Weaning myself off technology

Since my last blog post a lot has happened. I’ve turned 23, so some could argue I’m no longer a startup “kid”, I passed my driving test (yes defo no longer a kid) but most importantly Up is now officially in closed beta! So if you want to give it a trial then drop me an email on Arfah@upupup.io and I’ll get you set up.

So as you can imagine the last couple of months have been MEGA busy. We finally have an MVP out there and we are trailing it with a range of different companies. My role has grown as usual and now I’m also managing the trial and customer support.

That means I have to be super on point when it comes to communicating and although it’s one of my top strengths and I like using it. It has it downsides and one of them is always being super wired.

Focus

Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always been very pro social media. Social media usage has done me good especially in a professional capacity. But I think the time has come and maybe this is part of me growing up that I need to take a step back. Sometimes in life you meet people who make you see things from a different perspective and as I read more posts like this and read books like Thrive. I’m starting to notice the flaws in my current existence.

Over the easter long weekend. I did something very shocking. I deleted my work emails from my phone and although yes I still checked in my emails once a day. I didn’t realise what a difference it made to me actually being “present” because the truth is every-time an email came through my phone my brain automatically switched to work mode. It basically never rested.

So when I went back to work, I downloaded mailbox. Turned notifications off and all of a sudden I felt in control. I’m good at multitasking but focusing? Nope not at all. I’m in flow writing this post but out of nowhere I just grabbed my phone and clicked on a social media app for no reason whatsoever. Even though there was no notification or blinking light. I just had to do it and to be honest it’s no longer on.

I work with two amazing mothers and there is a huge difference in the way we work. As they have more important responsibilities than me like a partner and a child they are very on it. Productive and focussed in those work hours where as I? I don’t have anything better to do so I let work creep into my evenings, I don’t mind checking my email and replying at 10pm at night. Is it important though? Am I that important that everything will collapse without me if I don’t reply? No. To be honest no one should ever be that important. We should thrive to create companies and organisations that can function and keep ticking when the leader is on vacations and yes I mean a real vacation where the out of office email means they really are out of office.

I remember when I quit my admin job, I was replaced in a day. When I left I vowed to become irreplaceable but I remember Oli Barret saying to me  “you should always be replaceable because that will make a successful business not one where it’s just reliant on you” and I really agree with that now.

My superficial existence

Technology has done a great job at making us seem closer to people than we really are from that like to that comment. I remember actually seeing someone from uni in a shop. I went around her because I could not be bothered to make small talk. Yet this person is on my Facebook? I mean why? I could not even strike a conversation up with her in real life. We are just mere acquaintances yet I have no idea why we are Facebook “friends”.

And my real friends? Yes I use social media as a way to stay up to date with their lives but sometimes you become over reliant on it. Just look at the case of Peaches Geoldof, a perfect example of someone who looks like she was happy and “had it all”. I’m guilty of using social media as a way to check my friends are “okay” but if someone is not on social media then you do your best to reach out regardless. You text them, call them and hey you might even go meet them in real life! You’ll focus, just on them for those couple of minutes or hours. You’ll pay them full attention. That is what our friends deserve not just us checking in on what they show us through social media while we commute to work. You actually make sure they really are OKAY and we should really try and apply that to our real lives with our real friends.

Baby steps

My personal and professional life is blurred and sometimes there is nothing wrong with that but sometimes you need to learn to step back and draw the line.

I’m not one to burn bridges but as Dunbar said we can only ever have meaningful relationships with up to 150 people at a time and if I want to nurture the relationships I already have then I need to cull and get rid of the insignificant ones and professional needs to stay professional and personal needs to stay personal so here are the steps I intend to take:

1) Get a work phone and transfer all work emails and social media onto that and learn to shut it when I’ve gone home

2) On my personal phone? The Facebook app can go. I don’t need to be comparing my life all the time. My notifications for social media should be turned off, just like my email I should control when I want to check in with the world and not let the world chase me.

I’m going to leave this blog post with a powerful video. Look up.

 

 

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