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3 Things You Will Learn When Taking a Social Media Hiatus

3 Things You Will Learn When Taking a Social Media Hiatus

I took a break.

A much needed, 6-month break.

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If you know me personally, you know that it’s hard for me to disconnect from the social media world, so the break shocked my followers and those close to me, leaving them wanting to know: Why was a break from social media necessary?

I am a writer, and being on social media is a very important part of branding and developing who it is I want to consistently present to my audience. So, from a distance, it all seemed like something I should not have indulged in, but post-hiatus, I am more than grateful I made the decision.

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I hit a speed bump in my life right before the hiatus that prompted me to shut down a bit. I became discouraged about my future and my self-esteem hit the lowest point. I learned many things in the 180 days that I plan to take with me throughout life, and though I was very unsure of what was ahead of me while on hiatus, there are 3 things I learned that I feel are worth sharing.

If you are thinking of taking a break, or you know people who are either social media junkies or just need to disconnect from the social world and reconnect with the world around them, these 3 lessons will help in making it a smooth transition.

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1. You become what you consume.

I am a firm believer that what you allow to enter your realm is what motivates you, and ultimately molds you. Social media is one of those outlets that, if you are not careful, you begin to get so consumed in that world, you begin to forget about yourself and the world you live in outside of the social perimeter. Let’s be honest, what we see on social media sites and/or apps are over-exaggerations of lifestyles that are unrealistic. And if you stay tuned into their lives, you leave both your mental and spiritual realm open to be consumed.

2. Social media will always be around.

The world of social media is a world that is constantly growing, so hear me when I say, it is not going anywhere. With the way technology is developing, it would be silly to think that social media would just get up and walk away. What is important to note about the idea that “Social Media will always be around” is the fact that although social media will be here for decades and centuries to come, the people and experiences you love won’t be. Social media is so powerful, it will take your attention away from what’s most important, and you miss out on moments that come to impact and grow you. Those same moments that are essential in defining and motivating who you become.

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Not to say that all the things I learned while taking a hiatus away from the world of social media are not essential, but honestly, the most impactful thing I learned was that:

3. What you have and what you are is enough.

This will sound like a cliché, and I am okay with that. But if no one ever tells you in your whole life, I want to be that person to say it. There is just one you. This is the only life you will have, and though there may be a person who has something you feel like is more than what you have, I am here to tell you; that’s not the case at all. What you have is enough, and who you are is more than enough. Social media will have you looking in all directions, comparing your life to those that exaggerate, and/or live unrealistic lifestyles. Part of the reason I took my hiatus was because of the comparing I did daily, without even knowing it sometimes. And though it is ok to look, you cannot allow your eyes to see what they have as something you lack. What you have is far grander than any number of likes or views on any social media site. Who you are and what you have deserves your time and energy. Don’t give it all to an industry that sincerely does not deserve it.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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