When I chose my core desired feelings for the year, I was looking for a word to describe that slow Sunday afternoon in winter feeling. The one that you spend curled up on the couch with a book in one hand and a big cup of tea in the other. You know the one?
I knew the feeling but I had trouble finding the word… and then sustainable came to me. Sustainable felt so much more balanced than ‘slow’. It represented going with the flow and working with your energy - whether that was high or low.
Since choosing the word ‘sustainable’ as a core desired feeling, I’ve applied it to all areas of my life (including social media) and today I want to share with you my tips on how to use social media in a sustainable way.
Check where you’re at
Before we start talking about using social media in a sustainable way, I think it’s important to check in and see where you’re at.
I invite you to take a deep breath and feel into these answers below:
How does social media feel like at the moment? Pick 2-3 words to describe the feeling.
How do you want it to feel? Pick another 2-3 words.
Where do you feel like you need to pull back and retreat?
Where can you make some changes?
And I want you to know that it’s totally okay if you’re not using social media in the way that you like. The good news? You’ve just made a step in the right direction because the first step to using social media in a more sustainable way is to acknowledge where you are and create a vision for where you want to be.
Let me tell you an example. I had a wakeup call last year when I realised that, despite calling myself a creative business owner, I spent more time consuming information than I did creating my own work. The wakeup call happened as I listened to a podcast interview with Dan Norris (author of Create or Hate) who spoke about his intention to create more than he consumed.
“Yes, I want to be like that too!” I thought to myself. But for that to happen, things needed to change!
So I revisited the ways that I use social media and realised that all of the mindless scrolling I did was not inspiring me. I used to call it ‘work’. I used to pretend it was to ‘stay informed’. But really, I was resisting creating my own work.
Imagine if we took all of that time we spend scrolling and used that time to create our own work? And so that’s what I did!
The trick to using social media in a way that is sustainable is to use social media with intention. This means creating boundaries and being really purposeful about the time that you spend using it
I still scroll my phone a little bit each day but I am far more intentional about it and I make sure I’m doing the thing that I actually say I am. For example, I might be scrolling looking for reposted images to share on my own account or maybe I’m scrolling to catch up on what’s been happening and truly connecting with my tribe.
But I know how hard it is to keep these boundaries so I used a few tools to support me:
Newsfeed Eradicator - This is a Chrome Extension which you can download for free and it will completely remove the Facebook Newsfeed from your computer and replace with an inspiring quote. I need Facebook for work so I can’t just block the website but I also don’t want to get lost in my newsfeed. Newsfeed Eradicator still allows you to access pages, groups and personal profiles - it just quiets the noise from the homepage. And believe me, this has been a lifesaver!
Self Control - Self Control is also an app you can download to your Mac and use to block certain websites for a specific amount of time. This is perfect for when you do want to do work and don’t need access to Facebook or Pinterest or your inbox. You can just shut it off for an hour (or five) and enjoy the creative peace.
Make social media your sacred space
So we’ve checked in with how you’re feeling, created a vision for how you want it to feel and we’ve set you some boundaries to help you use social media with more intention. But what about the creating part? How do we make the sustainable?
Here are some ideas:
It’s not a very sexy word but I’m absolutely convinced that batching is magic. How else can I explain why something that can take up to 30 minutes in the evening takes one fifth of the time on a Monday morning when I’m doing it all together? Yup, I told you! Magic! I believe that if you’re really serious about making social media sustainable then you have to batch and schedule your content.
Work with your energy
You know how I said that posting to social media can sometimes take 30 minutes at night and only one fifth of the time on a Monday morning? Do you want to know why that is? It’s all about energy. Nobody has energy for social media at 8pm at night. You’ve probably worked all day. You’re tired. You’ve dealt with some drama and you’re ready to switch off. So why do we commit this time to using social media? If you want your social media to feel sustainable then you’ve got to do it when you’ve got the energy and are in the right head space. Otherwise, it will just feel hard. And hard isn’t sustainable. We’re aiming for feel-good vibes!
Honour the opportunity
I truly believe that social media is an opportunity for creative business owners to share their deepest truth, connect to their highest self and share their life’s work. A bit over the top? I don’t think so. Thirty years ago, companies had to pay big bucks to share their messages (or carefully crafted slogans) on radio or TV. Because of the way advertising worked, businesses were often afraid to take big risks, get creative or do something out of the box. After all, they were spending huge amounts of money on advertising that had to work. We’re lucky to have social media as an opportunity to share our message, every day, for free. Why wouldn’t we use it to help reach our highest creative potential? Why wouldn’t we give it a shot? And why not make it fun in the process?
I see so many people get super serious about using social media.
"I must post three times a day"
“I must post at this exact time”
“I must miss dinner with the kids so I can write back to this urgent PM”
But what would happen if we made social media fun? What would happen if we showed up excited to share? What would happen if we used it in a way that felt good to us and not anybody else?