the internet. It was becoming a real problem; a big enough problem that I spoke to my mentor and she suggested that, because I actually thrive in this practice, I find a new way to look at this time I spend on the internet. Rather than making it be a “sin” and a “waste of time,” could I see the value in it – or create the value in it?

I really liked that idea!

One of the things I stayed away from was Pinterest because the only feedback I heard about it was, “Oh! It is SOOOO addicting! I waste hours on there!” And this was coming from my design and artisan friends. Seriously, I couldn’t afford to find one more thing on the internet that could distract me. I tentatively set up a profile and promptly went away from it for awhile, not looking at one thing. And, I stayed away.

Then my mentor introduced me to the power of Pinterest. She showed me how it is a graphic driven social network. She showed me how every single post has a image with it. She showed me the eye candy. And then… she showed me that every. single. picture. can be linked to a website with more information, education, entertainment. Oh my!

I could see how a Creative could spend hours there, lost, and following all the shiny squirrels. I really wanted to play in this playground, but I couldn’t rationalize a new addiction, so I wondered about her questions… Angie, can you find a way to see the value in the time you spend on the internet? Can you CREATE value in it?

I’ve discovered that if I add intention – and a time limit – the time I spend on the internet can be productive, instead of just a waste of time. AND! There are amazing things I lovingly discover now.

Like this great article on hand lettering: The “How To’s” of “I do’s”

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