As we make our journey through life, adapting, changing and growing along the way it can be compared to how we learn to ride a bicycle. Taking the fairy/training wheels off, happens a lot faster for some kids…while others need to have them on for a little longer.
What was your approach when learning to ride? Did you jump on, take a few risks and fall down? Or were you a bit more cautious and decided to keep the wheels on for that little bit longer?
The world around us is moving quickly, just look at the amount of content that is generated by media houses on an hourly basis or how many people now have smart phones compared to 5 years ago.
When things are moving as quickly as they are now, one can easily get caught up in the speed trap… making rushed decisions or trying to do to many things, as we fear we may get left behind or lose out on market share if we aren’t first. While speed is important, it’s key that we ask the questions of why, what and how so that we can evaluate the decisions that we take and not get caught up in a frenzy for the sake of. Just like taking the training wheels off your bicycle, take the time to look up and ask some of these questions. Very rarely do we have all the answers, but evaluating things can teach you a lot.
Social media plays a large role in many people’s lives and can have an influence on the decisions we make if we don’t keep an eye out for fake news as an example. The exact number of people who use social media is difficult to quantify, but by combining the different number of users on the different platforms around the globe (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube), it’s safe to say that there are over 4 billion people who actively use a social media platform. That’s a lot of people, more than half the global population and one can only imagine the amount of content that is generated if you think about number of times people post on Facebook per day. You may find these stats interesting, here’s the full report.
Last year I wrote about making time and space “just to think”. There has been loads of research and emphasis on the importance of having enough sleep, but we shouldn’t forget about giving ourselves time to think. Zone out for a set period, appreciate being bored, turn your phone onto silent, be present with your surroundings and clear your thoughts. It may just make us more efficient?!
In an ever expanding digital era, we are also influenced by the company we keep both virtually and physically, you can read my thoughts about this in one of my latest blogs here. The main point that I want to emphasise here is about being conscious of how and where we spend our time. Do you wake up in the morning and instantly reach for you cell phone? The majority of us probably do as we use it for our alarm clock, but how many of you then scroll through to a social media app and check out what you have missed in the couple of hours that you have been asleep?
I recently did an experiment to see how my brain would react and to test some ideas. The experiment was built off a social media discussion with the clever people at Reos Partners. In the session, Carel mentioned how he had moved his social media icons to the last screen of his phone during his social media detox in January.
For the experiment I too moved all my social media apps to the last page of my phone and moved my medium and podcast apps to the first page. The purpose of the experiment was to see if I would notice a mental shift in having to scroll through my phone to find the social media apps and if having the medium up on the front screen would make me read more articles.
As part of this experiment, I also turned on the screen time monitoring on my iPhone to get a sense of how I was sending time on my phone. Which apps dominated the time I spent on my phone fascinated me and gave me a small insight into changes in user behaviour. It also gave me a number of ideas around how brands need to be far more targeted on where they are trying to grab potential client’s attention.
I will be honest with you, I am definitely not balanced. Well at least not when considering the standard definition of the word, but will we ever be able to be evenly balanced? As I continue my own journey, I am leaning towards defining balance as something that constantly shifts—an ever-moving act, similar to a seesaw ride. I think that by being conscious of how we are spending our time is one of the first things to understand the meaning of balance. I don’t think it’s always equal on both sides of the coin.
As the world around us becomes increasingly digitised, we are spending more time on our screens and while I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing as it does help to increase the efficiency of various functions we must be conscious of why we are using technology. All the digital platforms are competing for our attention. Let’s take back some control as users and better understand the who, what and why of our focus. Give some time to yourself and take off those training wheels, so you can find your own balance.