The Joy of Missing Out: Setting Intention With Your Social Media Usage
*record scratch* Hold on, a social media marketing company telling you to… use less social media? Yep, you read that correctly. Let’s take a minute to go against the grain.
Your Social Inventory
Have you read the article about people getting horns on the back of their heads from using their phones too much? Yeah, we’re not sure how scientifically founded that is, but it’s a great reminder to check in with yourself and consider your intentions behind the scroll!
Here are some questions you might find helpful to ask yourself:
Who are you following?
Why are you following them?
How do they make you feel?
It’s easy to let your feed be crowded with all sorts of “inspo” and motivational posts, especially with influencer marketing being so prevalent. Don’t get us wrong, these people can be great sources for information, leadership, community, and so much more.
The trouble comes with having a constant, bottomless supply of tailored images that are oh-so-easy to compare yourself to. Try to remember that you’re seeing their highlight reel, while you are so very aware of your own bloopers. If you notice your thoughts become negative and self-critical after checking your Instagram, take a break! It’s okay to take a step back, mute or unfollow them for a little while, and re-evaluate later on.
Beware the Mindless Scroll
It is so, so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of social media. Combined, those small hits of dopamine from each funny tweet, Instagram post, status update, or whatever app suits your fancy, are enough to keep you scrolling for hours (trust us, we know). Not to mention that innate desire to see every post, for fear of missing out on something interesting at the bottom of your feed.
Yet, it doesn’t stop there! Even after seeing the “You’re All Caught Up” banner stating we’ve seen every post from the last 3 days, we still itch to see something new and scroll, scroll, scroll. This doesn’t happen all the time, and when it does, we’re usually procrastinating (oops), but it still happens. So what then?
Be honest with yourself. Is there a task you’re avoiding? Is something stressing you out? Are you simply… bored? Consider how you could use your time more effectively. And no, not in a critical way. If you’re stressed, why not practice some more in-depth self-care and seek relief, not distraction.
If you’re procrastinating, try breaking up whatever project into smaller, more feasible tasks that feel less daunting but still propel you forward. If you’re burnt out, check in: Are you sleeping enough? How have your eating habits been? Are you exercising? Is your body trying to hint at something your mind has been too busy to acknowledge?
In this day and age, there is so much pressure to always be on (and online!). That the grind should be never-ending. That if you take breaks, you aren’t working hard enough. The concept of the incessant hustle is, quite frankly, toxic. When you’re overworking yourself, you’re not working efficiently, your creativity suffers, and the things you’re normally passionate about become chores. Especially as an entrepreneur. Yes, you love your business! Yes, you love the work you do. Yes, you are so passionate and it shows. But the same energy you put towards making your business thrive should be put towards making you thrive too! It’s not easy, but it’s incredibly worth it.
There are lots of tools available to make your screen time a little more mindful. Instagram itself has a few great ones. The mute button is a great function if you’re faced with the all too familiar guilt of unfollowing someone you know in real life. Worse if they actually bring it up… yikes.
Try turning your notifications off for a while. You check your device frequently no matter what, so limit that buzzing to keep your focus elsewhere.
The daily reminders to manage your time are also very helpful, to alert you after a certain period of use. Sometimes the timers can be a little bit annoying, but let them serve as small reminders to find value in the time you spend away from your devices.
Here are some suggestions to make your offline time feel a little more rewarding!
Make your favourite supper.
Read a book (revolutionary, right?)
Go to an exercise class!
Take a walk ..in the river valley, perhaps? #yeglove
Go for coffee with a friend (or with yourself!)
That hobby/skill you’ve always been interested in but never attempted? Try it!
Clean your house!
Walk your dog! Or, go to the Edmonton Humane Society and walk one of theirs! Just don’t get too attached.
Really, all of these activities boil down to an opportunity. An opportunity to re-centre, reconnect with your friends, family, yourself, and take stock of your mind, body, and emotions. The digital realm is this huge, incredible resource for all sorts of knowledge and community. It’s a creative haven and a never-ending encyclopedia. And it’s not going away. Log off. It will all still be there when you get back.
We really just want to underline the intentional use of social media and the internet. Use it to spark joy (hello, Marie Kondo!) and connect and learn and inspire. Don’t let it become cluttered with comparison or make you feel small. Use it for the great resource that it is, be grateful it exists, and be grateful for everything offline, too.