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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

And then there are our phones. Oh, our phones. Those blessed, cursed, brilliant, soul-sucking devices. This little piece of plastic that stays near you at all times is, I feel, really at the bottom of all that I wrote before, and all I continue to write, and all the articles in the world that address being too busy.

So here is the thing that all my reading both told me and made me realize (after telling me multiple times). Phones keep us connected to work, meaning we are technically available 24/7 and occasionally peeking at it to make sure we aren’t missing anything “important”. They keep flashing news at us, keeping us constantly updated on the state of the world. And they connect us to social media. Which, I have been told and learn more and more, is a great way to keep up with family and friends on our own time, in our own way, without actually connecting with them. Not to mention all the pressure I wrote about in the last post.

As said in the shadow article, “And while we were formerly forced to largely work during regular work hours and shop during regular business hours, technology allows us to produce and consume 24/7. We never fully clock out from our “real” jobs, nor do we ever fully take a break from the marketplace. Even when we’re not actively engaging in shadow work, in the back of our mind there’s that ever-present niggling: Is there something I need to buy? Is there something going on I should know about? Should I check my phone? We’re always “on” and constantly mentally switching between roles.”

So, I recently spent a day away from my phone. A full 24+ hours. The number of times I reached for it was insane. The previous note was so true on constantly switching roles, constantly deciding whether to do something with my phone, stopping myself from doing it – it is exhausting and energy-draining.

But the life and energy I felt when I suddenly had so much more time in the afternoon and, even with the desire to check my phone, the pressure to check it being gone? It was almost exhilarating.

Hannah Brencher, author of Come Matter Here had an enlightening series of blog posts about social media burnout and phone addiction. And her article really got me thinking. She said, basically, you have burnout if you have the following symptoms:

  1. You’re constantly checking your phone (There is nothing more enlightening on this point than taking a day away from your phone – believe me. I just did it, as I mentioned)
  2.  You are avoiding your feelings (remember the comment I made about curling up on the couch avoiding what I thought I should be doing? Also goes for when I’m frustrated, or stressed, or don’t want to make a decision, or anything else.)
  3. You are not loving what you used to love (this point really spoke to me – you should read her description of it)
  4. You aren’t present anymore (You know all those friends who scroll through their phones while you are watching a movie “together”? Oh, wait – maybe that’s me . . .)
  5. You just don’t care as much (So true. I am starting to roll my eyes at all the “causes” out there. I don’t even want a cause anymore because I am always exposed to so much stuff on the internet that I can’t handle it anymore)
  6. You’re worshipping the pressure to be more (I already talked about this a lot previously).

So, the result of all this is – I’ve decided that my phone is the biggest culprit of my overwhelmed feelings, my lack of motivation, my loss of direction in life, and the feeling I will never be enough. Therefore, I’ve decided one day off my phone wasn’t enough and I am going to make it a goal to do phone-free-Fridays. I am going to try to take every Friday off my phone – and I know that isn’t realistic and won’t always be the case. But even if I take two Fridays a month, I think my life will be better.

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I debated between calling this Social Media Overload or the expectations one. I actually was going to make it two posts, and almost did, but the two are so closely connected, I decided it was too hard to keep them separate. Besides, I’m sure you are hoping I stop rambling at SOME point.

We all know that little ding on our phones. The one that says we got a new Facebook or Instagram notification, a text, or – what else does everyone use? Snapchat, that’s right.

And then there is this thing call FOMO. I have it pretty badly. It stands for Fear of Missing Out, in case you are lucky enough not to know what it is.  Every place I look there is social media bombarding me with all the things I might be missing out on.

I look at all these feeds, scroll through them, watch people’s lives via the version they present, hear so many opinions that half the time I don’t know what to think or believe anymore, and essentially get information overload on other people’s lives along with news.

Here’s the thing my brain technically knows, but it is hard to truly understand. Photographs are supposed to capture a moment. But they don’t. They capture an ideal. Families pose for photographs. Scenery is only captured when it is beautiful, not when it is ugly (unless we are going for the dramatic if a natural disaster has happened). Friends capture photos when they are having fun together. We take pictures of food successes, not disasters. Of houses after we get them clean, not of us sitting on the couch procrastinating beforehand.

I read blogs, see photos, look at news, watch movies, and think “I want that.” I want the perfect house, I want to be the perfect mom, I want to be able to crochet like that, I want to learn all the martial arts, I want to have a perfect answer when something political is discussed, I want to make sure my kids aren’t under socialized or don’t miss out on an opportunity, I need to go out with my friends like that. I should host a party too – everyone else does!

Basically, my standards are too high. And anyone who actually knows me is dropping their jaw right now because I am the queen of there-are-no-standards-too-high. But I am taking all the information overload that we get from the conveniences of today and applying them to myself.

I may no longer fully adhere to the ideal worker, technically, but I take those standards and apply them to myself in my personal life and standards.

One thing this research explained was even though it feels like I should be able to have it all, there is one finite resource – and that is time. I literally cannot fit in exercising, work, devotions and prayer, cleaning, cooking, master classes, writing, taking one or more of the numerous other classes I want to (dancing, martial arts, rock climbing, etc.), and still have leisure time and get enough sleep that I don’t feel exhausted in a single day. Oh, and don’t forget planning for the next social event! But all the information flying at me from social media and modern times tells me I should be able to. And believe me, I try. Until I get tired, and then I curl up on the sofa with my phone and scroll social media and play games while feeling guilty I am not currently working toward my lofty goals.

As Hannah Brencher says, “Social media will always try to convince you that you need to be more, do more, say more, care more— the list goes on and on. Because that’s the world we live in now. We no longer compare ourselves to the kids in class or the group of moms we meet up with on Tuesdays. We can compare ourselves to people everywhere at all times of the day. It never ends. And it will never be “enough” because someone will always have more, do more, be more, care more, and say more than you. It’s a never-ending battle.”

I think the best thing to do for the whole social media overload/expectations (although more on that later), is to disconnect from it. It took far more resolve than I can possibly admit, but I deleted my Facebook app several months ago and I’m pretty sure my content/happiness level went up by like 30 percent. I don’t possess the capacity to delete my Facebook account altogether because I need to be able to go look occasionally or post every now and then, and, really, how else will I know what my family is up to? All excuses, I know. But I still only visit it now when it is a purposeful move. When I actually want to check for something or post a specific status and I find myself on it usually no more than once or twice a week. And if I start scrolling through the feed instead of keeping it to what I went on for, I instantly feel my anxiety level rising.

I hear constantly that social media isn’t real – but it’s hard to actually register that. So I’m trying to work on removing it almost altogether. The other thing I did, was stop Instagram notifications. So, even though I still look at it every day, usually every time I pick up my phone, in fact, at least I do not automatically grab my phone if something happens, because I don’t know that it happened.

I’ll go more into it in the next post, but I realized more than ever that even with those corrections, social media and my phone still takes a lot of my time away from me. But more than that, my expectations both of myself and what I think others expect me to be take so very much of my energy and resources instead of me being able to spend it on what I actually want in life.

P.S. I just ran across this excellent post that’s so much more interesting than mine: http://thedirectiondiva.com/life-unplugged-the-reality-of-10-days-away-from-social-media-by-judy-davis-2/

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It has been  long couple months of travel. From May 25 to date, I have traveled to Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas, New York, Minnesota, and Cleveland and have another trip to Orlando scheduled in 12 days. Needless to say, I am beginning to feel a little exhausted. Today, especially, having worked 23 hours in the last two days, I am feeling just plain weary as I try to work through 12 pages of meeting minutes, reports, documentation that has fallen behind due to my trips, and prepare for the next trip. Energy seeps out of me at every additional outing, however small. But, life goes on and I would rather try to enjoy it than live for a time when I can just sleep and not move for a week. Thank God for the staycation earlier this year, though. 🙂

I have not touched my writing since sending that simpering, weak romance out for people to review – and no one has said anything about it yet. Thankfully I’ve been too busy to dwell on that too much and when I do think about it, I rather easily convince myself that they are simply too busy to read it yet. I’ll give it another couple weeks and then send out follow-ups asking for feedback, dreading the response. But it is time to get back to it. I am sure some of my weariness is due to not having put a pen to paper and letting out some of my emotions in my stories. And my mind wanders back more and more to Picture of the Past. I am ready to be done with it – eager to be done with it – and more than that, almost looking forward to the rest of the process of tearing it apart to make it better.

There are so many stereotypes and lessons learned and suggestions and best practices for writers that, when one does enough research and reading on it, it is enough to make even a hardcore writer give up with hands in the air. I try to follow them – sometimes. I have yet to be able to complete a profile on a character – because I feel like I am still getting to know them myself while I write it. And, as you all know, I keep starting, stopping, and re-starting an alternate blog dedicated to writing, since that is what all the experts say to do to “make your social media footprint”. Have a blog dedicated to one subject. Keep your readers coming back. Keep a schedule. Make it something that benefits them. And on and on. Ugh. No wonder I can’t keep it up. It drains me just thinking about it. So, after talking it over with my friends, I have decided to give it up. I am going to throw caution and best practices to the wind and do what I want to do. I am going to just keep this blog, because this is the one I like. I like the server, I like the audience, I like being able to write about whatever I please in any format I please without worrying about making it beneficial for the reader.

So, instead of continuing my blog in blogger (Ha! Continuing – I don’t think I’ve touched it in months), I am going to break down some more of my shell – and post this link in my social media profiles for people to find if they so desire. Someday I may even advertise it. Maybe. But above all, I am going to enjoy myself. Because that is why I write in the first place. I love writing. And I write for myself and my God, not for my readers. Why should I keep a blog for my readers?

Although that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment I feel when my posts get “likes”. So don’t stop. 😛

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