I have become acutely aware lately of how much time I spend scrolling through social media. Despite my best efforts to put these distractions as far out of reach as possible, I always find my way back to them. To make matters worse, some of the businesses and educational institutions that I’m a part of use social media as a main channel for information. So deactivating accounts altogether, while possible, is not without consequences.
What irks me the most about catching myself in the act of scrolling is that I have a stack of unread books by my bed that have been there for months. I have unused audiobook credits and unlistened to podcast episodes lying in wait. I have a myriad of other things that I could be giving my attention to and yet, I keep scrolling. As a default; as the thing that I do when tackling my other options feels too overwhelming.
Instead of chipping away at a book or at a piece of writing, I scroll and have nothing to show for my efforts at the end of the day. Which leads me to another thing I am becoming more aware of: the structure that I give my time and attention. I am a routined person but I often try to pack way too much doing into my days. While this keeps my work exciting, just like scrolling, I don’t come away from my weeks feeling like I’ve accomplished anything substantial.
As an anecdote to my mindless social media snacking, I have created rules around when I get to check my phone. I have also deleted all but the essential communication apps off my devices. As an anecdote to my too-full days, I have put new boundaries in place around how many items on my to do list I am expected to complete. I have mapped out the times of day when I read and answer emails. All of which helps.
Now, I am trying to retrain myself to chip away at the books and projects and doings that I want to read/create/finish. I am trying to give myself breaks in my days that feel refreshing and are also productive in different ways. For example, I’ve gotten back into my midday walks where I listen to a podcast episode. And I turn off my phone a lot earlier in the evening so I can read a few pages of a book before falling asleep.
When it comes to my creative projects, I am still trying to figure out what chipping away at those looks like. My collaborative projects have bigger time requirements as they involve other people and their schedules. Still, even in the work I’m doing with my creative soul twin, I could be chipping away at contributing research and snippets of writing to our shared files and folders. All the while reminding myself that it’s enough, whatever I’m able to contribute.
So, what creative projects are you chipping away at?