When technology became a STRESSOR instead of a means of connection/communication (as it was intended), I knew that something had to change. I would be at a coffee shop, or the library, or walking somewhere, and when my cell died... I felt RELIEF.
Not being able to refresh Instagram, or see the ping of a text, made me feel calm.
It's a weird thing to say for someone who has a "blog" but I started documenting things in this virtual home of mine before #selfie or #sponsored were even in our vocabulary. As a freelancer, I recognize that part of my job is to keep up with social media -- it's part of how I get work and promote pieces etc. And don't get me wrong, I DO LIKE a lot of the "good things" about it - I like having a timeline of photos to look back on fun memories + seeing what my pals are up to.
But as humans - we tend to take things to extremes - and I've hit my limit lately with my cell phone. It's sucking my soul and I'm spending my days reacting to this little device instead of being proactive in accomplishing bigger goals.
Without my phone dying on its own, I never physically shut it OFF. Do you remember the last time you did that for more than a day? Two days? A week? I've started self-imposed "PHONE BLACKOUTS" where I power it down for 24 - 36 hours to see how productive I can be. It's INSANE how much you can get done when your mind isn't twitching to refresh and respond. I also try to treat texts like emails, whereas I dedicate time to respond thoughtfully after I've completed my To Do list for the day.
Along with keeping up with the never-ending 24/7 freelance writing grind, I'm trying to publish a book... which is new (and exciting) territory but requires A LOT of re-writing/editing on top of my "day job." For me, it takes time to write something that I feel is worthy. Sometimes the words flow easily but usually it requires a lot of concentration and organization of thoughts for me to write something that I believe in (vs. fluff).
The problem is that I'm off-kilter with how society works -- we're in a fast-paced, speed-of-light world and I need TIME to SLOW DOWN and focus. I'm finding that when I do power back up my phone, I'm fielding internal guilt of alienating my friends/family/boyfriend with delayed responses and my lack of reaching out. I'm trying not to feel this way but it's hard when we're so reliant upon phones to keep in touch.
Sometimes I think back to early high school years (B.C. - Before I had a Cell) and how easy it was to concentrate on homework and hobbies after school or on weekends. When no one was on their phones (and group chats didn't even exist), everyone had endless time to focus on whatever they were doing in the moment. I wish we could go back to that time, maybe just once or twice a week - a UNIVERSAL PHONE BLACKOUT - where everyone lives without FOMO or worrying about what's going on inside these addicting devices.
I also really wish there was an "Out of Office" for text messaging (someone invent this pls!) that let people know I'm not IGNORING, I'm just in HIBERNATION mode ... without having to sound like a broken record after the fact explaining why I've been such a crappy friend lately.
My hope with this little tech tangent is just to inspire anyone who's feeling OVERWHELMED by it all and is looking for a way to be more PRODUCTIVE about getting sh*t done. A 24-36 hour phone blackout (min not max) and treating texts like emails are just a few of the best ways that I have found to FOCUS and move forward in accomplishing big goals.
Let me know if there's anything else you do in the comments below!!