Super Important Stuff about Online Brain-Drains, Living Life Deeply, and Purpose

I recently updated my header with the tag line, "Where laughter meets intention," because, while I love memes and funnies and silliness, I also think it is SO important to prioritize living with deliberation, purpose, and thought.  For me, finding and maintaining a sense of purpose is a key component of devastating boredom.

Our modern tech-focused, social media obsessed world can often be at odds with a life of purpose and intention, shoving "newsfeeds" and constant stimulation down our throats whenever we're stuck in a line or sitting through a commercial break or even (to our greater detriment)...

sitting at dinner with friends or trying to dive into a project.  

I'm not going to lie, I am on allllll the social media, because that's what I've been told over and over again will help grow my blog and grow my audience (and I LUV y'all!), but I have a love / hate relationship with all that just the same.  I love it because an online community can be SO powerful, and online connection IS still connection, but it also can be SUCH a time- and brain-drain. 

I recently became more aware of all that when I read this article entitled, "How Technology Hijacks People's Minds -- From a Magician and Google's Design Ethicist".  It is fascinating and a little scary, and I highly recommend reading it.  It has a "read time" of 12 minutes, which is totally a reasonable investment to more fully own your own brain!  

I read that article, and pondered it, but hadn't really decided what I was going to do with the information (besides resolving to be more careful about taking online surveys, ha!), and then I came across this webinar by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work:  Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.  I am not an affiliate for the webinar, but it is free for 72 hours (and has already been up for at least 48, so JUMP ON IT!!) and it is SO worth it that I had to pass it on to you.  No longer available.  :(

The webinar is called "Eliminating Distractions and Practicing Deep Work to Finish Your Book" but it COULD be called "Eliminating Distractions and Practicing Deep Work to Attain a More Purposeful Life," because it is full of good stuff even if you aren't writing a book.  A few of my favorite quotes (paraphrases really, he said it all much better but I was scrambling to take notes):

“Quit social media” — If you are going to be a craftsman in your own life, you have to be much more selective about what tools you use and let in.

“Drain the shallows” — the logistical small things will steal all the time you give it.  You want to minimize them and to become more effective and efficient to make the most of your time.

“Embrace boredom” —  If you’re serious about using your brain to produce things that are valuable and new in the world, you have to embrace boredom.  You have to detox your mind from this constant bath of novel stimuli via social media and online browsing.  You NEED times in your day without stimuli, so you can practice being okay with that and build your ability to concentrate.  Don’t schedule time to concentrate, rather schedule time online — go nuts on facebook from 8-9 pm one day a week and then be done.

A life is deeper with less stimuli and more concentration.  It is a much more satisfying and meaningful way to go through life.  Concentrate on a small number of things you think will be really valuable to achieve a less anxious, more meaningful, fuller life.  

If you want to give it a trial for a “Quick win” — do three things. 

1 - take the next two weeks.  Block out four hours on your calendar.  Split in to 2 block of two hours if you like, but honor that commitment like a doctor’s appointment.  During that time, focus intensely on JUST ONE THING.  Respect that time — zero distractions.  No inbox, no phone, or that session doesn’t count.  It will give you a taste of what it’s like to concentrate and just “be with something,” and what you can achieve when you do.

2.  Get some kind of activity to try for the next two weeks that helps you train your brain.  Something you take on — reading a hard book, doing an online course, something that pushes your brain and requires you to concentrate.  

3.  Take ONE STEP that proves to yourself you can take your ability to concentrate more seriously.  Hiatus from a social media tool, setting aside time for tackling a specific challenge.  This is something like joining a gym when you’re ready to start working out -- a psychological cue that you’re changing your habits and making a bigger commitment.  

I'm going to take this challenge, and I'll be back soon with an update and maybe some of you might want to join me!  (Update:  Check that out and join the challenge here!)  After all, having a community to deliberately make life better is one way to use social media the right way!!

I have a review coming soon of an AMAZING book I'm currently reading all about how to be more empowered in you own life, so stay posted for that!!  It is literally SO good, that I think it is going to be on my list of life-changers, and I don't say that lightly.  

Here are some of the places you might see this post partying! 

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  1. I so agree with this. We go to our boat when we want to escape. There is no phone, no television and lots of nature and good books. It's wonderful.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  2. I agree with getting away from everything to focus in on yourself every once in awhile. Especially with the blog - now I'm on social media way too much!

  3. I am the worst at overloading my brain! There some great tips here for giving it a rest. Thanks!

  4. Sarah Eliza!! I love this!!
    I totally quit FB this week! (Again!) But this time for good and realz.
    I realized how frustrating it was, look at my FB posts to see HOW frustrating!
    ANd TIME consuming!! When I totally quit TV a year ago, it amazed me how much free time I suddenly had!
    I was trying to stay on FB, for my blog's sake. Then I just said "Forget it!!" If FB is required for my blog to grow, oh well!! I guess it won't grow! And I'm ok with that.

  5. Sounds intriguing, so will definitely have to revisit this post later to read more about it. #FridayFrivolity :)

  6. How fun to follow you on a link party today! Hope your new year's off to a great start, my friend!

  7. I love this -- I've been thinking about a lot of these same things lately! I deactivated my facebook about a month ago, and it's amazing how much more time I have, and I don't miss it at all!


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