Take a deep breath. Relax. Close the laptop. (After you finish reading this, of course.)
You do NOT have to look, act, write, decorate, or live like any of it.
How many blog posts have you read today? How many how-to articles, status updates, tweets, photos, infographics, or pins have you taken in? Do you remember any of it? Did anything in particular stand out? Is it all just a great big blur? (Yes.)
I have a confession: I’m a Pinterest junkie. Yep, I could spend a good chunk of my day browsing, liking, pinning, and re-pinning images, articles, top ten lists, and tutorials, much to the detriment of, well, me. Maybe I haven’t cooked a real dinner yet (cereal doesn’t count), but I have pinned plenty of healthy and creative recipes, and that counts for something, right?
Even though I try NOT to do that, everything is still right at my fingertips, from Pinterest to Facebook to everything in between. (Thanks, iPhone.) If I’m waiting for someone, standing in line, or even killing time during a commercial break or before a movie, I’ll bust out the 4G glory and go to town.
Here’s the problem: I’m overwhelmed. And a little bit jaded.
I’m so inundated by blog posts, status updates, and images of perfectly-decorated homes and disgustingly-fit bodies in bikinis that I’ve begun to take those things — those ideals — and uphold them as the norm. It’s over-stimulating, the perfection. Everything is designed just right, styled just right, staged just right. How will my work, my hair, or my home ever stack up to any of that?
When we live constantly in the social media bubble, we fall into the comparison trap. We see what everyone else has and does, and then we feel like we don’t measure up. Or worse, we feel better than others because of what we see. Neither result is good.
Lately I’ve found that simplifying my surroundings, even in small ways, is very freeing. It relieves stress and clears my mind.
So here are a few things I’m going to try to simplify my virtual life:
- De-clutter my email inbox by unsubscribing to things I never even open.
- Clean out my bookmarks and categorize them so they’re easier to find.
- Pare down each category to the 5 to 10 sites I actually read.
- Unfollow pages that are no longer relevant to my interests or life.
- Delete apps from my phone that I don’t find useful or inspiring — and that simply waste my time and digital space.
- Designate a small chunk of time during each work day to use social media to benefit my business.
- Set a deadline for each day, after which I don’t use my laptop at all.
I’m going to try. I really want to live more simply and unburdened, and I think reducing clutter in all areas will help me get there.
Maybe we can learn to selectively yet faithfully follow only what inspires us, motivates us, and makes us think, not what drains us or causes us to dislike our own homes, bodies, and lives. It’s okay to admire, but don’t let jealousy take root. Inspiration is positive; comparison is not.
I would even ask you not to read my own blog unless you found it helpful, entertaining, or inspiring, unless it was beneficial for you personally.
Make wise decisions about what you ingest physically, mentally, visually. Decide what is good for you and make it part of your life.
Don’t waste your time on what doesn’t matter.