Limiting where you pay attention

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I have a story, but hey it’s not a new one.

In fact, it’s quite possible you know the premise, the plot, the unraveling and the climax already. Heck, you know the way it ends.

Not with a bang, but a whimper (with apologies to T.S.Eliot) and a silent, sneaky return to where it all began.

I’m talking about the lure of social media and how it’s been designed in a way that compels us to keep returning to it; how it impacts the way we feel and behave apart from affecting our productivity and whether or not we get things done.

You’re probably familiar with Tristan Harris’ by now famous memo to Google employees: A Call to Minimize Distraction & Respect Users’ Attention.

And while I get that the onus of reducing distraction lies (to a large extent) with the social media giants who grab our attention, I believe an equal share of responsibility lies with us.

One of the ways I recommend we do that is through this post I wrote on how to declutter your social media presence. In it, I break down the step by step approach we need to adopt when it comes to engaging with social media and cleaning up our digital lives.

Ever wondered why the phrase is ‘pay attention’?

It’s because we literally pay for things with our attention when we devote time to them.

And the more we pay attention to the things that are fleeting, entertaining and outrage-inducing, the lesser energy we have left over for the deeper things like connection, relationships and studying.

In the last month or so, ever since I stumbled upon George Kao and his book Joyful Productivity, I’ve been trying to adopt some of the principles he espouses, in my own approach to social media.

I started by culling down my Youtube subscriptions to a manageable number (under 10).

Next, I began paring down the people I follow on both Instagram and Twitter. (This is still in process)

So, if you’ve observed that I have stopped following you or engaging with you on either of these platforms, it’s because:

A) I am using both these platforms now purely for learning and business growth, while also limiting my actual time spent on them (down to less than 10 minutes per day)

B) I am probably connected with you elsewhere: Facebook or Whatsapp

The idea was to be able to do justice to the primary role of social media: Be social while being helpful.

Attention is a very precious commodity and it’s time to give it a place of priority on our list of daily expenses.

Where you spend your attention determines how your day, week and month will turn out. Choose wisely.

*Day 12 of daily writing

I write more about mindful productivity on my blog and also send out a weekly newsletter every Friday which talks about building an authentic brand online.

Written by

Blog Coach & Writer on Productivity & Authentic Branding. Words in The Startup, Ingenious Piece, The Innovation, Data Driven Investor. www.shailajav.com/

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