“The most valuable thing
one can do for the psyche, occasionally,
is to let it rest, wander,
live in the changing light of a room.”
-- May Sarton
How has your week been, Blue? Did you have a relaxing Labor Day weekend? Is everyone getting back to “normal” routines now that school has started? Or are you trying to create some fresh and new routines?
We had a nice Labor Day weekend. I did work a little bit, but not very much. And I used the time to kick off some new, healthier (for me) routines and habits.
The biggie: cutting back my time on social media.
I can’t imagine my life without all the connections I’ve made through blogs and social media. There are folks I’ve known for more than a decade, good friends, that I met thanks to the digital ether. I love seeing the pictures of everyone’s growing families. I get super excited to see new blog posts or canvases covered in paint or wax.
But frankly, I’ve found myself just scrolling and clicking just to fill (aka waste) the time. Or as a way to avoid doing something on my “To Do” list. And, honestly, I love all my friends – and I want to stay informed about the happenings in the world – but the constant stream of the horror stories in the news and the political stuff is disheartening and exhausting.
And yes, as much as I love my friends and appreciate their opinions, I’ve been hiding the feeds of people that post snarky political stuff.
I have big stuff on my "To Do" list this fall. Next month, I'll be release Clearing Soul Clutter AND Clearing Brain Clutter as Books. (Yes, I retired them as digital programs!) .
I've also been working a brand new, original book is slated for the end of November.
I need to focus!! The new book, especially, is requiring more effort, as I am writing...differently.
When I first graduated from college, I went to work for ABC News as a News Assistant in the Dallas Bureau. (My Bachelors is in Communication with a focus on Broadcast Journalism). This was before the internet, and on the edges of birth of the 24-hour news cycle. Each day when I went into the office, we had all the newspapers delivered and four televisions playing all day – ABC, NBC, CBS, and the newbie: CNN.
After a few months of this kind of media consumption during my work day, I stopped watching the news at home in the evenings and the weekends. And after I left ABC and began working an “office” job that suited my needs as a new mom, I didn’t watch much news then, either.
I burned out on information, at least that kind of barrage of news stories. Over the years, that have been spells of being glued to the news – like the events of 9/11/01 (fifteen years ago this week).
But the constant, daily assault of information and the repetition of the same stories over and over all day isn’t good for me mentally or emotionally. And, it’s tanking my productivity.
It’s so easy to skim Facebook while I’m waiting in line at the grocery store….a habit I have been in, and one that I am breaking. Because standing in line and watching folks and making eye contact is more rewarding and inspiring than keeping my face down and looking at the phone.
I feel more connected to humanity when I am looking it in the eye and not just scrolling through my feeds on Facebook or Instagram. And I also feel more connected to my own creativity and find myself inspired and intrigued about the world as I witness it.
Oh, and the greatest spark to our thought processes – curiosity – gets sparked constantly. Like what kind of party is the man next to me hosting? Because he has 6 six-packs of craft beer and only a single jar of peanuts in his cart. Oh, and the elderly man going into the bank with a leather briefcase: what’s his story? What’s in the briefcase? And why is he wearing knee-high black socks with his white sneakers?
Earlier this week, I was on my way home from the grocery store. The car next to me was driving a little slow and erratically. I looked over, and sure enough, she was on her phone. The car in front of me – which was in front of me because I moved aside due to her tailgating me – was driving faster than the speed limit. And yes, you guessed it, she was on her phone, too.
Two drivers, both driving unsafely at the same time and both of them were texting or reading something on their phones as they drove.
This tells me that our society has a problem with all this connection. And I don't want to have THAT kind of problem. We are addicted to our devices, to social media, and I don’t see that it can be healthy.
What urgent need can there be for either of these two women as they drive down a two-mile stretch of road that connects commerce to our suburban neighborhoods?
It’s so easy to become addicted. It’s so easy to use the constant scrolling as a way to numb. It’s so easy to believe that we are MISSING OUT if we aren’t constantly looking.
I want to a part of the social conversation. I want to connect to my friends and colleagues. I want to be a part of different communities, be they about coaching or writing.
I initially thought about taking another sabbatical, going cold turkey. Getting off line so that I can finish this next book. But that isn’t a long-term solution. No the long-term solution is to be more judicious and self-disciplined in how much time I spend on Facebook VS Writing. And the long-term solution isn’t to remove myself from Twitter or Instagram, but to utilize it briefly, and then go for that walk or sit on the porch and read a book.
And I can’t ditch email, but I can choose to check it and answer it twice a day instead of watching for each new email to arrive!
Like any new routine, I am finding my way on how to make it work for me. I’ve been using my phone’s DND feature, which allows me to mute all notifications except for those folks on my “Favorites” list. I’m playing with timing of checking emails and social media. I’m pondering a “Sabbath” day, where I unplug completely, and not necessarily on Sunday, but in the middle of the week.
I am a work in progress, but I am determined to be the one in charge of my time.....for Social Media to be a way to connect, not a way to numb myself.
So, tell me, darling, what about you? Do you use social media to numb? Have you caught yourself checking your phone in line or at a stoplight? Are you addicted? Do you worry you are going to miss out?
Are you bombarded with information? How can you use social media wisely?
Though I'm not visiting your in-box each week - and I may not be on Facebook as often as I used to be - know that I'm just an email away. I love hearing your stories and helping you find the resources you need to create a life you love.
With so much love...........
PS - See you in two weeks!!