Finding Time for My Toys

Reading Paul's article about video games up there, I'm wondering how he does it, how he finds time in his busy writing schedule to become fluent in three new gaming consoles and their associated games. He's got two kids, is a devoted husband and father, and churns out articles with a wildly prolific abandon—and yet he's intimately familiar with every game title I can throw at him. He also has appreciable DVD and music collections. And he's always tinkering with new products, which are tossed at him from every corner of the tech market. I'm beginning to think that the man never sleeps. Or maybe he has some kind of time machine.

I'm also a father of two, and I have my own home and workplace responsibilities and joys. I do my job and try to be the best parent I can be, and yet, in the evening hours and on the weekends, I have to scrounge to find time to enjoy my toys. After getting all hot and bothered about my new Xbox 360 early this year, I now find that I haven't played a game in a few weeks. I have a nice DVD collection, but these days I rarely get the chance to sit down and enjoy a film and peruse the disc's extras. I have an iPod filled with kickin' music and informative podcasts that I want to devour. There are a few computers in my house, networked and enjoying wireless broadband Internet access, so that's an obvious seduction. No time! There are too many tech toys and gadgets clamoring for my attention! Necessarily, some get forgotten as the narrow focus of my attention alights on one at a time.

I've often thought the answer is to go "tech ascetic." Turn my back on all electronic temptresses, move higher up into the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, hole myself away with my family, and read. You know, actual books. There's a certain attraction to that thought: Slow down the lifestyle, disconnect, commune with nature, find God.

Then I laugh. I laugh and laugh. I could no sooner give up my tech toys than start collecting Barry Manilow CDs.

But what's the answer? How do you live a good life and make room for the avalanche of tech wonders crashing down on your head? From Paul's example, I know some of you are getting away with it. You're working hard and playing hard. You're finding the balance, and you're enjoying the heck out of all of it. How do you do it?

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