When your livelihood depends on your relevancy online and social media, it can be scary to take a break. Will you lose followers? Will brands notice that you’re MIA and not hire you? Will your page views and uniques go down? Will people forget about you?
Trust me, I know how you feel. Even during the busiest times, I tried to at least put up a post once a week on my blog. I also made sure to post at least one Instagram image and Facebook post a day. Content creation was always on my mind.
But after my Neutrogena post, I took a break. I needed to. I had a few things that required my absolute undivided attention, including my relationship. I don’t dive into my love life very much online because – in this world of TMI – I cherish my privacy. But if sharing my story will help you or anyone out there from the demise that is digital over-consumption, then it’s well with worth the share.
Social media and relationships
My prior job required me to be “on” all-the-time. I was the social director for an influencer marketing and events agency for several years. Building a strong community and working with brands on marketing campaigns required a lot of online activity on my part. If I wasn’t on, I constantly felt the pressure that I would miss a comment or reply that could possibly “make or break” the business. Because, seriously, the moment I did unplug, it seems like that’s when “something” would always happen. I loved my job but it was starting to take its toll on me.
I’m no longer a social director and have since started my own digital marketing company. Although I don’t need to be “on” in the same capacity, I found that the habit of checking for updates was hard to break.
Related: Being an extroverted introvert
Nothing in life is without consequence and turns out that this little habit was slowly impacting the communication in my relationship. Let’s face it, there’s always a reason to be online, right? There’s always someone chatting with you. There’s always comment. There’s a potential client out there. There’s always a news update. The internet will give you plenty of reasons to not be present. In fact, habitually using your phone will spin you off into an attention deficit abyss, which does and will affect your communication in the real world. I was on a mental speed all the time. Go, go, go. Now, now, now. As much as I meditated and tried to slow it down, my brain was going 100 miles a minute consuming quips of content that required no emotional attachment. Do this enough, and it does change your brain. Do this enough, and the people around you will grow increasingly frustrated. Do you blame them?
I didn’t like the way I started to feel. I didn’t like the way it made my fiance feel. So I decided to make changes and set boundaries. But first, I needed to just clear my mind from all of it so that I could come up with a plan that will be both beneficial to my business and relationship.
I created social media hours during the day and I’m off the grid in the evenings. If a potential client reaches out, I reply in the morning. If a friend needs me right away, they have my home number. This simple move has drastically improved my attention span in a short amount of time. When my fiance is telling me a story, I can actually focus on what he’s saying. Sounds small, but that’s huge when you’ve been in such a fast-paced digital world.
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Great thing about our brain is that it’s malleable and will respond to our lifestyle choices, physiology, and environment. Also, I find that I’m more productive setting limits on social media because I know only have a short amount of time to make an impact.
If you’re feeling the social media rat race and consuming way too much Gary Vee (who I respect but find to be very unrealistic for women trying to juggle careers and family), give yourself a much needed break to regroup. Your priorities must always be you and your family. That time is sacred. You can still kill it online and set boundaries. It’s all about being intentional and present in everything you do and making the most out of your work hours.