August 29, 2012

My blog gave me ADD

there's a reason my hair isn't in this picture.

This here little blog's birthday is coming up next month, and I would like to reflect for a moment upon what the last two years of addiction to passion for blogging and social media have done for me.

Besides all of the wonderful things, which I would not like to discuss here today, the birth of this blog and hence my deep immersal into all things Internet and Social Media related has given me one gnarly, gnarly case of ADD. Now that I am launching my own business, I'm realizing more than ever just how severe the case really is as I try to get legit, people-are-paying-me-to-do-this-work work done.

I used to be able to concentrate sometimes. I used to be able to spend more than 10 consecutive minutes on one project, or heck, one THOUGHT. That is no longer the case. Most of the time I feel like there are 4 million thoughts bouncing around my head all at the same time, and an even greater number of overall distractions when I'm trying to work on something.

Phone calls. Emails. Texts from friends. Twitter.  Facebook. Instagram. The four tabs I have open on Chrome or Safari. My mom FaceTiming me since now we both have iMacs and she knows I'm always on my computer. ;)  (love you Mom.) I actively participate in all kinds of communication media, but I'm also addicted to the feedback,  which prevents me from just setting it down and concentrating on what I need to concentrate on, whether that's cleaning my house, tackling my inbox, editing photos, or making progress on some other project.

It. Is. Bad. I find myself having very few original thoughts anymore. Or really, very few real thoughts at all, because I don't even allow myself time to just sit and be. Red stop light? What a perfect time to check my email or Facebook or Instagram or return a text. Toilet break? Same deal. Cooking dinner? The phone is nearby, you can bet your behind on it. Bed time? Excellent opportunity to read blogs! Alarm just went off in the morning? Why don't I wake my mind by skimming some emails. I cram information into every iota of time in my day, but is it really even information, or is it just mindless consumption of pictures and text? I think it's more the latter, and like I said, also a way to feed my addiction to feedback. Holy crap, I just wrote that sentence and then clicked over to Facebook to see if there was anything interesting going on. ADD, I tell you. The Internet did it to me.

Sometimes I imagine how incredibly productive I could be if I focused on one and only one task at a time. Left my phone downstairs while I'm working, or just turned it face down on silent.  Prayed in the car, instead of checking my email at every light. I even listen to audio books on long drives now--I told my mom it's so I don't have to be alone with my thoughts. Ha. But what if we do? What if we all just leave ourselves alone with our thoughts for a while? Close the other tabs. Turn down the music. What would happen? Would our writing be better? Would we have more time for the people we love? Would we feel happier, and more fulfilled? I think it'd be worth a try, anyway.

One last thing. Back when I was doing all my pre-reqs in college, I had to take two torturous algebra classes. Had to. No choice. And as someone who has always been much more of a creative, writer type, these classes were extremely challenging for me, as all math classes always were. But the thing about math and numbers is that you are absolutely FORCED to concentrate (if you want an A, anyway). And I did want an A. So I studied harder than I'd ever studied for anything else in my life, because everything else came easily for me. But math--not math. I spent hours every night pouring over my homework, sometimes crying over it, but my brain was getting the most incredible workout of its life, and towards the end of my second semester of Algebra, which was the far more challenging one, I felt like my mind was razor sharp. I can't even really explain it, but it's an experience that I'd never had before. That razor sharpness translated into every other aspect of my life. It was awesome.

All that to say, I now feel the complete and utter opposite of sharp. I feel like a blunt object. The sword I once was versus the fat plastic baseball bat I am now.  And I don't like it. I want my brain back. I want to still be able to enjoy reading blog comments and participating in social media and sometimes check my email throughout the day, but I think I may have to come up with some ground rules for myself, and then keep them.

So now it's a quest, and you're welcome to join me. A quest to ditch the ADD, and sharpen up again. What if we were all more intentional with our time and even our thoughts?  What if we started each day by meditating and praying quietly with our coffee, instead of zombie-ing out over Instagram and Facebook for iPhone (or whatever your vices may be, at whatever time of day). I think positive change in the future starts simply by visualizing that change--seeing it vividly in your imagination. Focusing on it... focusing on something! Cutting out the proverbial fat.

We'll get there, people.

88 comments:

  1. Oh Jenni - you read my mind. I was just thinking about how terrible I've become regarding technology and social media. The second I have a 'free' second, I'm checking one thing or another. I'm with you on this one - I need to start making a conscious decision to cut back, to think and to sharpen up! I'm glad I won't be alone in this battle!

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  2. DITTO! Especially now that I work in social media I feel like I can't stop doing a ton of things that I end up not doing anything. I will gladly join!

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  3. I agree with Jay above me and with you as well. You got me when you said that your alarm clock goes off and you check your phone, yeah same here! It's bad...I know I could get a lot more done if I left my phone in the other room while doing something or turned it on silent. I'm not a mom so I shouldn't have the need to keep my phone by my side 24/7, right?

    I'm definitely going to try spending my time more wisely and quit being so addicted to this darn thing!

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  4. Be still my heart. Are you reading into my inner most thoughts, Jenni? I just had a conversation with the hubs about this same tiring topic while we were lying in bed enjoying room service in London. I got a ding on my phone and just as I went to see what form of social media was beckoning me this time...D slapped the phone right outta my hand. He said "Your missing all the good stuff, babe"...meaning my comfy bathrobe, the delicious plate of risotto on my lap, and the quiet conversation with him I should have been having. I felt about small. Blogging, tweeting, "liking", and most importantly, being "liked" has taken over my brain, too. I totally accept your challenge to sharpen up, girl! It's really for the greater good of my sanity...and most recently, my marriage. I even started setting the alarm on my beloved iPhone to go off at 11:30 each morning for quiet time. Getting right with the Big Man, an important thing, you know? That 30 minutes has brought me so much peace this week...it's amazing.

    Oh and side note...you'll be happy to know I never did figure out who 'dinged' me that night. D's convincing argument won out over the iPhone and we watched oodles of horrible British TV and laughed till our stomachs hurt. Baby steps. ;)

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  5. That should read...I felt about -this- small. Stupid iMac. Kidding! I love it. :)

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  6. Oh, this one hits hard...in a great way.

    I forgot my phone at home recently (still surprised that was possible) and I felt really awkward at first. It's sobering to realize how much I feel the need to occupy every second of my time.

    My friends and I sometimes do this challenge when we all go out to dinner together - we leave our phones face down on the table. Whoever reaches to check their phone first has to pay for everyone's meal. It's funny and effective and we enjoy each other's company more.

    I'm glad you wrote this :) My brain feels like a puddle of unfinished thoughts lately, and it's so good to step back and re-evaluate.


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  7. I've had to cut back on blog-related business, because I just started to feel like I was being swallowed whole. Nothing traumatic or life-altering, but I could feel the strong pull. A pull away from LIFE. Not good. I'm also starting grad school in three weeks, and I absolutely need to focus on that. No ifs, ands, or buts. :-)

    I'm definitely on the intentional living kick with you!

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  8. This is JUST what I have been struggling with lately. I have become addicted to any kind of notification or attention I get on the internet. I find myself, when I first wake up in the morning, rolling over to check email, facebook, twitter, instagram...make it stop!

    Oh if you have any sort of game plan to moving towards a more sane life, please let the rest of us know. I would love to jump on board.

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  9. Nail on the head, sister! You must have been reading my thoughts! I have been struggling with this lately. Oh I must check my Instagram every 15 seconds, how many people liked that photo, how many comments do I have today and soooo on. I know I have to chill out, but it can be so hard! But I am willing to try!

    I always listen to book tapes in the car and I have recently turned them off in the mornings and just spent that time praying. Slow and small changes can make all the difference.

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  10. I'm going through the same thing. I feel busy all day, but busy being distracted. Keeping up with the timeline, checking email...blah blah. I'm tired. I need to start letting my free moments be a little more free and being more present in my life. I blame smart phones. I don't think Id be so glued if it was only available on my computer. But u could never give up my iPhone now either. Double edged blunt swords huh?

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  11. i can totally relate to this. sometimes i think that i spend far too much time checking my phone, going on the computer, editing photos instead of just enjoying living my life.

    so i try not to check them at the weekend i let myself check them like three times a day and then that is it--we shall see if this have positive effects :)

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  12. I'm only saying this because I am experiencing it myself: this might be early signs of a burnout/fatigue depression. You're doing the right thing slowing down, taking time off from something that you love. I got rid of my smartphone 6 months ago, and it was the best thing I could do. I'm so much more present here and now.

    lyckoland.blogg.se

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  13. it is such a vicious cycle. i feel if it isn't one thing, it is another. i spent so much time on social media when i really can be spending it on other areas in my life. things that are actually more important.

    i guess the first step is admitting and then the second step is actually doing something about it.

    my social media time has decreased a bit. i still enjoy it but i don't allow it to consume me anymore. i don't have the time to waste. time is passing me by.

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  14. I had read various people's thoughts on this idea of really missing out on the truth of connection and interaction lately. It makes me sad to think I feel exactly how you feel. Like a bit plastic bat, wanting her brain back. Sadly, I want my bfs brain, and attention back too. I wish a revolution of sorts would start, kind of like the "back to basics" that happened when people financially got stressed, I feel like it would be wonderful to have to go back to good ole fashioned interactions and focused time with ourselves and with others. I want to join you Jenni, maybe today will be the day I abandon my twitter account, maybe facebook could follow.

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  15. Everything you are saying is so true. I think my smart phone was my down fall. It makes it way to easy to to stay connected. I wish I was brave enough to get rid of my smart phone or strong enough to have some discipline with it. Good luck to you! Good luck to all of us!

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  16. :D

    I am also in the ADD boat but I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love that it fuels my creativity, keeps my brain ticking over, that it does provide inspiration for thoughts by planting little seeds to think about. I hate that it sucks away my time, that I can't be without my phone and that I feel guilty for switching off for awhile.

    I'm definitely going to cut back though so that when I am going social media/technology crazy, I'll at least value those times more and really immerse myself in my time-away-from-technology time.

    Good luck lovely lady! X

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  17. I can relate to so much of this post. The distractions. Frankly, I'm exhausted. There's so much I do on a daily, even hourly basis, that my body just can't keep up with it. Also, hah -- funnily enough, I had the exact same experience with math in college.

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  18. YES. YES. YES. I needed this post. As I get ready to be a wife and have a "real" life I am realizing a lot more that I need to settle down, in a sense. I need to un-plug and FOCUS. I don't want our marriage to be ruined by an iPhone. Thanks for encouraging me today, Jenni!

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  19. We can alllllll relate! I hate to have to say it but I am pretty much the SAME way. So, what do you think it will take to change? Deleting apps, setting "times" and limits for when certain sites/things can be visited? Hitting the "mark as read" on blogs we haven't read because the time is up and we don't want to be behind either?

    I don't really know. But, you are right we have to do something. Or we'll lose ourselves.

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  20. Oh I am the same! I actually have to take planned breaks from the internet because I get so sucked in and waste HOURS. It is so good...and so bad.

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  21. dude, ditto. ditto ditto ditto. i have 7 tabs open in Chrome right now, plus 5 on my iPhone, and my e-mail and a Word document AND I just clicked out of Twitter.

    I'm trying to grow my blog and start my Etsy shop, but I just got married. the other night, Ben said "I thought you were going to try to put your phone down and focus on me more. you just blogged about it like a month ago". umm, way to shatter my heart, husband. I'm totally in this with you, to devote certain hours to certain things and besides that, just shut it all off, or at least put it on silent and ignore it. my husband should be the most important thing right now. not my damn phone.

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  22. I would highly suggest you read Hamlet's Blackberry. It addresses this exact issue and offers a suggestion on how to deal with it. Also it goes into some history as well about changes in media and communication. It's a brilliant, easy read.

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  23. Oh, after I read the book I immediately deleted my twitter. Haven't missed it in the least.

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  24. Jenni - I LOVE this a million fold. I'm so there - I catch myself checking my emails, FB and Twitter the second I wake in the morning. Whaaaaat?!?! I have to challenge myself to leave home occasionally without my smart phone for a couple hours. I read this FAB article on becoming a productivity ninja recently and it has oodles of helpful hints for increasing focus and ergo productivity. Mucho love xx http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/08/13/productivity/

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  25. From reading all the comments above it is pretty obvious that we have become a society obsessed.

    I forgot my phone at a friends house over the weekend and could only fetch it the following day. In the course of that time I realised just how often I reach for my phone to check FB, Twitter and emails. I was actually very concerned about just how much I NEEDED to check in!!

    Then last night lying in bed reading on my Ipad I caught myself checking for blog comments and checking emails!!!

    This morning my fur babies woke me up at 04:17 and wanted to go out. When I crawled back into bed I reached for my phone and I checked FB, Twitter, emails and blog comments at 04:19!!!

    There is something very unhealthy about this so I am on board with making a change!!

    Thank you for the thought provoking post!!

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  26. I hate to say it (only because everyone and their brother has facebook), but I actually think I'm at least a tiny bit happier without it. I've had more genuine connections with people I haven't seen in a long time, because neither of us already know what's going on in each other's lives. It makes at least a little difference.

    I'm also terrified to finally get a smartphone for all the reasons you mentioned. There are just too many distractions. I quite often leave my phone in the bedroom, in the car, or almost anywhere... and I forget about it to find multiple texts from people. I'm so scared once we get smartphones I won't let it leave my hip! Haha.

    I think there's definitely something to be said for having some quiet time in our lives. We must be alone with our thoughts once in a while.... because like you said, you stop having original thoughts when there's no time to come up with them.

    I hope you can trim the fat in your life!! I know you can (:

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  27. My life. I'm reading this right now, at school, waiting for class to start instead of reading for class. Addiction.

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  28. I was (and still sort of am) so guilty of this. And then I studied for the bar, and it's like you said with algebra, I had no choice but to focus. It was the most intense brain workout and there was no time for constant social media checking. Now I try and keep things down to checking everything once or twice a day. Like, I can check my facebook, e-mail, instagram, blogs once in the morning and once more in the evening and that's all. But it's hard. I think you have to actively commit to it, and you will be surprised how fast your ADD fades away.

    You can do it!

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  29. oh giirrrlll, you gotta put the phone down! i'm actually REALLY bad with my phone, because I used to get phone-induced anxiety with i was a late teen. if my boyfriend wasn't texting me, i would literally have panic attacks. so i started to turn my phone on vibrate. and now, its on silent almost all the time. i leave my phone everywhere, because i never have it on me!

    leave it face down on silent on your nightstand or something like that. just like you said. it'll start to become part of your routine and eventually you won't need your phone on your person as much as you do now. it totally works.

    you have such a good heart! and during this time in your life, sometimes its okay to not want to be alone in your thoughts. it can be dangerous!! just make sure that you give yourself time on a weekly basis, even if it HURTS AND SUCKS. still praying for you and your ma!!

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  30. Yes--I love this. About a year ago, I started having "quiet time" in the mornings with my coffee and pups. It is fantastic!! Many many times I want to run to the computer and to turn my brain off and see what all is going on--but really that quiet time is what rejuvenates me. Love it. I love how you described the burn out--and dead brain. I get it. Completely. Good luck and would love to hear how it is going. xo

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  31. You just described my life. It's so bad, and I know that I do it, but I make excuses for doing it. Thank you for putting this out there and making us realize that we don't have to be like this. We don't have to be attached to our phones and all of the gadgets that come with it. We all could be a lot more productive if we actually focused on the task at hand instead of constantly wondering about what was going on on various social networks or what email we may have received. Thank you thank thank you for this! I really needed it!

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  32. I actually do have A.D.D. and am on meds. I still open many tabs, when on the computer and try to multitask, it doesn't always work. However, the meds help me employ the skills I've developed such as remembering that I only need to do the thing right in front of me, and making lists.

    I like the idea of purposely taking time to pray, be quite and still. I do this, but not often enough. So your blog is the reminder I need to make a more conscious effort.

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  33. I like to call it multitasking. :) however I catch myself many times a day doing too many things at once and have to tell myself to slow down and finish one of the things before moving on to another. After my daughter was born I went private for a bit and I found it really helped. I now blog about the things that matter to me in a way that I want to remember them. I love social media because it lets us keep in touch with family and friends who are far away. FaceTime is genius and I'm so thankful that my daughter can interact with her grandparents because of it. However it is important to make sure we step away and are present in our daily lives. I find myself telling my husband at dinner 'put down the iPhone'. Ha.

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  34. I have definitely noticed a big difference in my attention span since blogging! I sometimes force myself to set down my phone & pick up a book or simply watch a movie with nothing in front of me. I agree- its bad! I'm trying to allot certain times for the internet & then put it away otherwise.

    As a teacher I've also noticed my high schoolers have TERRIBLE focusing issues because they've grown up like this.

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  35. You know I never thought of it this way. The ADD thing being brought on by the interwebs! But now you have made me a believer because I do EVERY SINGLE THING you just talked about. LOL!

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  36. I shared this with my boyfriend over email this morning, he has a MAJOR twitter addiction as in we have had MAJOR fights about him putting the phone, shutting the laptop and having a real life. He tweeted and fb'd it our to his followers (like 9k of them) so I thought I would warn you :) GREAT piece Jenni!

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  37. Well this was embarrassing...Dave was already gone this morning when I woke up, so I rolled over and grabbed my phone. The first thing I clicked on (from Facebook) was this post...talk about a wake up call! Oh my, I've gotten out of control lately and I'm on a mission to get myself together. I have about 20 tabs open daily and I know that is one of the worst things I can do to fuel this ADD even further. Must. end. the. madness!

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  38. Girl, I totally get it. While Photoshop is saving/doing its thing, I pick up my phone and check email. If there's no email, I check instagram. For me, it's not so much an ADD thing as much as it feels like an obligation. I feel like I have to keep up and check in every so often or I'll lose the interest of my client base. I actually relish those times when I can step away and read a book or do a crossword puzzle, but while I'm doing it my mind wonders if I forgot to respond to an email/update the business blog/post a recent session to facebook/etc. For me, it's more about being a one-woman show and needing to do everything instead of a lack of attention.

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  39. I was literally looking at my phone during my entire walk into work today. And now. Like between finishing this comment, I've probably stopped writing if four times to look at my instagram notifcations and my newsletter comments. I was trying to convince myself to leave my phone in the car while I was at work, but I couldn't I JUST COULDN't... We need a support group.

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  40. Love this Jenni! Sometimes I feel like I purely addicted to the little red number that comes at the top of my facebook screen. As soon as I see it I have to know what someone has said. I see it and my heart jumps, because I too want to know people think my babies are cute or what Audra said is hilarious or That they are excited with Adiahs new achievement.

    Why as people, do we so want that extra little "pat on the back" to make us feel like we are worthwhile. It's crazy! I surely am trying to limit my time... since Ryan has got me my iphone for my birthday though, it makes it a lot harder not to look every few minutes. BUT I am trying.

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  41. Oh, Jenni - I could not agree more. I actually wrote about this earlier this week - with a reference to a really great talk on the subject (it's 20 minutes, which is like... FOREVER in the realm of our ADD brains but totally worth it)

    http://allietodd.blogspot.com/2012/08/connected-but-alone.html

    There's the link if you're interested.

    But I definitely think it's something we need to focus on NOW before it's too late.

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  42. Omigosh this is exactly how I feeling lately. I feel as though my blog has turned me into a crazy weird addict of sorts.

    Advice as to how you overcome would be much appreciated!

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  43. Great great post! I am all about that cup of coffee and prayer first thing in the AM. I seriously cannot function well without it. . . I always feel overwhelmed and burden when I don't start my day off that way.
    I totally understand what you mean about math! It seriously does give your brain a workout...and when you've studied and mastered something that was once extremely difficult, it DOES make your brain all the more sharp. It's awesome!
    Good stuff!

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  44. WELLLL said love. Very well said <3 I've been trying to focus more on family and friends and MYSELF lately and it's so hard to put down the phone. Thankfully I have Drew there to hide it from me or makes me do something first before he let's me have it back. It's helped with my productivity so I guess I can't complain. Love you! SEE YOU SOON!?

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  45. Thank you for this post! :) I just wrote a birthday post on Monday about making new goals for the year and reflecting on the past year. One of my goals is to become less distracted.

    I've been bad with everything you mentioned in your post here and it got worse in January when I got an iPhone. Because I'm switching gears so many times and multi-tasking such as replying to blog comments or FB comments, etc., I'm actually far less productive because instead of doing it one lot at the end of the day, I'm doing it sporadically. Then, I sometimes forget what I was even working on before that.

    Another one of my goals was daily prayer every morning before starting my day and so far, so good. I even began today with a gentle yoga workout-the last 15 mins was meditation which was awesome to begin my day today! I'm on board with you girl to change my ways! :)

    ~Karla

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  46. I've heard (from family members) and read a lot about how a gluten-free diet helps you concentrate and think more clearly. Something to consider...maybe... if you don't love bread as much as I do.

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  47. Hello, Life Coach over here (I will NEVER like that title, I swear, but it's true all the same). Give yourself ONE new rule. Just one. Perhaps: no checking phone/email/texts/ etc for the first 30 minutes you're up. Yep, 30. Use that time to think, pray, meditate, brush your teeth, stretch, whatever. Once you master that, bump it up to an hour. Write a list of 10 things you're grateful for, doodle, sing a song.. start accessing those pieces of yourself you put away to make room for technology. (I say this as someone who also does Social Media work for other people..so..I get it.) It takes 21 days to create a new habit so be easy on yourself. You deserve time to yourself, for yourself, alone, quietly. It's yours for the taking :) xo

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  48. I've been taking huge leaps in this direction lately. Every morning, I won't touch my phone until after quiet time is done. Its always on silent and sometimes, I'll leave it on the couch as I'm cooking so I won't see. I've begun to let calls go to voicemail and have stopped texting and driving...finally.

    1/2 the time I'm driving, I'll actually shut the music off so I can have complete quiet. There's times I need it and its so much nicer than the noise of music, to me.

    AND when I'm out with G, I just about never touch my phone so I can be completely in the present with him. People won't die if I don't answer that call, tweet, email or message right away, ya know?
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

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  49. Holy whoa, YES. I'm on the exact same wavelength! I've been wondering about all of this myself as I contemplate my fresh start in my new city, desperately hoping for creative inspiration in my choreography and writing. But, like you, I feel so blunt, like a wiffle ball bat (great analogy, btw), caught in the endless rotation of checking Facebook/Twitter/email/Pinterest/etc. I'm joining the quest with you, if you don't mind :) And now I will go wash the pile of dishes in the sink and just let my mind wander...
    xoxo J

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  50. great post. I need to remember to not check my phone any time I have silence. Rules may be good to help us all ween off all this technology! Live in the moment, not what was posted on Facebook 2 hours ago!

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  51. It took me 20 minutes to read this...not because I am slow but because I stoped to: 1) check my e-mail for the millionth time, 2) scroll through my facebook homepage, 3) work on a photo album for a client, 4) research a new lens, 5) send a few texts, 6) renew my library books. Ahhh!!!

    A few weeks ago, I actually took one full week off from everything except e-mails & texting (hey, I'm not Amish!). I thought it was going to be painful, but it was AMAZING. Everyone was all "how are you holding up" and I was like "THIS IS THE BEST WEEK EVER! MY HOUSE IS SPOTLESS! MY HUSBAND FEELS LOVED! I AM SUPERWOMAN!".

    Unfortunately, since my internet-free week ended, I've gradually developed my bad habits again. I think I might have to make something more concrete. Instead of "only so-and-so minutes on facebook a night", it might be better to say "no facebook after my husband gets home from work" or something like that". By establishing specific guidelines, perhaps it will be easier to abide by them?

    Thanks for the great post! I clearly needed to read it. :)

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  52. I would love to take a break from or worry less about social media...but I work in an office. I get bored. I check facebook, blog, twitter, etc hahaha. But I do feel like its ALL I do. I feel too easily accessible but I allow it to be that way.

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  53. there was a NYTimes article about this recently - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/technology/cutting-the-digital-lifeline-and-finding-serenity.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    it (and you!) raises really good points here.

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  54. You're very right, Jenni. I deactivated my Facebook page a while ago because of this constant need to check it (and if you remember, I was initially against having a FB page altogether). I do find myself constantly checking Twitter and Instagram still though. I've always valued my alone time and I do think that, especially recently, as I've been dealing with some personal issues I've wanted the distractions that these social outlets provide. At some point though I think that we all have to place limits on this constant need to be in the know. This challenge is definitely worth taking on. Good luck!

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  55. ah!! jenni i totally feel this post. my boyfriend has suggested medidation and more yoga. why? because i am thinking and checking ten things a minute. lately i haven't been able to think of the right word of things because my mind is really cluttered. instead i'll take the longest route possible to explain it. like "a stand you set up for your camera to take pictures" AKA A TRIPOD. it's terrible!

    bleh! anyways i totally feel you!! i hope you get your mind back soon ;)

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  56. I hadn't realized I felt this same way until reading this post, but you are so right. This is exactly how I feel too.

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  57. i struggling with this too!
    i've forced myself not to check blogs or my feedback on the weekends but its hard!!! its even harder when i forget to eat dinner because im blogging when i get home from work. eek.
    my feedback probably didnt help your addiction and for that i am not sorry because i love your blog!!

    xo the egg out west.

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  58. Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry, at this moment, to feed your addiction with a comment, but I have to. I read your blog while having the same experience you're talking about. This internal voice keeps nudging me to get off the computer, and live my life. There's "me" time to be had and I'm crowding it out by tuning into everyone around me. And. then. Your blog! It's as if i needed to hear it directly from the interweb heavens. Definitely time to trim the fat. And tune in to me. Thank you! God bless! (PS - you can do it!)

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  59. All I have to say is AMEN :) My thoughts exactly :)

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  60. Everything you said I was just saying to myself "hm...yup. Yeah. Okay yeah again." You are so right! Glad that you posted something like this! Certainly allows us to think about our priorities.

    sincerelysk.blogspot.com

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  61. Jenni- just happened upon your blog via twitter and am SO glad I saw this post. God how I can relate to everything you're saying... it's truly frightful. Once I really got into blogging, my mind felt like it was constantly running on a hamster wheel. Always moving but not really doing anything productive. It's exhausting. Probably the worst effect has been my lack of sleep- I can barely sleep for more than 6 or 7 hours this day, always waking up in a state of "what do I need to do??" That's the feeling I have all the time... like there's constantly something I'm forgetting or need to be doing. I'm rambling, and this is really a long way of saying thank you. It's nice to know I'm not alone and all the more inspiring to implement some major changes in my life.

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  62. So well said! I 110% completely agree.

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  63. Another beautifully and well written post Jenni!! I even laughed out loud a bit, it's like you're inside my head, I tell ya!! :)

    I think the hardest part is just walking away...not checking...but when my phone is dead or charging, I tend to leave it alone, hmm...maybe I should just leave it plugged in! :)

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  64. Girl. You hit the nail on the head. :)

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  65. First of all, yes-to everything you said. Just yes. Simple agreement. No explanation of that necessary, I guess except to say that I think this sort of mentality is a byproduct of a culture that is extremely media oversaturated. Further confirmed by the number of "THIS IS ME" type comments you're getting.

    I don't know if you were looking for suggestions for how to fix this, or just validation and encouragement. So if you weren't hankering after suggestions, skip this. Because I have a few. This has been something I've noticed in my life and tried to be intentional about fighting when it isn't positive, and there are a few ways I've tried and a few more I will be trying.

    1) Break/detox: take a walk without the phone, iPod is okay as long as wi-fi is off. Think, let your mind wander, meditate, whatever makes you happy. As long as it doesn't contribute to stress/anxiety it is allowed. Moderate your thoughts for what you think is healthy.

    2) Time limits: "I will do this for (amount of time)" and then I will move on. This can be done a few ways, either as a means to be productive and reward yourself or stop yourself from spending too much time on one activity. For some it can help productivity to know that they only have a certain amount of time to do something, or just to know that they only have to spend a certain amount of DEDICATED (key word-if you aren't good at keeping your ability to focus in check then this might be something to try after the others) time working on something and then it's done-for the time being.

    3) Keep lists: But not your average "must do" list. This is a list of stuff that you're thinking about and just need OUT, not necessarily to be remembered but things that are stressing you even though there isn't a need. It's a way to remove it from your mind.

    4) Rewards-"When I get (such and such task) done, I will..." and since you're trying to get away from social media a bit, I would suggest a detox/break that I talked about earlier, but it can be whatever makes you happy/motivates you.

    I feel awful for writing an essay of advice when I'm not even sure that is what you were looking for, but it's there. I hope it doesn't feel didactic, because the only reason I know ANY of it is through coming to some of the same conclusions about my life and deciding to fix them like you've made the commitment to do. Hope it helps!

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  66. i've blogged a couple of times recently about checking iphones first thing in the morning and bringing iphones out to dinner and the response i got was so interesting! EVERYONE is trying to break the habit! me too. i think that the worst part is smartphones, if we can ditch our dependence on them we can create space for ourselves. x

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  67. I soooo agree. I've only started blogging/following other bloggers a month ago, and I already feel like it sucks up way too much time. There's always a back and forth you know? Between doing the "right" thing and going with instant gratification. I'm still looking for that balance. Good luck to us all!

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  68. I feel you... except that I usually have at least 12 tabs open on Chrome. Sometimes I have so many ideas running through my head that it hurts and I have to stop and catch my breath. Yoga helped with that, but then I moved and I haven't found the perfect yoga studio. OMG IDEA WRITE A BLOG ABOUT MY SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT YOGA STUDIO ;)

    I give you permission NOT to reply to this comment and put the extra 30 seconds in your meditation/prayer bank.

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  69. Close the other tabs? You're kidding, right? ;) But seriously... it gives me anxiety just thinking of having only ONE, single tab open. My mind hasn't been able to focus on one thing in years. This post really hit home. Every night for the past few months, I get ready for bed thinking to myself, "but there's still so much to do." And I HATE that feeling.

    There's always something I need to be brainstorming for my blog, or a design I need to be working on for my shop, or apartment hunting, or cleaning, etc. I hate the guilt that comes with always having something to do but you are right... we NEED to take that time to ourselves to just stop. To think. Ponder. Meditate. I will definitely keep trying to let go a little :) Thanks for this, Jenni! xo

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  70. I've been feeling the same way. I recently found Tara Brach (http://www.tarabrach.com/) She is amazing. Please, check her out. Beautiful post and lovely writing.

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  71. I def agree with this *sigh*. Just this morning when my alarm went off, I checked my emails and checked Instagram - without even thinking twice - it's just a natural habit now. Eeek!

    I, too, struggled through algebra & had to study & study & study - like it was my job! I didn't get an A (close, I got a B+...) but I felt a lot sharper, for sure. I also felt really proud of myself for putting so much work into something and seeing a positive end result because of it. That was also back in the day when we didn't obsessively check facebook/twitter/blogs/email/instagram, haha.

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  72. Jenni - I cannot thank you enough for this post! It is so comforting to know that there are plenty more girls (and husbands) who feel the same way...

    Life manages to eat us all up sometimes and we just go with the motions and forget to take some time out, take a step back, and literally smell the roses (when last did you stop to smell flowers?)

    THANK YOU for highlighting it once again to remind us all x

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  73. Jenni - I cannot thank you enough for this post! It is so comforting to know that there are plenty more girls (and husbands) who feel the same way...

    Life manages to eat us all up sometimes and we just go with the motions and forget to take some time out, take a step back, and literally smell the roses (when last did you stop to smell flowers?)

    THANK YOU for highlighting it once again to remind us all x

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  74. One Word for this post; Amen. I'm no where near the level you are and I completely agree with this. From bombarding social media platforms to the OCD of checking your inbox a thousand times a day. I'm with you on this challenge. For peace of mind.

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  75. @Julia D - no, I really DO want and need advice! Ha! I actually followed your time limit suggestion today and it helped a massive amount. Between that and keeping my phone in my desk drawer on silent while I'm working on things, I've had an amazingly productive day. Thanks for all your wonderful comments lately. :)

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  76. Over my last almost 4 years of blogging, things have gotten out of control with so many other social media outlets popping up everywhere.

    I've developed it myself, and I agree that setting time limits and some restrictions is not only good for your online life but just life in general.

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  77. This is such a true blog entry. I loved reading it and I could recognize myself in some of your statement...

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  78. As a mommy to 3 little ones this topic is HUGE! I've found www.handsfreemama.com to be an inspiring resource. All of these media outlets can be positive, but like you said, when they take over, and now you can't think straight, something has to change.

    If a person creates their ENTIRE world around social media and networking, Internet based entertainment, and even e-commerce, etc., literally literally will feel lost or similar when they aren't doing these things. They forgot their phone, the power went out, the signal is bad and possible feels of frustration and boredom ensue. And then they don't know what to do, say, etc. (feeling like a blunt object). Setting goals outside of media (reading a book, taking a workout class, learning a new skill with a friend) can make all the difference in feeling balanced. I fight this all the time and am trying to find the balance for our family.

    The other day I sent my kiddos to Grandmas, worked on a project at home all day, was on Facebook, twitter, etc. even though I was working on something that will benefit our family in the organization department, as I was driving to pick up my kids I thought, "Even though I was on all of these networks throughout the day, I was still all alone." I think more and more people can feel that sense of loneliness when these things start to take over their lives.

    Ok...so I wrote a book. Sorry! I guess I could of just said, "I SO get that!" :-)

    ~Anneke at www.thisthatandlife.com

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  79. Wow, you have a lot of comments on this!! I have't been to your blog in awhile. Gosh. I just got my computer though, so I have a reason!!
    But I didn't realize you had so many things going on!! Wow. Reading all that made me stressed! I hope you don't feel the need to hurry and finish everything during each day. Especially since you have many things going on. But I guess that's the double edged sword with the technology these dyas. On the one hand you have so much excess to meeting people, and talking to them, but on the other hand you have excess to technology all the time and you feel you can't get away from it!
    I can't say I have the same problems as you, but I hope you find time in your day to relax and do something for you.

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  80. Haha I just read this after you linked to it from your latest post.

    Ok, I lie. I skimmed it because that's what I do.

    Love the big about studying algebra, and I know what you mean. I've been doing Code Year, and the Javascript section has really bent my brain. It hurts to do it, but I think it has the same effect as having studied Maths at school. Proudest B I ever got was for Maths because it did not come naturally.

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  81. All home is exclusive and therefore we customise our cleaning services to suit your home and your lifestyle. Cleaning Services Peterborough provide Fresh home Cleaning Should you need a house cleaning service for your home.

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  82. THANK YOU for inspiring to get my rear back in gear for studying...yep..ALGEBRA...next semester! My own blog is turning me back into a softball instead of sword, as well ;)

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  83. Hi there, You've done an excellent job. But my blog never gave me ADD. What can i do?

    Jogos de moto

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  84. This actually made me laugh out loud! omg yes I am exactly the same! And I don't even have twitter, instagram and all of those other apps! They'd kill me!

    Loving your blog Jenni :) So inspirational!

    Sx

    sabaandthecity.blogspot.com

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  85. Ok, as usual I'm late to the game as it pertains to reading this post and commenting. But this might truly be one of those times where "everything happens for a reason" truly comes into play. Had I seen this when it was actually posted, I probably wouldn't be having a "holy freaking smokes this is so on point" moment. I can't believe how freakishly obsessed I have become to all my social media sites and my blog. 5am alarm goes off - I'm scrolling through my 4 (yes, 4) e-mail addresses, checking facebook, who liked my instagram photo....I find myself refreshing pages every few minutes just to keep myself entertained and I can hardly focus. It's absolute insanity - and I gotta get my shiz together. God, this was such a wake-up call and so right on time.

    Thank you!!!

    xx
    Candida

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  86. I blogged about this recently too, and I'm in the process of trying to strike the right balance for me. It's been almost a year since you wrote this post-- how have you done? Any great tips or tricks that have helped you?

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  87. I have never agreed more with this post than today. 100% in the same boat, as I'm sure so many other people are.

    Well done and a very fun read (especially since I should be working...).

    Case. In. Point :)

    chatclinkrepeat.blogspot.com

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  88. Aubrey Leigh GoodwinFebruary 3, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    I was reading your post about taking a break from the blog and saw this one as a recommended post. I just want to say that I feel completely understood having read this. I, too, feel this way and I'm not proud of it. I feel like it's dulled my perception and certainly has effected my productivity at work (ahem, like now). No need to respond to this comment. I just wanted you to know two things: you're a great writer (this I'm sure you know) and you're the best writer/blogger I've discovered. I hope you stick around for those 2 reasons, although I can only begin to understand a fraction of the stress you're under. My blog is small and in its relative infancy, but I've already experienced every single thing you've written about above. Take care and enjoy your February break!

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Thanks so much for leaving your two cents! I read and appreciate every comment and respond when I can. Thanks for reading. :)

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