Have you considered disconnecting from your social media? Have you considered turning your smartphone off and putting it out of sight?
What if I told you if you did these two things, you would find more happiness and better health? I did it for 3 days and I found peace. Saying no to your social media and your constantly connected tech is actually a good thing. What’s better, disconnecting makes your creativity better.
To be honest, I wasn’t intending to disconnect from my Twitter and Instagram, or put my phone aside. Mine was a forced disconnect thanks to the flu. This past week I was down and out for nearly five days straight.
Moral: don’t get the flu.
Being sick in bed for several days wasn’t all bad because it forced me to disconnect. I couldn’t and didn’t want to look at my phone. I wasn’t concerned with the social media. Sure, my automated Twitter stuff went out, but I couldn’t focus on anything else.
Believe me, I tried. I just had to like some Instagram posts and I even tried a comment. But it was hard. Damn hard.
My Creativity Started Flowing
I’ll spare you the details of my ills, but without the distraction of Twitter likes and trying to follow more people, my brain relaxed. I wasn’t in constant need of the unrealistic attention. Let’s remember, likes are likes and specifically designed to engage and addict us to the social media.
We live in a digital world where Google, Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media are designed to gain our attention and keep us distracted. It goes without saying our social media and smartphone use hurts our creativity.
The apps and the technology are designed to keep our attention. There’s much talk now about the addicting abilities of the technology. I read an in-depth and frankly scary article concerning how our minds are hijacked by our smartphones on theguardian.com.
Do you feel this way at times? Can you imagine what this does to your creativity? You don’t have time for your brain to think. What’s worse, you’re constantly being fed what to think.
Once I disconnected, more ideas came into my head naturally. I had the time and the mental capacity to think more about my art. Maybe it was the medication or lack of sleep. Either way, I wasn’t constantly distracted by my phone.
I was present in my thoughts.
Replace Your Social and Tech Time with Creative Time
Instead of constantly scrolling through various feeds what else could you be doing with that time? I haven’t calculated how much time I’ve spent looking at my social media feeds but I can I only estimate more hours than I care to think about.
What about you? Take a moment and think about how much time you spend on your phone and your social media.
How much time do you spend on YouTube? What else could you be doing? Could you be sketching? Painting? Writing?
I’m not telling you to stop all social media and smartphone use immediately. What I’m saying is you should cut back. Replace your social media time with more productive tasks.
During my sickly stupor, I thought of a few tasks one can do instead of looking at your phone:
- Read a book
- Journal your thoughts
- Start a journal
- Meditate (this is another really healthy thing to do)
- Practice deep breathing
- Go for a walk
Doing something other than feeding the addiction will greatly improve your brain function and your overall creativity and health.
Not All Social and Tech Is Bad
I’m not saying that social media and our smartphones are all bad. There are obvious benefits to social media and our handheld technology. Particularly with the impact on entrepreneurs and businesses.
Without social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram, many creatives wouldn’t have an outlet to share their work. Social media marketing and blogging for sure, have opened up a customer base to numerous creatives, myself included.
I recently rediscovered Medium. I find reading the articles posted on Medium is far more educational and beneficial than most other reading on the web. But again, all in moderation.
The technology isn’t bad. It’s the excessive use and addictive properties of our tech that’s now the problem. Not using the technology wisely is a major obstacle to creativity and business success.
For the creative entrepreneur, time is literally money. Especially for the gig economy entrepreneurs. Instead of using social media to waste time, use it to your advantage.
You as an artist, a creative entrepreneur, you can leverage social media for your business responsibly. Here’s how:
- Limit your social media time to 30 minutes a day.
- Monitor and control what accounts you follow. Make sure they’re relevant to your buyer personas.
- Like posts you genuinely like.
- Follow and like accounts of value, not just things that look cool.
- Acknowledge followers and likes appropriately.
- Don’t focus on how many likes and shares you get. Just keep creating quality.
- Strategize your social posts to fit your marketing plan.
As an entrepreneur, your social media use is a marketing tool. Use it as one more function of your creative business. Don’t lose sight of the benefits of social sharing to gain exposure to your craft.
Schedule Your Content
If you’re like me and don’t have the time to spend building a large social following, make sure your content is concise and of the best quality.
Remember, your aim isn’t to go viral, you want to build quality, informative content demonstrating your abilities as a creative. The beauty of social media is good content always attracts visitors and builds a following.
Remember what I said about spending no more than 30 minutes a day on your social media? The better your content, the more concise you are, the more your social media will benefit and fit your 30-minutes-a-day limit.
Therefore, create for a 30-minute window. Creating social content around your creative business to fit within your 30-minute daily timeframe keeps you focused and on what you want visitors to understand.
Consequently, the time you put in your social media marketing and overall content creation is used wisely and more effectively. Ask yourself what do you want to spend your time doing? Practicing your art or creating content for your various feeds? What does the artist in you say?
The Irony Is…
The irony in limiting your use of social media and your smartphone is you spark more ideas to post to your various feeds. It’s like a positive feedback loop, (Star Trek reference I think). The more you disconnect, the more creative you become. The more your marketing, especially your social media, benefits.
So disconnect. You need to make this a conscious effort. It’s hard. It’s extremely hard. But you can do it. You may ask, how do I just disconnect? I suggest asking yourself three questions when you want to feed your social addiction:
- What’s my purpose for checking my social media right now?
- Will this benefit my business in any way?
- Will this benefit me personally in any way?
By asking yourself these questions, you giving your brain pause. You’re seeking to determine whether you’re using your time wisely. Finally, you’re trying to see the value in the effort you will put into your social media use.
“The more you disconnect, the more creative you become.”
Again, time is money but time is the most valuable commodity any of us have. Filling your time with creativity and building your business is far more valuable than constantly scrolling through Facebook.
There is Value In Blogging
I’m going to sidetrack here and speak about blogging. I still feel there is tremendous value in blogging. Regardless of the niche, you’re in or what you talk about, blogging is your voice.
For the creative entrepreneur, a blog is the hub of your digital business. It is your own. Twitter can go bankrupt tomorrow. Facebook will change its algorithim….again. Instagram can be replaced a year from now by some yet-to-be-created platform.
Your blog belongs to you and you alone. It is your unique social platform. For me, blogging provides me with the outlet to express my ideas in the written word. To share with others in more than 280 characters.
No hashtag needed.
The value for artists with a blog is the repository of your creations and ideas. When you visit my blog, the first thing you see is artwork. That’s what I want you to see. I am my own niche.
You lose the ability to own the space on social media. You’re one of the billions of users. A blog, with consistent content, creates a space for you. It is yours and yours alone.
Writing a blog about your art and any other ideas I feel is unique to creatives. After all, your niche is you. A well-written blog allows readers and fans to gain a glimpse of you. Blogging is an excellent way, and I feel a more genuine way, to get others interested in your art.
Sky’s The Limit
In addition, an artist blog is a blank canvas, sorry for the pun. I write about the creative lifestyle which covers everything from food, books, to exercise to well, blogging.
Most of all, blogging is writing. Writing your thoughts for publishing is rather liberating. What’s more, writing for your blog forces you to improve your craft of writing and makes you think like a writer.
Blogging opens your creativity because it forces you to create detail and more than one or two sentences. Your overall creativity benefits, because unlike social media, blogging makes you dig deeper.
You must read more and learn more to write your own blog. Blogging inspires you longer than any social media post can.
One final thought on blogging and I touched on this just a second ago, blogging involves reading. Especially reading other blogs. There are a ton of well-written, informative and fun blogs out there. Find ones that you enjoy and read them regularly. In an era of questionable news and information, many bloggers, regardless of the niche are genuine.
They care about what they write about. What’s more, the blogosphere is unforgiving. If you’re a click-bait machine, fake, dishonest, your blog is done and rightfully so.
Social Media and mobile technology have undoubtedly done amazing things for artists, writers, aspiring musicians, you name it. We’ve all fully embraced wave of apps that allow us to express ourselves and share our creations.
But we’ve also become addicted to distraction and the time-sink social media is. We’re obsessed the with artificial feelings of belonging and successes. Our creativity suffers, our health suffers, and what’s worse, our personal, real human relationships suffer.
All social media and technology aren’t bad. It’s our excessive use and addiction to it that’s problematic. We must ask ourselves what the purpose of our social media use? What value does it give our business and personal well-being? We must strategize and use social media as a tool to benefit our business and be wary of wasting energy on it.
Blogging adds more value since it’s your own. So own it. Use it wisely but use it as an expression of who you are. Readers and fans will appreciate your space just as much as you do. Blogging lets us create deep value for others while honing one of the most valuable skills anyone can have: writing.
In the end, your time is better served to create and hone your craft. Use social media and all our technology wisely and effectively. But don’t lose sight of what your purpose is. You’re here to create. You’re here to add value to others and to yourself. Your business is a reflection of you. Years from now, your value will be determined by the creations you produce more thank a retrweet or pin.
How do you feel about your use of social media? Is your smartphone a part of each moment of your day? Do you feel your creativity is harmed?
Thanks for reading! Now go, create!
Also published on Medium.