Today's Post is by Lori Woodward Simons, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.
I don't consider myself to have an addictive personality. I've never used illegal drugs, or smoked a cigarette (probably got enough nicotine from second hand smoke). However, these days, I'm finding that I'm just as vulnerable as the next guy when it comes to being addicted to social media.
A month ago, Clint Watson “tweeted” through Twitter that I was being sucked into the Twittersphere, but I denied it! Nope, not me... but Lately, I've been showing all the signs of addiction. Today I'm admitting it, I'm an email/social media junky -- dealing with an addiction that I must stop in it's tracks before it stops me.
Studies have shown that language interrupts the right brain from getting down to THE ZONE – the place in our psyche where true and meaningful work is accomplished. While I understand this, I must fight the draw of falling into the email pit. While it's true that email is a “must use” tool in today's business world, it can also be used as a form of entertainment. Must I check it every 15 minutes? Let's be honest... 10 minutes? Furthermore, when there is no email waiting for me, I feel neglected – really... how silly is that?
Truth is.. whether I get exciting email or not has little to do with how other people regard me or whether my off line friends love me. Last month, I bought a laptop PC so I could do work on the run, and having one has served that purpose beautifully. On the other hand, it has almost become an appendage.. as though it is my best friend. When I get up in the morning, it is loyally there to greet me and say hello. I download my email while making breakfast – don't smokers need a cigarette first thing in the morning? No, I'm not getting down on you who smoke, just making an analogy. I drink 2 cups of coffee every morning... another addiction.
So how do I use email for my good and not let it take over my life?
Admit that I'm an addict.
Realize that email will be waiting for me when I finally get around to reading it. (checking it 3 times a day is sufficient).
Let folks know that if it's important, they can phone me.
Understand that email is not the same as real, face-to-face communication; it cannot replace real social situations where I actually get together with friends for lunch.
View business related email as a tool, not a relationship or form of entertainment. (I'm not talking about the email I receive from family and friends whom I've known in person).
While it's true that using social media has made a huge difference in branding my name and artwork, I must keep my use of it under control. This week I am monitoring my time in ½ hour increments – yes, I write down (on a paper pad) every thing I do – the purpose of this exercise is to show me how I spend my time. I say “spend” because I can never get that time back. I'll reveal the results in a future blog.