It’s perfectly OK to disengage from the web sometimes

29 July

This Friday, I’m swapping thinking and analysing for physical exertion in some German hills! I’ve enjoyed telling my friends (and more significantly, myself) just how much I need space to tune out and unplug. So, this is a vacation notice with a difference; I want to share some ideas on how to slow down and disengage. Not just for two weeks, but with regular intention. This is a positive post about being mindful and strategic about how we spend our time online.

It is perfectly OK to disengage from the web sometimes

Sometimes we need a break from catchy headlines and quote-covered photos. I say this as a creator of both! I’m realising how essential it is to find ways to hit the pause button. I’m going to share some of the movements and thought leaders that have grabbed my attention lately.

I wish I could remember where I heard this quote; ‘With the internet, we now have the ability to outsource our internal ramblings’. This is such a mind-boggling and funny thought – as if we don’t have enough chatter going on inside our heads! Every day, I discover radically amazing ideas and people online but I need to find ways to filter through the constant distraction.

Here are three concepts that are aligning with my new ways of thinking; minimalism, physical movement and slowing down.

Minimalism

I came across The Minimalists at a time when I was seeking to simplify my life in general. As with all new life habits, they have a way of trickling into every area of life. I found that the minimalist mindset helped me re-structure my way of working too. Minimalism leads to clarity. Best of all, it cuts through the noise and clutter and helps us make better decisions.

Thought provokers –

  • I wrote a post on how minimalism can help you simplify your life and your business.
  • The No Sidebar website – A collection of articles on minimalism, productivity and simple living.

    Exercise and movement

    My work involves a mix of training and writing and I have become hyper conscious of my static, seated position. My body is yelling at me to move and I’m listening now! I regularly do Yoga and hill walking and set alarms for movement and stretch breaks. Physical movement throughout the day allows your ideas to peculate too.

    Thought provokers –

  • Alastair Humphreys is an outdoor adventurer and thrill seeker! I am fairly obsessed by his concept of MicroAdventures
  • Marcus John Henry Brown takes clients on creative walks so that they can come up with better ideas.
  • You might also choose to move and work from a new pop-up office occasionally.

    Slowing down

    I think it’s the nature of streaming online content that can makes us feel overwhelmed. ‘Fear of missing out’ syndrome is real but manageable! Becoming more mindful of how we consume and post content takes practice. Here are some thought-provoking articles on slowing down;

  • A Ted talk by Carl Honoré: In praise of slowness
  • Paulina Lenoir created a pair of excessively long shoes that force wearers to reconsider their daily routes and pace!

    Sometimes our best ideas come from the spaces in between focussed activity, when we pause for a moment. I want to assure you that effective social media marketing is not about spending every waking minute scrolling and typing. With some effort and planning, you can market your business mindfully. I’m always up for a chat if you need help with that.


    In the meantime, the business will be closed until Monday 17th August. I’m hoping for limited WiFi access as I trek near the Black Forest mountains!

    Image credit:
    Free stock image by Lianne Trevarthen via Magdeleine.co

  • Why unsubscribe is my favourite new word

    9 September

    Yesterday my email inbox almost pushed me over the edge. Do you ever get that feeling? All the urgent messages had been dealt with, but there was still a huge group of emails that I needed to take action on. I’m reading lots about minimalism lately and it appeals to me on so many levels. The internet is a fantastic resource but it can also make us feel overwhelmed. Well, it’s been having that effect on me lately! I want to tell you why ‘unsubscribe’ is my new favourite word.

    As I sifted through those 400+ emails, I noticed that many were newsletters that I had subscribed to. Obviously, they all interested me at the time I signed up. But when do we get the time to read all of them? I made a brave decision…

    Unsubscribe

    I ruthlessly culled my list! I found that each time I hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button that I felt happier. It was like doing a spring-clean on a room in my house. Having fewer things to think about makes us feel calmer. And if you’re running a business, that’s really important.

    I’m not saying that newsletters are not valuable – I still subscribe to the ones that entertain me and teach me interesting stuff. But I’m exploring the idea of reducing distractions and noise.

    When I train businesses how to write a business blog, one of the major concerns people have is about the time it will take. I totally understand this. But can you honestly account for all of your working day? You’d probably be surprised (or not!) by how much time is lost through checking email or aimlessly chatting on facebook or Twitter. That’s time that could be spent more wisely!

    Here are some articles that have influenced me recently. They’ve made me think about how we need to carefully choose how we spend our time.

    Claire Burge – the productivity coach and life without email champion!
    How I Gave up Email and Reclaimed 3 Hours a Day I’m not brave enough to do this yet but I’m finding ways to reduce the amount of emails that land in my inbox!

    mnmlist: blog advice on living a minimalist life by Leo Babauta
    The art of brief emails and What twitter needs to add next. Nothing. These articles remind me of the power of simplicity.

    Melanie Biehle – an editorial and brand content creator

    You’re My Obsession: “Slow” Blogging + Mindful Social Media Melanie shares an honest post about her struggle with social media. She sums it up perfectly when she says ‘You don’t have to do it all’.

    Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by social media and the time it takes? Here are some tips that work for me:

    Realise that all of us are juggling our time too! Chat with others and find out what works for them. Get out and have more coffee dates!

  • Look at how you spend your day. Try the Pomodoro method (found in this post) to measure your results!
  • Reduce noise – cull your email subscription list or the people you ‘follow’ online. Only read content that is relevant and excites you. Be aware of how much time you spend/lose on social sites during the day.
  • Make time to for social media in the same way you plan the rest of your business. I recommend putting aside a couple of hours each week to write a blog post. Make it a regular habit.
  • My biggest piece of advice is to slow down and make a conscious decision about what content you consume and share. Two great blog posts a month is better than 10 bland ones. Let’s edit ourselves every day too!

    What do you think?