Little Tweaks

March 19, 2015

About a month ago, after an afternoon of some serious introspection, I made the decision to pull the plug on the Facebook app on my cell phone. Now, I didn’t do something drastic and quit cold turkey or anything (Deactivate my profile?! Whoa there!). Maybe I should have. Yet, deep down, I believed Facebook itself wasn’t at the root of my problems. It was the way I was using it. Obsessive checking of that little red notification dot, mindless scrolling, putting off important, but less than glamorous tasks like cleaning and grading in that mindless scrolling, and even, I’m embarrassed to admit, making myself late to appointments on a few occasions because I simply got lost in content I found while…you guessed it, mindlessly scrolling.

Worst of all, while I felt like an expert on all content recently posted on social media, I found myself knowing less and less about what was actually going on in the world and in the lives of the people I love the most. Now that? That wasn’t the person I ever hoped to become. If I truly wanted to choose to spend my time on Facebook, I decided it needed to be a mindful decision. I would have to sit down at a computer, open up the browser, navigate to Facebook, and actually log in. As far as I could remember, back when I first signed up for Facebook in 2005 (my freshman year of college), it didn’t have a profound effect on my day-to-day life — I certainly wasn’t addicted like this! It was time to return to simpler times, relatively speaking, of course.

What happened?

Guys. I could make a laundry list of all the positive outcomes of this tiny tweak in my life! Most notably, within 24 hours of hitting the little red x on that app, I couldn’t believe how much time I had! I went from feeling a sense of intense busyness and constant rush to this unfamiliar sense of calm. I found the space and quiet in my mind to create new ideas (like this blog!). I get ready more quickly in the morning (no perceived need to tend to all those notifications), read beyond our district’s sophomore reading list (lovely), and sometimes just sit alone with my thoughts. For this introvert, the latter part of that list has proven essential. My days feel more leisurely, and I have a little extra charge in my batteries.

Thanks to my mom and sister, I even discovered a new-to-me app on my iPhone that made me feel much more fulfilled than the mindless scrolling: podcasts. I binge-listened my way through the entire “Serial” and “Invisibilia” podcasts on a road trip to and from Seattle (I highly recommend them if you haven’t listened to them already). Most recently, TED Radio Hour has inspired me to share more TED Talks with my Sophomore English classes, instantly livening up our routine! Thought-provoking stuff. Mindful stuff. Good stuff.

guard your time

In one of my many recent Pinning sessions, I discovered the quote above, and it has become a mantra of sorts. At the root of this intentionality are a few ever-so-important questions that I think most of us don’t ask ourselves nearly often enough…so I’ll pose them to you:

  • How am I spending my time?
  • What brings me fulfillment?
  • How do those two lists match up?

All of this leads me to wonder: what other little tweaks in our lives could yield huge benefits? Have you experienced this phenomenon before? Let’s dialogue about it and learn from each other’s experiences!


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  • Katie

    The “Happiness” app. The app sends push notifications around 3x a day asking you to rate your happiness. Simple enough. The app then continues to ask if you really want to be doing whatever you are doing at that very moment and if not, what you would rather be doing. To conciously think about what is fulfilling my time and whether or not it is fulfilling me has helped me be more aware and more intentional in my day-to-day life

    March 19, 2015 at 4:59 pm Reply
    • lindsayliving

      Interesting… I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I suppose that’s why “There’s an app for that!” is so ubiquitous these days, because literally, there IS an app for that and everything else in the world. Maybe I’ll have to try it!

      March 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm Reply
    • Carolyn

      I’ve never heard of that app, Katie! I’m excited to download it and try it out. It would be interesting to see the results!

      March 20, 2015 at 11:52 am Reply
  • baholbert

    As someone who writes, I have to really guard my time. I’m not as tech savvy as my younger peers so technology is less of a distraction than it might be for others, I suppose. But making anything, whether it be a good meal or a painting or a novel takes time and focus. I find technology gets in my way far more in that regard. My students manage to do three things at once and not miss a beat, but for me I always feel a little adrift.

    March 19, 2015 at 4:52 pm Reply
    • Carolyn

      That’s an interesting perspective, Bruce — I hadn’t thought about technology potentially getting in the way more than being a distraction! If you don’t mind me asking…if not technology, what are your biggest distractions as a writer?

      March 20, 2015 at 11:54 am Reply
  • Holly

    Mmmmm… Good one……may be an answer for me

    March 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm Reply
    • Carolyn

      Hi Holly! If you try it, you should let us know how it goes! 🙂

      March 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm Reply

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