It’s October 4th, 2021, and Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp are down. After turning your phone off and on and refreshing the pages, you go to Twitter and see that the social media channels are down. What do you do next? Do you continue scrolling on Twitter or look for another social media channel to browse? I’ll tell you what I did.
I began to think about the time I spend as a consumer versus the amount of time I spend as a creator.
I’m not judging the social media inclined. I too, slip into the rabbithole of social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, endlessly scrolling, and realizing that an hour has passed.
How many of us spend an hour or hours scrolling, and then going back to the job we hate or the situation in our lives that we are not satisfied with? Social media allowed me to escape my unsavory realities and dive headfirst into new, fleeting ones, even if the high only lasted for 60 seconds. The adrenaline rush gave me an addictive sensation of happiness. #ItstheDopamineForMe
In this moment of interruption, what I now consider a divine intervention, a few things clicked for me. The first was that I needed to find a way to wean myself off of my social media addiction. The second was I needed to prioritize creating. The third was that I needed to cultivate balance in the process. If you are a creative who is having a similar problem of being distracted from finishing creating products like a book, painting or comic, I invite you to take this journey with me. Let’s be accountability partners!
Here are some steps I have assembled to develop productive habits in the era of social media addiction.
Set Your Goals and Revisit Them Often
Creating weekly, monthly, yearly, five and ten years goals and plans really helps me to design where I want to go and stay accountable. The feeling of satisfaction I get when I check goals off my list and inch closer to finishing a creation helps me to be less stressed, and affirms my self esteem because I am doing the things I said I would do. Admittedly, some goals took longer than I expected to accomplish, but hey, the beauty is in the journey, not the destination. Right?
Create a routine
Creating a routine has helped my sanity in more ways than one. I normally write down my daily tasks the night before so I know my focus points when I start my day. Although I usually go to bed at questionable hours, my routine when I wake up includes doing meditation/prayer in the bed, immediately drinking a glass of water, sometimes checking social media, getting ready and beginning to work. I love an uplifting song to set the mood for the day, or silence to prepare to accomplish my goals.
I find Pomodoro style working helps me, which includes working in intervals of 25 minutes with 5 minute break times. I allow myself break/rest times, and I do browse on social media, but I try to limit the time I browse so I can still get my work done. Setting a social media timer for 5, 10 or 25 minutes may be helpful. If you are a budding entrepreneur, or if you are not a full-time creative, you may have to complete work-related tasks before you can work on your projects. This strategy allows me to get my work done so I can have time to develop my projects without feeling exhausted.
Cultivating environments that are conducive for efficiency is crucial. For me, a great playlist or a good podcast helps me to continue working well. For others, this may mean scheduling working meetings with artist friends, or working in a coffee shop. Do you!
Create a Reward System
Creating reward systems for finishing your products helps me to feel excited about tasks that otherwise may seem tedious, and it still allows me to activate that dopamine response. I like watching vlogs, reading and food, so at times I will promise myself that when I am finished with a specific task I will watch the vlog, or eat the snacks I have saved.
Track your Progress
Being aware of progress made can be a great motivator to continue moving forward. Last year, I made a mood board and I kept it as my screensaver as a reminder. This helped me immensely and I definitely stayed on track with this visual representation of my ideal future.
I also continuously update my portfolio so that I, and potential collaborators, can be aware of what products I have completed and my growth ( check out my PRESS page for updates). Depending on the type of storytelling or creation you do, your progress can be gauged based on how much traffic your product is gaining on your website, or how many products you are selling, or inventory of how many products you have made.
Thanks so much for reading. How do you continue creating in an age of social media addiction? What tips do you have for creators?