FUELING CREATIVITY + LIVING IN THE MOMENT: A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX.

As someone who spends their work life, and a lot of their personal life, online, particularly on social media, I've felt truly conflicted recently with the role of social media in my life, and whether my constant participation is necessary (/harmful/frivolous/beneficial) for my career and overall well-being. And I'm not the only one... from influencers to companies, people are (finally) starting to discuss the benefits of a social media detox. I've definitely seen a need for one come to fruition in my own life: Often I see on social media, particularly with creatives such as writers, designers, photographers, painters, that they create such beautiful things in so many ways, and not just for work. They pursue passion projects. They design 'just because'. I found myself questioning how they had ‘all of this time’ to do these things. And then I started to notice... while they were creating, and simply posting to social media, I, unlike them, was being sucked into the vortex of the endless scroll. Maybe an assumption here, but probably not. 

Here's where I feel an internal conflict. As a digital marketer, is my up to date knowledge on everything social media something that makes me successful in my career? In some ways, I do think it is. Knowing who's who online and forging connections both professionally and otherwise is a large and super important part of what I do. I even advise my own clients on the importance of timely engagement with their followers and other accounts. So what will a social media detox look like for me? What's the perfect equilibrium between staying on top of a social platform that can be compared to a black hole (...yikes) and taking the time to step away, to enjoy the life that I'm living in real time.

It's hard. And I'm still figuring it out, to be honest. But here's what I'm trying so far:

A nighttime cutoff | I’m trying to step away from social media, and my phone in general, after 9pm. I just have to remember...anything that is posted at 9pm will be most definitely be there waiting for me at 7am. Plus, less screen time before bed is proven to have a huge positive effect sleep, and for someone who truly values sleep, this is a no brainer.

Do something 'active' | I prefer to walk to most places that I need to go in the city, so I am walking a lot of the time. What's nice about this time is that for the most part, I put in my headphones and use that time to zone out with music and my own thoughts. But active is subjective: If it's not walking, I like to cook to keep me busy. Whatever it is, do something that takes you off the seat that you're in and gets you moving. It helps.

Short bursts of unplugged time for creativity | Set your alarm for 20-30 minutes and put it on silent, face down. Use this time to be creative. Usually once I get inspired and over those first few minutes of 'withdrawal', I actually get so involved that I don't want my timer to end! Recently I've been trying stream of consciousness writing. I've wanted to get back into writing for fun, and plus, it's said that stream of consciousness writing (essentially journalling) is really great for mental wellness and stress relief.

Disassociate posting for yourself vs. posting to post | The pressure can be real on this one. If you're not posting, are you losing followers? Will people forget about you? Will the algorithm work against you? When at first we might say yes, the reality is that engaged followers only care about your content and how great it is... which normally is a natural result of passionate work. When taking and posting photos becomes laborous, or you post something just to get content out there, it usually isn't your best. I’ve been working to except ebbs and flows in my creative process, as opposed to fight it, and work with my inspiration only when it comes naturally.

Just look up | Whenever you consciously find yourself scrolling on your phone, then also make the conscious decision to just look up, look around and put the phone down. Take a few deep breaths, pet your dog, stretch. It truly becomes the first step in breaking the habit.

Have you tried a social media detox?? I’d love to know! 

MY BULLET JOURNAL.

I am a huge advocate for the traditional paper and pen. I saw someone post once comparing a creative's mind to a window with thousands of tabs open at once... and I could not relate more. I'm one of those people that if I don't write absolutely everything down, it will either consume all of my thoughts, hindering my ability to concentrate, or it's gone completely. IE -- I write everything down from remembering to fold laundry to the food I plan to cook for the week.

That being said, 2018 is the first year that I fully embraced the bullet journal method in its entirety. Up until now, any planner or journal that I have used just never seemed to be absolutely perfect. I ended up incorporating bullet journal theories where I could, but new year, new me and I started day 1/365 with a brand new Shinola grid journal. A few weeks in, and here's why I am absolutely in love:

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Flexibility | I don't know about you, but for me, some weeks are jam-packed, while others are very slow. In other pre-designed journals, I had too much room on some days and not enough on others. With a bullet journal being completely at my disposal, I can design each week based on what I have going on and what my needs are on any given week.

Creativity | Setting up and designing my journal is a creative outlet separate from any creative tasks that are tied to 'work' (IE: necessary). It's relaxing and freeing to be able to write, draw, collage and design whatever I feel like. And, at the end of the year, my bullet journal will become both a log and a visual representation of my year. (And for those who really want to go down a dangerous rabbit hole, look at bullet journal videos on YouTube, to see just how many possibilities are out there!)

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Efficiency | The general benefit of the bullet journal is the extreme efficiency that it provides. Outside of just the format, the idea is that the user spends a few minutes at the beginning of each day reviewing what needs to get done and writing it down, migrating tasks that have yet to be accomplished from previous days. Watch this video from the bullet journal's creator to hear it explained in full. 

Reflection | After the year, your bullet journal becomes just that: a journal of your highs and lows, successes and failures. What tasks kept getting pushed off? Which goals did and didn't get accomplished? This journaling method essentially creates a blueprint into your innerworkings. Pretty cool, huh?

Achievement | The bullet journal allows me to crush all of the things that I set out to accomplish by taking large, overarching goals and breaking them down to manageable steps. How? 1. At the beginning of the year, write down all of your yearly goals. 2. As each month approaches, look to your yearly list, and write down a few very specific items that can be accomplished in a month to get you closer to your yearly goal. 3. Finally, write down on your to-do list the daily action that accomplishes your monthly goals! It becomes a tiered system. The best way to exemplify this method is with my yearly goal of reading ten books in 2018. To accomplish this overarching goal, I knew that I had to finish the book that I was reading on January 1, by the 31st; it became a January goal. How did I ensure that I completed the book? Simple math and I knew that I had to read 12 pages a day to stay on track. I wrote 'read 12 pages' on my to-do list every day. It may sound slightly obsessive (or at least for my reading example it is), but it is also truly effective! 

Do you bullet journal or do you want to try? What methods work for you and what do you like or dislike about it? The journaling nerd in me would love to hear about it!

FINDING MY COMMUNITY: THE GLOSSARY.

I'm super excited to share that as of recently, I am the Boston-based ambassador for The Glossary! The Glossary is a collective of creative, talented women and a platform to connect, share stories and build community-- and one of my favorite sites.

I am completely in love with the talent and vision of every woman featured on the site and am always finding myself in admiration of their creativity, entrepreneurship and aura of empowerment. To be honest, I don't know how I was even considered for this role, as every ambassador from around the world is completely impressive, but I'm so glad that I was! (Check out all of the ambassadors here.)

I'm super excited to share the 'strength in community' message and play a small role in the connection of female creatives from every walk of life through The Glossary.

Read my interview with them here!

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Photos by Madeline Heising for The Glossary

THE GLOSSARY // Cambridge Photo Tour

It was more than a joy to spend a day with The Glossary and its founder, Mandy Lancia, for a walking photo tour through Cambridge, led by photographer Madeline Heising. A group of lady creatives got together to explore the women-owned small businesses in the area and shoot their (gorgeous) spaces. 

Photos by Madeline Heising, published here.

Our morning started at Longfellow Coffee and took us to Niche Urban Garden SupplyLoyal Supply Co.Queen of Swords and Forestbound. Check out my photo diary of our stops:

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Portrait above by Lauren O'Neil.

Tank: Madewell | Button-down: American Apparel | Culottes: Zara | Mules: Steve Madden