In a world where every minute of our lives is connected to some sort of digital device, and leading a public relations agency where being on top of all things is crucial, it’s no wonder that sometimes I find it hard to disconnect. But this past year I think I’ve done a pretty good job at it! And while this does not mean I’ve gone on an island with no reception for a week (I could never do that) – I’ve found some easy ways to “unplug”.
- Live in the moment. As a parent, I’ve become accustomed to taking out my phone to take photos of my kids. And while I’m at it, and because they are oh so cute, I may as well post that photo on Instagram. We all do it. But recently, I’ve slowly stopped taking out my phone so often, and therefore haven’t been posting as frequently. I’m pretty sure that while I may forget some silly moments and poses, I won’t forget the joy that my daughter experienced the other night when she came home to proudly tell me she is competing to be class president. I also won’t forget last night, when we stayed up way past bedtime to make flyers together, so she can increase her chances of winning the election. Or the other day when we meandered around Vancouver’s Granville Island and the kids were playing at a playground, on the swings, running and laughing so loud. Or the fun dinner we had at home where my son happily declared “mommy your food is the best!” Those moments – pictures or not, posted on social media or not – will always be fresh in my mind. Most especially because I chose to be right there, in the moment. Not trying to fumble with my phone, while checking two emails and responding to a couple of texts. Not trying to find the right filter to share it so that it looks perfect. Just being there with them, and experiencing the moment together, was all I needed.
- Plan your social media session. Now when I do check my phone – and my Insta feed (and once a week Facebook) – I do so knowing how much time I plan to be on it and make it a point to do so in between other activities. For example, before I come into the house at night I always check my phone, scroll through Instagram and other social networking accounts to make sure I’m on top of things. But once I’m inside, I usually silence it for about an hour to spend quality time with the family after being gone from home the entire day. An hour later, I will peek at it again – knowing I only have about 10 minutes before the kids go to sleep and I have to go upstairs and read books or say goodnight. This self- imposed monitoring allows me to check on stuff without going down the rabbit hole and looking at some random profile for an hour. It’s a way of determining ahead of time when I will check social media and for how long. This ensures less wasted time and more focused check-ins ? This may not be how many people want to think of social media, but it’s really helpful when you are trying to be aware of where your time goes.
- Finally – get out of perfect mode. I realized that the more I worried about how a picture looks or a situation feels, the more time I spent on it trying to make it just right. So yes, most of my photos are either unfiltered or with minimal changes. This is not to prove a point, and it’s not part of some intricate social media strategy. It is for the sole purpose of sharing my reality. If the purpose is to share with friends and family what I’m up to – then they should see the real deal – and not a perfected filtered version of that.
So, there it is – less time making perfect, less time endlessly scrolling, and more living in the moment. All of this has helped me grasp reality, be more in tune with the people around me and have a lot more fun. Now go try something that works for you!