The Addiction Stifling My Creativity.

I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to notifications…

That little red number at the top right hand corner of my social media applications controls my life. It’s like an adrenalin hit. Like the taste of chocolate when it first hits your tongue. I immediately fill with wonderment.

“Who liked my food photo?”

“Who appreciates my words of nutrition wisdom.”

“Who laughed at my kids antics or my witty story of misfortune?”

“Who loved the off centre photo of my meal or concurred with my righteous meme?”

I would imagine oodles of ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and ‘reactions’ would await me at each check of my myriad of social media accounts. Facebook first. Then Instagram. Then it’s Facebook Pages, for checking the business of course, and then Twitter. By the time I’m done, I think: ” I wonder if Facebook has another little red number to give me?” And many time, I’m ashamed to say, I’d go through them all again.

I’d would pick up my phone, ‘bounce’ the news feed and wait while the spinning wheel of promise used it’s 4G power to stroke my social ego. Aha! A little red number has appeared. Yay!

I’d click through to find out that instead of five ‘likes’ on my photo of random chopped vegetables, I now had six. I’d relish in that moment of feeling significant, important even and go through the same process with all my other apps, hoping for the same experience.

Sometimes I check my phone up to 10 times an hour. Even 5 times in a 15 minute journey while I’m riding passenger in the car. I pick up my phone, re-fresh my apps and check for notifications. 9 times out of 10 there are no notifications, mostly because I got them the first time I picked up my phone and no-one has had a chance to leave a ‘like’ or ‘comment’ since I checked TWO MINUTES AGO!!!

It seems ludicrous to me that I would continue such ridiculous behaviour. Yet for every useless refresh session, when that little red number pops up, my heart leaps with joy. And I guess it’s for that reason, I justify my insanity.

There’s more…

I scroll through the same news-feeds over and over, that haven’t changed in the two minutes that lapsed since I checked them earlier. I read the same annoying memes, see the same photos, from the same people who seem to post about every aspect of their lives, every day.

I think the same things each time I repeat this process:

“I don’t care about your screen shot of the weather, I have a weather app on my phone too.”

“Yes, never giving up is a great motto to live by, thank you for sharing that meme with me.”

“Wow, that is unfortunate that your child smeared poo all over the carpet, welcome to my world.”

“Oh look, another adorable, squishy, newborn baby arousing my womb.”

“Wow, there are so many unqualified nutrition experts, why ever did I bother going to university? I’m going to become a hairdresser.”

Occasionally I stumble across a fantastically written article on the importance of balanced nutrition, or parenting like a sane person. Sometimes I read out exciting news to the family that a special friend has announced or see that my husband has posted a super loving status about how much he appreciates me (what a guy!).

But this doesn’t happen often. Not when you take into account the volume of social media that goes on in my day.

It gets worse…

I think in statuses. Yep. I know. It’s totally sad. I’m a social media loser.

Admitting this has led me to feeling like I’ve hit an all time social media addiction low. But I do, it’s the truth. When I’m going about life, rather than just processing the information that’s happening around me, I make up statuses. I rarely post them, but my brain literally makes up postable one-liners likes it’s everybody’s business.

For example:

Scenario: driving to school and fielding a million and one questions from my children along with their bickering and arguing in the back seat.

My brain status: My children have been placed on this earth for character building purposes.

Scenario: intently watching the espresso flow through the group head while making my morning coffee.

My brain status: Watching the nectar of life flow before I commence my day.

Scenario: feeling insanely hungry while I’m in the middle of an intense weight training program.

My brain status: So hangry (hungry-angry) right now, I must be under feeding the weight lifting monster.

Scenario: reading a paleo recipe that involves a thermomix or protein powder.

My brain status: Of course cavemen had thermomixes and why protein isolate, how stupid of me. Feeling… dumbfounded.

I’ve even progressed to adding hashtags as well.

My brain status: Am so overwhelmed with how much work I have to do I want to crawl into the foetal  position #brainfried #overworkedunderpaid #shouldgogetarealjob 

My brain status: Came home to find husband had done the washing. #whataguy #iwanttodohim #maybetomorrowbecauseimtired 


The devastating effects…

Anyway, now that I’ve completely humiliated myself online by admitting to my pathetic addiction, I’d now like to share with you my side effects.

Putting aside, the wasted time, the arguments with my hubby to ‘get off my phone/iPad/laptop’, the procrastination to complete my admin tasks, the tooted horns because I’m looking at my phone at traffic lights and my children resorting to outlandish behaviour in an effort to gain some undivided attention, social media has killed my creativity.

I’m naturally a creative person. My mind comes up with the most amazing stuff. Most of it is randomly useless but occasionally it comes up with some awesome ideas! I have lists and lists of ideas for businesses, products, articles, stories, books, workshops, webinars, pictures, photos, videos and recipes. I am yet to fully develop any of them because I waste so much bloody time online.

The only thing I can conclude about my addiction is that I justify it as being necessary to help my creativity and my work. I tell myself I’m doing research, seeing what’s already been done and investigating what people want.

Yes, I agree that social media is an important part of our lives. These days businesses should definitely be online (my business has grown significantly through social media) but not at the expense of turning you into a life hermit. All snug up on your phone, constantly checking news feeds you’ve already read and waiting for notifications that may never come.

Social media has not inspired creativity in me. It’s stifled it. I see what other people are doing, saying and developing and all I can think is, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.”

I’ve decided that if I just switched off and gave my brain sufficient space to breath, then maybe, just maybe, I’d come up with something amazing too.

I often think while I’m flicking through Pinterest: “I bet the maker of that epic kitchen play centre for their daughter made out of wine bottles, galvanised iron and second hand wooden floors, don’t sit here mindlessly looking at other peoples achievements on social media, they’re too busy being amazing in their own lives.

I don’t write anywhere near as much as I used to. I blame it on a lack of inspiration, however, now that I’ve sat down to write this, and haven’t looked at my phone for a good hour (current record), and my mind is starting to feel clearer.

I wrote this post nearly 18 months ago. I’ve become a lot better since then, but some days it can still be a problem. The constant need for validation is addictive in the online arena and my goal for 2017 is to find a healthy balance. Social media is a pivotal part of my business and providing you with meaningful content and connecting online is something that I really enjoy.

2017 for me will be all about learning to focus and be in the moment, rather than half in the moment and half on my phone – ALL THE TIME!

 

Article by Kate Freeman

Registered Nutritionist. Writer. Presenter. Home cook. Mother. Wife. Runner. Hiker. Amateur photographer.