Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: social media use

Do You Need a “Productive” Day of Rest?

A productive day of rest, picture of a desert picnic.

Monday is usually my most productive day of the week, but this one is different.

It’s the Monday after a glorious outdoor Sunday morning, an afternoon of rousing and hilarious games of pool and several shots of tequila, a Taco Bell dinner (because dammit the taco fries are back), and half a movie on the couch before I fell asleep.

I had planned on a productive day around the house. I had every intention of being a “productive” blogger type person today, but I’m not being lazy.

I’m thinking.

Recently, I ditched all the socials, as you might know, starting with Facebook. I didn’t miss it. Then I stopped looking at Instagram for a month. Then disabled it. But this past week, I began to miss it. Why? Is it just habit? Or something else?

You know what I think? I think, the way things are around here, I need that small connection with mostly strangers. I need a place to say, “Hey, look at this!” Or “Damn I’m happy (or sad)!”

I enjoy seeing the pictures there, the deep thoughts, the jokes (dirty or otherwise). It’s seeing other people’s view point of view, like hanging out at party or working a job with interesting people I can “turn off” if I want to. The bottom line is…I need some people.

I don’t need a lot of people. I don’t need constant contact or a boatload of friends to invite over. Maybe all I really need a small outlet, some folks to show off for. It’s the extrovert side of me, the explorer side seeking a platform to be seen and heard.

I like having the ability to share the wonder I see in the world around me. Is that so bad? I’m searching for new connections with other fascinated souls. Will I find it there? Or is there somewhere else?

But now, here I am, several hours into the day, thinking, “Did I just waste that time? Could I have been more productive with that hour?” Possibly, but then, maybe not. Maybe this is what I needed today.

Discovering Small Spaces

There are spaces built into our lives, small stretches of time between tasks where we used to take a breath and think. I started to re-discover these spaces this past month when I deleted Facebook and then Instagram from my phone.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you probably know that I’ve had a long-term love/hate relationship with social media. I’ve thought about it a lot and I’ve written about it a lot. Honestly though, I have a love/hate relationship with just about everything. How much I love it or hate it depends on my mood of the day (or hour), but in the long run there is little that I truly abhor.

Ultimately, I love the concept. I love being able to stay connected through the internet with friends and family. I love being able to share pictures, books, and articles I find interesting with whoever wants to listen. No more losing addresses or phone numbers. No more having to print and send pictures of the kids. No more photocopies of articles tacked to the bulletin board.

But there are downsides, that’s for sure. We all know them well.

With all the hubbub in the world, I found myself needed to put a little more distance between my home and the online world, so I decided to take the apps off my phone so that I couldn’t just unconsciously scroll. I didn’t leave the platforms, I just limited when I could interact with them. That’s when I discovered the spaces.

Once the apps weren’t at my fingertips, I found myself daydreaming more often. And it’s so nice. As I finished my coffee, caught my breath after a walk, waited for the dryer to finish; whenever I had a moment, I sat there thinking instead, staring out the window, or doodling on a piece of paper. I found a few epiphanies to write about. And I relaxed.

Over the course of a few weeks, I realized that, with the apps right there in my hand, I had been filling those quiet spaces with other people’s thoughts and I was losing mine.

I’ll admit, I have considered leaving social media completely, but I just can’t seem to justify it. I can’t think of a convenient way to stay in touch over long distances. I want to be there so that my people can find me, so I stay.

I now have two social media accounts, Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, I get on the computer and share a few things each morning. Depending on my mood and my availability, I chat with a friend or jump over to a friend’s page and see what’s up. You, my sweet reader, can “follow” me there if you like. I post many things publicly.

Instagram is different. You can only post to your page from the app. I can still follow interesting pages and comment from my computer, but I can’t post my own. I tried having the app on my phone and self-limiting my time there so that I could post, but I kept inadvertently filling in my spaces, so it had to go, at least until I can develop a stronger habit of not scrolling.

My social media use has evolved once again.

Should I Stay or Should I go?

wp-1585339823642.jpg

This graphic was posted on a relationship group I follow, but it hit me in such a way that I felt compelled to share it here today, right now.

Why?

Because it’s true for any relationship you may have: a friend, a career, a school, a book, a romance…tequila. At some point in any relationship, we all ask ourselves, “Is it worth the effort to continue? What am I receiving from this?” And then we have to make the decision for ourselves.

And here I sit at one of those crossroads.

Now you’re really wondering, right? Is her marriage on the rocks? Or…is she considering giving up writing this blog?! God, please, no! Not now, when we need her wisdom and wit the most!

Don’t worry. My husband is the rock my life is built on. He’s going nowhere…even if he wanted to. And this blog? Stop writing? Oh, hell no. You, my affectionate reader, are the lover I will never kick out of bed for eating crackers.

I’m talking about the dreaded, the lovingly loathed…SOCIAL MEDIA.

I know. I know. I’ve extolled the virtues of it in the past. I’ve told you how much I enjoy what it has brought into my life. I’ve waxed poetic about how we should try to grow as human beings and learn to use this fabulous new tool in our lives instead of shunning it like Luddites. But I’ve come back around to the corner of “stay” and “go.” And here I sit listing out the positives and grumbling about the negatives once again.


Over the weekend, I’ll be spending some time apart from my second favorite distraction and, hopefully, I’ll be able to articulate my feelings better on Monday.

Catch ya later, friends! Love on!

Practice at Bringing Things Back into Focus

I think there three kinds of people in this world: reporters, people to report about, and those that haven’t learned to accept who they are. I’m one of the ones that haven’t yet learned.

I don’t want to be a reporter. I’m uncomfortable there, looking into things, finding out what’s going on, jumping into what everyone else is doing, but I’m also afraid to walk away from the crowd. I’m afraid of being alone. I’m afraid that if I’m not out there watching and reporting, I’ll miss out on something important.

I believe that I want to be alone and creating, alone and thinking, alone and at peace with myself. What stops me? Why do I allow the other voices, the ones outside my own head, tell me what it is I SHOULD be doing, what it is I SHOULD be caring about?

I read the book “Essentialism” by Greg Mckeown last year and it began to change my outlook in positive ways. I just added it to my “re-read in 2020” list. Through it, I learned that I can pare down, not just my stuff, but my thinking and my obligations so that I can focus and do my best on what is most important to me specifically.

Everyone is different. Some people need the community, the feeling of being busy, the camaraderie, to be happy. It has only brought me anxiety and confusion. I want to be more outgoing, but it doesn’t serve me. It drains me and leaves little energy for me to create with. From the outside, it may look like I have plenty of time to help you with your project, but I don’t, not without sacrificing my own.

I need more quiet, reflective time, away from outside obligations. I can start by curbing my social media habit. I can’t sit among three hundred conversations and have a clear thought of my own. I’m reacting 90% of my week. It doesn’t feel conducive to creativity.

Funny…I know I’ve complained about this before, very recently. I’m not complaining this time. I’m making observations and (hopefully) adjusting a course. To start, I took the social media buttons off my phone’s main screen. I had to go find the button to open it, remember that I was looking out of habit, and it gave me the space to stop myself. It didn’t last long though. I noticed they were still at the bottom of my “recently used” screen and my brain rerouted the habit through there.

Over the weekend, I took a complete social media fast. That worked well. I just did not look until Sunday evening when I wanted to share something cool. I put the phone away and focused on working in the yard all day on Saturday until I was exhausted. And then Sunday was spent going out to breakfast and then shopping at Costco with my husband. Yes, that is considered one of our favorite dates! We go up and down every aisle just looking at things, laughing, and wondering if we need that or if it’s a good deal. I think we were there for three hours. We’re easily entertained, and we came out with a month’s supply of our favorite foods, a new whiskey to try (they don’t give samples of alcohol, whatever), and some new sheets.

I was feeling overwhelmed and addicted but I willfully chose to do something else than my habit. I didn’t have to make an announcement. I didn’t have to find a way to stop the app from working on my phone. I didn’t have to call in reinforcements to make me stop. I simply chose not to open the apps. I gave myself a goal and I achieved it. One day without any social media turned into two. It was the start of a new habit.

On Monday, I kept the ball rolling by making the choice to only post my article and spend thirty minutes over lunch replying and checking in with friends. Then I put it away. By Wednesday, I was scrolling here and there to occupy myself while I waited and then it snowballed. My time total on Wednesday was over an hour and a half, far less than in the past but still too much. On Thursday, I started first thing in the morning and before noon I was grumpily tapping away responses to people (in my journal, not online) instead of writing anything productive.

It’s Monday now and I’ve refocused once again. I’m looking for a reminder, like a bell when I meditate, that pulls me out of my unconscious habit and brings me back to what I choose to focus on. Like learning to meditate longer and longer, instead of getting angry or frustrated that my mind has wandered, I notice it and bring it back to my peaceful focus. Each time I do, the focus is sustained longer and longer. It’s practice. And practice makes progress.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén