There is no doubt that the world's head is spinning thanks to all the loud conversations happening in the news and on social media networks right now. I have never seen more media hysteria than in the past couple of weeks. Coming from a journalism/news background I can't tell you how thrilled media organizations are that everyone seems so obsessed with news and social media right now. Hysteria and panic always mean they are raking in the bucks and that they are managing our time and thoughts rather than us taking control of our own lives.
Due to my own concerns and inspiration from several friends I am really taking a hard look at how I spend my time on my phone, computer and on social media networks. I have also been thinking a lot about how many small projects I need to get accomplished on our home and how many of those I could complete in those 20 minute increments I often spend scrolling on my phone for nothing earth-shatteringly important.
So this week I started pushing myself to set the phone done and complete projects. Thus far I have completed five or six of those little projects that have been on my list for days, weeks, months and feel good about the accomplishments and in a weird way I feel better about myself. I think that is both because I am spending my time more wisely and I feel good when I accomplish something important to me.
So here are a few things I'm doing to be a healthier consumer of social media and manage my phone/computer time:
1) I turned off notifications on my phone. I started with Facebook, which I think is currently the most stressful social media network due to all the fake news and rants. Now I don't feel obligated to continually check my social media feeds all day. Conversations of little importance can wait. It's so nice not to have those notifications beckoning to me all day long. I don't miss them a bit.
2) When I do need to get on the phone or computer I try to stick to the task I came for, rather than falling down the rabbit hole of wasted time following unintended activities. I can't tell you how often I get on my phone, realize I have just wasted 10 minutes and have no idea anymore what I got on my phone for in the first place. Ugh.
3) I started deleting accounts I was following that aren't important to me. This included some accounts that have become constant rants of hysteria, topics I'm no longer interested in or that were never that important to me in the first place. This feels very good and again I'm not missing anything. Limiting the noise makes enjoying the inspiring, good stuff all the better!
4) I avoid reading posts that are just going to upset me. I think sometimes we just love to get in there and read things that will get our blood boiling for no real reason at all other than to get fired up. I'm leaving those links alone because they stick with you, agitate you and are usually just written to grow and spread anger.
5) I am choosing to do other more valuable things with my time. As I mentioned, I have made a list of little projects I can do around the house. When I am tempted to turn to my phone, I check my list to see what I could accomplish in the same amount of time. I have almost finished my tea towel framing project, I also got a few holiday things better organized, continue to improve our family room, did some major clean up and organization of our home reno tool work bench/storage cupboards and move some things from a jammed up closet to our attic. Each of these activities took from five to thirty minutes and they felt like huge progress. The more I accomplish, the easier and easier it is to leave the phone alone.
6) I recognize that smart phones and the internet are addictive. I have always been really against being so stupidly attached to a smart phone. I used to laugh watching coworkers walk into walls or crash into other people while their eyes were glued to their screens. But even with that intellectual commitment to "not be those people", I still find myself too attached and it's totally wrong to be limiting kids "screen time" while setting a bad example ourselves. Our kids and other people are watching us...even our dog is annoyed when I'm on my phone screen.
7) I am reading a book! I have three magazines that have come in over the past couple of weeks that I haven't even cracked yet. I also have two new books waiting for me. Right now I am enjoying reading The Magnolia Story by Joanna and Chip Gaines. It feels like I might be the last person on earth to read it, but it's an entertaining, easy read and honestly it feels good to hold a book in my hands and be reading something larger than a 6" screen! More printed material please!
Spending less time online, whether via smart phone or laptop is a good thing I think and it definitely feels good the more I work at it. I'd love to hear what measures yo may have taken recently to help control the influence of your phone on your life -- or what have you been doing all along that has kept you from wasting a lot of time online.