We all know that social media has completely changed the dynamic of our society. Many of the walls and obstacles that entrepreneurs faced decades ago disappeared as the world has become more connected. As a business owner you face the constant balance of being available to connecting and sharing and being fully present in your own everyday life.
I mean, think about it, we’re the first generation navigating living our adult life, mothering and developing vision with social media as an element. So, what we do is a part of creating a blueprint of normalcy for generations to come. We’re essentially setting the example. The next generations will look back on us and say: “hey, this proved to be a good way of using a tool”, or they will look back on us as the cautionary tale of what not to do because the tool overtook us.
And yes, social media has the obvious benefits. You get to make relationships and discover like minded people, you can engage with potential clients, you can have a space dedicated to bring brand awareness and you can easily keep up and check in with people you don’t get a chance to see everyday, especially if they live far. These are all valued benefits. But, here’s the thing… those benefits start to justify a lot of behaviors that are let’s just say “less beneficial” yet becoming all to common.
It leads to things like…
Comparison - everyday you open up your mentality, your spirit, and your overall energy to an onslaught of everyones highlight reel. You can go online and feel one way and come off feeling a totally different way and most of the time is unconscious. But, your decisions and instincts start being influenced by it, which in turns creates a life of subliminal pressure of not living authentically and true to your own rhythm and value.
Or it can lead to:
Over inspiration - social media in itself can have you seeing or thinking 5 different thoughts in the span of a 3 inch scroll. One picture or tweet is talking about social injustice and now you feel pissed, then another is teaching the latest beauty contour trend to fix your nose, and now you’re side eyeing your nostril shape, and the following picture of a perfectly blended green smoothie someone had just reminds you that your breakfast was highly underachieving this morning, and that was just 20 seconds. Our minds switch so fast from one thing to the next that it’s overwhelming. For a creative it can be crippling, you get so inspired that you almost don’t know what to focus on.
Which then leads into:
Distraction - We scream constantly about not having time. The phrases “tired”, “all over the place” and “overwhelmed” are used all the time and most can’t seem to manage being available, keeping up, or follow through on things that actually matter to you, even vital things liking finding 10 minutes to mediate, praise and worship, journal or exercise… yet we can waste 4 times that popping around Instagram accounts or checking various platform you’re on. Funny part is, I promise you it’s more out of habit than actually caring or being stimulated. But, it’s single handedly stealing your potential and presence and on top of that.
Its allows for:
Bad communication skills and habits to become normal - It should not be normal that the first thing you reach for in the morning is your phone. Let’s be honest, that’s addiction and allowing technology to set your tone for the day. It also should not be normal to go out and hang out with people to just sit on your phone. It is not normal for your child or spouse to see you constantly with your face glued to a phone when you’re talking to them too… yet it’s now expected and accepted. And then when you finally do put the phone down, the influence can lead to another habit I refer to as:
Staging - the need to share and the outlet of sharing has the indirect consequence of creating the pressure to stage. Staging is when you take more to time to pose the circumstance around you for effect than actually experience it. It’s perfectly normal now to not even be able to drink a cup of coffee or eat out without rearranging the entire table to take a picture of the cup or plate so other people can like it. Yes, flat lays are beautiful but omg they are boring and corny. When I see them all I see is how long it took for them to position everything and the insanely awkward position they are probably in to take them. I’m not saying that stuff is bad or doesn’t serve a purpose, I mean my first business was photography based. i get the power of imagery and how flat lays are an element of modern visual marketing BUT when we personally hold ourselves to these unrealistic standards everything has an added layer of fraudulent fake influence on it.
And, all of that just results in everyday burnout, self doubt, peer pressure, influence and sometimes resentment and disgust. And, it all stems from letting the thoughts and appearances of others control you. You’re an adult, you don’t have time for that.
But, here are 4 ways you can control it’s space in your life.
1.Block out your social media time.
Create your own rhythm of when you go online and check or update your feeds. Shift your behavior to thinking of it as checking in and then fully checking back out. This allows you step in and step out of that world without constantly being available to the distraction of notifications. In fact turning off notifications is one of the most disciplined decisions you can make if you find yourself constantly on social media. You really don’t need them.
2. Have a plan
Decide on an approach for how you want to spend your social media blocks of time. If you’re just going on to mentally check out, that’s cool, just make sure to be conscious of how much you’re checking out for. Set a time if you have to. The same goes for if you’re going on for connecting and sharing. Have in mind the amount of time you want to do that for and stick to it.
3. Be real with yourself.
If social media is part of your content marketing or overall business connecting strategies, then definitely apply the above ways to keep it balanced. But, if you’re always going online just to scroll around or if it’s become an unconscious boredom habit then you need ask yourself: is this is the best use of my time? Literally ask yourself if looking in on the lives of what others are saying or doing means more than progressing your own. It’s totally your choice, but I’m pretty sure that there always something more productive or enriching things you could be doing with your time.
4.Keep it all in perspective.
The world is not going to stop if you don’t comment right back to something within the few minutes it was posted. It also will not stop if you don’t see what other people are sharing in real time constantly throughout the day. Whatever they shared can be seen later in the day or during your blocked out times, if at all. Will your day really be that much better by having to constantly keep tabs on everything going on? What does it really do for you? Be honest with yourself about the intention and motivation behind your social media behavioral patterns. What is it feeding?
It’s all in realizing you can create and determine boundaries. Social media can easily become a thoughtless habit, you end up checking it not even because you really care, you’re just used to having something to check.
About two years I decided to just create my own boundaries with it.
In addition to the list above, here are a few things I personally do. Everyone is different and i’m not saying these are THE way, but it just goes to show that you have permission to create your own boundaries however you want.
- I don’t take my phone in with me when I go places with Kevin or Luna, it stays in the car. Or, I just turn it off put it on silent in case I feel like I might need my phone with my in case of an emergency or when driving. Point is, the phone is not always available for me to grab or hear on purpose. I can check to make sure nothing tragic has happened as needed but i’m not attached to it.
- I turn off all notifications on my phone, I keep email on because I want to be available to my clients who have invested in me being available but other than that, I don’t get pulled out of my present when someone simply liked something on one of my accounts. When I make the decision to go on, I’ll see them and engage then.
- I take the social media apps off my phone. I have a wifi only tablet I barely use, but when I need to be on social media I use it from there. If I need to post or message something on my phone, I just simply redownload the app, do what I wanted to do and get rid of it again. I don’t lose my account but I also keep the gateway to it off my phone.
Now, I know some may think, well it’s just social media, but to many people it has become a leash they don’t even realize they are on, and I don’t do leashes, so for me I wanted to make sure it never had the chance to attach. Having a healthy perspective towards the amount of time and impact social media has on yourself with ensure that you maintain a sense of enriched wellness in your life. It may difficult to unplug at first, but I’m pretty sure you’ll start to experience new levels of your days and become addicted to that instead.
If you’re looking for tools to help you schedule or organize social media try utilizing CoSchedule, Hootsuite, Later, Tailwind or Buffer. They can help you maintain visibility and engagement even if you are offline.
Also, one added food for thought… Many of biggest players in the most influential circles and levels of business who are worth millions and billionaires sustainably have social media followers many influencers would be embarrassed by or they don’t even personally run their accounts. Just saying…