Every week I send an email to my accountability partner, listing things I’ll take care of in the upcoming week. She does the same. We have Alyson Stanfield to thank for our professional relationship, which has evolved into a fine friendship over the years. This week, “Stay away from the computer” was on my list, and my partner’s interest was piqued, admitting she had a little social media addiction problem, too.
I’ve copped to my addiction in the past, but never offered the concrete solutions I’ll offer in this post. WARNING: These concrete solutions can, and will at times, feel more like a pair of cement shoes.
I began to examine what is commonly referred to as FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – but needed to understand the ‘why’ behind our obsessive computer-seeking behaviour. I came to these conclusions about why we’re drawn to our divisives devices:
- We’ve formed real relationships with valued friends and connections through social media. I know I make it a point to learn things about everyone who is my friend or connection, and many other people do the same.
- Social media moves quickly. Feeds are live, so we can miss things if we’re not paying rapt attention. BTW, “get notifications” and prioritizing posts of people you don’t want to miss can help with this. THEN, the news will wait for you; you won’t need to chase it like a needy toddler.
- Sometimes, some of us, use this behaviour as a stress relieving, diversion tool. You know who you are. You plant your butt and endlessly watch videos. Everyone wants to see clips of guys being dragged across the street by power mowers or hero police dogs, right? Besides, it relieves stress and keeps us from cutting ourselves.
Delving deeper I was reminded of a sign a horrible, old boss had in the workplace. He was terrible because he cracked the whip on employee’s defenseless backs and he had no soul, but he did have this sign:
Well, you crusty old fart, you had something there, and it may even be the key to success. So, why, in spite of this monumental question, packed with wisdom, do we still have FOMO? You KNOW you’re more important than ALL of the trivial fodder on the device of your choice. Sooooo, how can you reclaim your life?
First assess what you want. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are my goals? Write them down. Make friends with them. Tell someone else. Set short and long term goals. Do it in a way that makes sense to you. If you’re really a superstar you might have a personal manifesto or a mission/vision statement. Don’t partake in activities that undermine your goals. Those activities, while they offer short-term relief, are the enemy.
- Ask yourself, are dancing goats, cats in boxes and things that make me reach for a tissue more important than my goals? Heck no! They’re time and attention thieves that will reduce you and your life to insignificance. Too harsh? Too bad! You’ve got to set boundaries….even for yourself! (click to Tweet)
- Realize you’re rewiring what’s important in your life and reducing it to a game of trivial pursuit. (Tweet THAT!) Protest the hi-jacking of your brilliant mind. Think of that focus as mental currency. What would it buy you if took your cash out of the Walmart of your mind and took that moolah to Bloomies instead?
So you see, both online and offline activities are important, but given the impact on your big, ol’ life, you should give priority to your goals. Since goals are long-term and your mind might be short term (I’m not judging, I’m just sayin’), it’s probably a good idea to have a solid list of things you want to accomplish each day to help you knock down those big ol’ goals.
It might also be a brilliant idea to post “Old Crusty’s” sign on your wall – perhaps near your workspace or wherever you sit to drain spend your time. You can download it here.
In a flash of lucidity, the qualities of successful people of this Internet- driven future became clear to me. It hasn’t change much from days of yore, but here you go:
Successful people of the future will:
- Make themselves and their goals their #1 work priority.
- Demonstrate self-love and self-discipline by controlling how they spend their time, while still nurturing the relationships which matter most.
- Make healthy and productive social media connections, and understand how to effectively balance on and off-line activities. For instance, schedule a limited amount of time for social media and computer activities. The Internet is a tool…it is not a life.
- Protest activities that undermine the words in Old Crusty’s sign. “Successful people master the art of saying “no,” giving meaning to a new “Protest–ant work ethic.”’ (click and Tweet that one!)
This is not to say we don’t need breaks, recreation and laughs in our lives. Balance is essential to a Well Lived Life. But, come on, admit it,
These things make us feel good for a short time – but they steal from the activities and personal relationships that fulfill our real-life dreams and our life’s mission.
The world is vast and full of wonderful people, with wonderful ideas and things to share.
Be one of them.
I’ve just re-worked my art website – you can take a peek here!
Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to share tips for a well-lived life and a finely run art business…just for you!
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