The end of 2018 came and I realized that every day I was spending the majority of my time checking social media. I was either checking to see what my profiles looked like, what I needed to add next, checking my friend’s profiles to ensure they were killing it or living their best life and the worst, I was comparing myself to the 100s upon 1000s of influencers. My anxiety got the best of me. You see, when I went to university I dove head first into every single thing I could. I signed up for every club, extracurricular, and networking event I could. I did 150% in my classes… you asked for 200 sketches here is 250… You want a quick update presentation… here is a video and I’m going to come in my suit. I used to go to my portfolio class in business professional wear, because if I dressed successful, I felt successful, and I would perform successfully. I then graduated and dove head first into working, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, China, trips three out of the four weeks in a month. Synthesizing on planes, writing blogs and planning our companies social media strategy in Airports, on top of all of my actual tasks of building presentations, researching, and strategizing. I was unstoppable. Until of course my lack of energy overcame my passion. I came back from a long 3 week trip around the world (it sounds ridiculous because it was) and I didn’t care about anything. Ask me the future of design thinking… I don’t care… Fjord’s 2019 trends… don’t care…
This was the first time I really said I don’t care to something I was passionate about. I gave myself 24 hours to cry, mope, and wallow in self-pity, and then I got up, packed my bags and headed to SHiFT Camp. On my way to the airport, I found that I have this need to share productivity on my social media and I follow all of these people who are always on and never relax. So I gave myself a goal to delete social media apps for the three-ish weeks remaining in the year to refocus my drive and rediscover my passion. and I did it and I learned a lot about myself and the world of social media.
I am a social media addict.
It’s so easy to say, yeah I’ll delete my social media and love it! I cannot tell you how many times I opened up my United Airlines app because it moved into the spot that my LinkedIn app was. Or how many times I opened up a game on my phone because that is the autopilot spot to Instagram. I would sit in scenarios and become incredibly fidgety and uncomfortable without the ability to check it.
My sleep is a lot deeper without social media.
I’m sure there are a lot of reasons behind this. But since I deleted my social media, I have had more REM cycles and my percentage of deep sleep has increased. (Shoutout to the app: Pillow for tracking my sleep every night)
I was able to focus on a conversation better.
When talking on the phone or in person to mentors or friends I found myself actually listening and focusing. Most of the time I would say I have the attention span for about 70% of a conversation.
I was able to focus on what is important.
Although it took a lot of deep conversations and what my friend would call squirming, I was able to work through some of my frustrations and energy depleters to rediscover what I value. I was able to really discover what drains my energy and I learned that is it okay to get rid of it from my life. I really love design and strategy, but my life was cluttered was too many things that were not important. In 10 days, I was able to find that passion and fight in me.
I don’t need social media for inspiration.
I used to think I got all my inspiration from social media, but it's not true. My creativity and inspiration comes from within me. If I can stop cluttering my energy with other things, it would shine through more often. In just a 10-day break, I had two business plan ideas, I worked on my website, wrote three blogs, and helped friends with their design needs.
So what does all of this mean?
Social Media is great because you can share with the world with a click of a button. But if you’re only following positive, constantly working people, you will burn out. You will burn out because you will spend too much of your positive energy second-guessing and always wanting more.
The world needs more honesty and vulnerability. My friend is starting this little goal or challenge where he is going to write down 3 things that were positive or went right each day. To me, it is a reminder to appreciate where you are. Sometimes, you just need a break from social media. Sometimes you need to focus on what is in front of you whether that be the person you’re talking to or the task you’re completing. It is okay to self evaluate, and I encourage y’all to do it more often. Take a look at what is giving you energy and what depletes it, and then cut out the depleting energy sources.