The title of this column IS A STATEMENT. If I’d added a question mark, it would be a question. If I added “How to” at the beginning, it would be a tutorial. I made a purposeful choice with this title because I am advocating strongly to find that balance in your Social Media life much as we all strive to find balance in our lives as a whole. We all want to avoid too much stress. Some call it stress management. I’d prefer to call is LIFE management.
I read somewhere that Facebook was in the top three things included in divorce filings these days. I believe it. If not Facebook, it’s Twitter, or just browsing the web and, certainly, in many cases it’s porn and that addiction. They are all addictions and they all can be destructive.
When I began my renewed work-life, it was simply writing a column for a local throwaway paper. It took a short time once a month. But, as my new career developed, I learned Social Media. My writing grew along with increasing participation in an assortment of activities that now include hosting a radio show, writing a comic strip, doing vlogs, speaking at conventions, hosting #DadChat weekly which includes preparatory work and lining up guests, writing my now weekly column and distributing it, participating in other tweet chats, and more.
IF I allowed myself, I could never leave my work. After all, it’s portable these days. I have all the gizmos that allow me to be connected anytime, anywhere and I know where every Hot Spot is – after all there is a McDonald’s or Starbuck’s just about everywhere I go.
My family has accused me – RIGHTFULLY SO AT TIMES – of being glued to my computer. My response often was, “Hey, I’m home, I’m here, and I could be driving to an office…you can see and talk to me anytime.” Like my initials, that was B.S. I was here in body, but I was NOT PRESENT.
I am still striving for balance, and making progress. I shut down my computer every evening at some point and turn off my cell-phone. Friday nights are special for my family as we endeavor to eat together and have our rituals each Friday evening that even my teen boys appreciate.
My wife has been bugging me for literally years to take up golf so we could do more things together. I finally agreed as our other passion – skiing – is obviously something we can’t do as easily or regularly as golf. I don’t want to golf, but I want to please my wife. I’d rather take up tennis again and have her learn that. Good luck. Golf, here I come.
How to we find balance? Consider these questions and statements, below, and take some time to reflect.
~~ Do you turn it off? How often? Are you consistent? Does your family know that certain times you are completely there for them?
~~ Can you go 24 hours unplugged? Why not do that once a week?
~~ How many times a day do you look at your cell phone?
~~ Do you get physically uncomfortable when you see a large inbox of email?
~~ How much do you vacation each year? Do you determine vacations and travel to some degree by wi-fi availability?
~~ Have you asked your partner/spouse and/or your kids their feelings about you and your connectivity?
~~ Do you have coffee with friends as regularly as you visit the Apple Store?
~~ When is the last time you got together with your best friend from high school or college?
~~ Do you consider your “virtual friends” as important as your real-life friends? Do you have more of one or the other?
~~ How often do you visit and spend meaningful time with relatives, especially close ones such as parents or siblings?
One of the biggest ironies I’ve seen during this communications and technology revolution is the fact that those very devices – e.g. computers – that were supposed to make our lives easier have instead made them more complicated. We work harder and longer – at least here in American – than any other country at any time in recent history.
I suggest this isn’t the balance any of us want. I encourage you to answer the above questions, ask your own questions, and work towards a healthy equilibrium in your life for your own health and benefit as well as those who love you.