Friday, October 18, 2013

On Social Media Strike!

Hah, OK. I'm not really on strike.

More like a hiatus, or sabbatical, or fast.

I've been thinking a lot about doing this, lately, but it took this long to work up the will. But in contemplation of my goals to be more satisfied in my work and home lives, more productive, more organized, and pursuing more minimalist goals as well -- I've determined that a social media fast might be just the thing I need to kickstart a decluttering of the mind.

It's just so easy to be snarky or insightful for a minute or two. And flipping down through a Twitter or Facebook stalker feed, catching up on the lives and interests of 600 or so of my closest friends... well, there's just no way to keep up with it. And the next thing I know, I'm trying to not re-share or retweet EVERY interesting thing someone's said, but there are over 600 of you, so even the most-interesting of the interesting starts to really pile up over a day. It's not like the addiction has impeded my productivity at work - I'm above all goals in quality and production. But I could do better, and I'm not, because I'm a walking exhibit on ADD thanks to all the mental clutter.

And then I go to finish a poem, or a story, or start or finish a blog draft, and I only get as far as a few sad, partly formed paragraphs. I try to select freelance projects, and I'm not listening to myself enough to know which ones I really should take on, versus the ones I just think I should take on or feel obligated to do. Also, that's putting it kindly, because all the freelancing I've done so far was for free, and the closest things I have to portfolio-able samples in the last half decade are some proposals and some Powerpoint presentations.

So I came to a few conclusions and have started some experiments.

1) I'm not working on any projects right now, outside of my full-time job. The job, though, has been extending some social-media updating opportunities (HOW EXCITING!), I've gotten involved in some publication planning meetings, I've got some professional development meet-and-groups lined up with various departments I might branch into, I've planned and executed a special event for my department, and I'm helping with orientation presentations starting next week.

Whew, this is plenty! And I'm grateful. I have been looking into elance and fiverr, and tinkering with a website, sort of an online business card with work samples and, eventually, testimonials. But for at least the next few weeks, no pursuit of freelance is taking place. This will give more time to do more in terms of volunteering and/or activist work.

2) I've installed the LeechBlock add-on to Firefox on my work computer, to help enforce my week-long "no social media" goal. It's been just half a day at this point, and I haven't shown any jonesing-addict symptoms. I have, however, felt slightly more wakeful and more engaged in what's right next to me. I feel totally clueless in terms of what news stories are going on because I have not even checked the news. I bantered instead for those first five minutes before it's time to clock in and get to work. So, oddly, I feel both more connected and in-control, and less so, at the same time.

3) I'm going to keep journaling my experiences, and any changes I notice, each of the 7 days I go without social media. Probably not all 7 days will wind up here, but I'll try to at least summarize my findings.

4) I'm also going to read and meditate for at least 20 minutes each every day, and get at least half an hour of exercise every day. A considerable boost from the half an hour every other day that I mostly, but not always, keep up on. This vessel I'm in deserves better. I've already been doing better in terms of cutting down processed foods and sodas, and drinking more water. And I don't want to change too much, too drastically. I'm already taking on a lot of change here.

5) For a portion of each day, I'm going to work on doing another cull of my stuff. I've gotten so much pared down in the last year, but I still feel too much like the stuff I own is owning me. I still engage in too much recreational window shopping, which too often results in buying. I'm never going to afford even a tiny house, if don't save more. Saving more often comes as a direct result of being content with enough.

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