Overcoming stuff

Life is full of stuff.

Stuff we get caught up in because we think it matters.

Social media expectations of the way that things should be.

But at the end of the day all that stuff is often a distraction from what really matters.

And so you have to learn to overcome it. No matter how important it might seem to uphold these expectations, it’ll rarely make you happier.

In fact, more often than not it just makes you miserable because it leaves little room for you to be yourself.

Reasons to take space

Taking space is something we’re often reluctant to do.

It could be space from a person, a habit or even just social media.

For me the purpose of space is to gain clarity.

It’s difficult to get that when you’re in the situation which is why it is necessary to remove yourself.

At first you always miss the thing that you’re taking space from because you’re so used to it being part of your day to day life but then you feel refreshed and wonder why you clung to that thing so much in the first place. Then after that comes the sense of knowing that without this thing in your life you’ll still be totally fine.

I don’t think we always anticipate that that last realisation will come which is why we can be reluctant to give things up.

I think we quite often think the opposite which is that we’ll feel as though we can’t live without the thing or come to crave it even more than before.

It could be something like snacking on sugary foods, a person you believe yourself to be so totally in love with or maybe it’s Instagram.

Whatever it is in your life, don’t be too afraid to take space from it.

You might even find that you no longer want the thing in your life and if that’s the case, be willing to let it go.

Not everything is meant to last.

Doing it wrong

If I aksed someone for advice on how to make this site better, I have a pretty good idea of what they would say.

The first thing is that I should use pictures to accompany my posts as a way to draw in readers.

The second is that I should promote my content on social media to put my stuff out there to a wider audience, not just fellow WordPress users.

To some the way I have chosen to run this site might mean that I am doing it wrong but in the 18 months since I started, I’m really pleased with what I have created.

The goal for me is to never reach the most amount of people or have the biggest audience. Those things won’t make me a better a writer or make me more committed to posting everyday.

When it comes to using pictures, if I have to post an image to get someone to read just over 100 words (the length of most of my posts) then that’s not the kind of reader I want. When it comes to social media although I have an Instagram account for this site my main focus will always be the daily blog posts and right now the extra effort it would take to promote on Instagram isn’t worth it.

And so sometimes you have to realise that what might be right for others is wrong for you and what is wrong for others might be exactly what you need to be doing.

How to figure out what you want?

This is a topic that has been on many peoples minds mainly because we’ve all had much more time to think about our lives over the past few months.

For a lot of people what they want is actually what they think they want because it comes from other people. When you’re constantly being told what you should want and what you should do with your life it’s no wonder you don’t know your own mind.

It’s in the quiet moments where external influences have fallen away that you’ll figure out what you want. It’s like when people say they get their best ideas in the shower. When you’re alone with little distraction, your mind can finally relax and peacefully wander.

One of the biggest distractions in this day and age is social media. You can spend a few hours online and come away thinking you want to create fashion content, be a painter, start a podcast, work in marketing, start a project for your local community, be a graphic designer, start a youtube channel, make music, be a makeup artist, be a textile artist, start a band, be a poet, be an artist and so much more.

Granted you could be interested but when you constantly surround yourself with other peoples stuff it makes it harder to figure out what you want for yourself.

I’ve found that trying new things is invaluable, to be able to say I tried painting and it wasn’t for me but I really like sculpting. So often we try one thing and then get frustrated if it doesn’t work out as though their aren’t over 101 other options for things to try. How are you meant to know what you want if you haven’t tried anything.

Secondly switching off and embracing quite moments is the perfect way to get more in tune with yourself. I’ve found myself most inspired when I’m gazing at the sunset, taking a walk or crafting whilst the sounds of Litany, Montaigne and Hayley Mary drift through the air.

Lastly, give it time.

Keeping up with strangers

Social media makes it really easy to keep up with everything going on in the world around us. From crises happening across the globe to personal details about people we’ve never met.

And on an average day for many, I don’t think I’d be wrong in assuming that little thought goes into it.

How often do you find yourself questioning whether you need to know all this information you’re consuming?

I’m guilty of clicking on trending topics out of curiosity but on reflection I know that this information isn’t something I need to know.

The goings on of celebrities (and even just people we’ve never met) has always been a popular form of entertainment which is why gossip magazines were so popular. I guess those magazines have now changed to social media, something that is free and consumed by even more people.

And as much as you control who you follow, you can’t control what they post, tweet, re-tweet, like or share on their stories.

But what you do have control over is your active consumption. As much as knowing certain things might tickle your fancy, upon reflection would you really choose knowing details about a strangers personal life over reading a book, working on your craft, writing, planning ahead etc.

Of course you can make time for both (if you so wish) but this is more about being intentional with what you consume rather than getting swept up in it all.

If you leave the twitter thread, video or post feeling fine that’s great but if you feel like you’ve wasted time then maybe you need to start making some changes.

Value and oversharing online

In the age of social media it’s easy to overshare. You can go from sharing behind the scenes of your business, hobby or creative work to showing people what you ate for breakfast, how you ruined your manicure and asking for suggestions for your new hair colour.

For some people, it works, they like sharing themselves with people in that way. But for others it would be considered too much.

It’s can be challenging to judge whether you need to push yourself to share more online or if sharing more is the wrong thing for you.

If you find yourself caught up in uncertainty over what to share online, consider why you want to share those details.

Does it add to the work you create, does it add value, is it something you’re comfortable doing or is it just more ‘stuff’ to scroll through?

 

 

Putting more thought into branding

As much as you might want to focus on other stuff, it will always be worth putting some time into branding. It’s important to think about how things look to an outside eye and understand if you’re able to deliver your intended message.

I’ve always wanted The Daily Gemm (TDG) to be a space with writing and simplicity at the forefront and that’s what I focused on when I started posting to the Instagram account a few months ago.  However, I’ve realised that although the simplicity element works well on the blog, it doesn’t translate the same way on Instagram. I realised that I might need to do start doing things differently.

After giving it things more thought and thinking about the grand scheme and my future plans and aspirations, I came to the conclusion that I wanted the TDG Instagram account to represent my long-term plans as a brand, rather than just to represent this blog.

And so over the past week or so I’ve been coming up with ideas for how I could do things differently in a way that works for me.

One the first things that came to mind was more visual content and more colour. Currently the TDG feed is full of quotes from my blog posts in black and white. But it turns out the ‘just words, no pictures’ philosophy that I have for this site doesn’t fit for Instagram.

On one hand my grand plans for Instagram have come crashing down but on the other hand it taught me a lot. I’ve now gone back to the drawing board and spent time planning and creating things that I’m looking forward to sharing.

21 Things to do away from a screen

Right now it’s easier than ever to spend your days switching between YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix (or some other streaming service) and Instagram. These things are great for entertainment and to catch up on things you’re interested in.

But it’s also important to dedicate time in your day to be away from a screen. I think it’s important to have interests that don’t require your phone, laptop, or TV. Not because technology is bad but because there is a whole other world outside of the screen.

Particularly with social media and YouTube, you can end up spending so much time watching the lives of others that you’re not even living your own life.

So here are a few things to do away from a screen:

  • Bake
  • Cook a meal
  • Host a dinner party
  • Go to a wine tasting
  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk
  • Tidy your home
  • Go out for dinner
  • Draw
  • Paint
  • Do a puzzle
  • Do hand embroidery
  • Paint your nails
  • Meditate
  • Write
  • Read a magazine
  • Play a board game
  • Plant flowers
  • Organise your closet
  • Take a nap
  • Visit a museum

Of course some of these things aren’t possible right now but they will be soon.

 

Breaking up the day

If you”re working on a laptop from 9-5 and spend your evenings scrolling social media, watching youtube and binging the latest fantasy thriller series, you’ll have spent most of your day staring at a screen.

You aren’t going out to restaurants, going for drinks, visiting museums, catching up with friends in a local cafe or going dancing like you used.

When you’re spending your days staring at a screen, it’s no wonder the days will start to blur into one.

Obviously you can’t eliminate the 8 working hours from your day but being at home means you have some level of flexibility when it comes to how you choose to structure your day.

What are you doing in-between work, emails, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, Netflix etc?

What are you doing to break up your day?

Now might be the perfect time to find some offline hobbies that you can easily do from home, things that don’t require a screen.

It could be hand embroidery, baking, gardening, reading, drawing, making body butter, mixing essential oils, writing in a notebook or sewing on a machine.

It’s not about ditching your screens but instead acknowledging that you might get more fulfillment from an hour of baking in the afternoon instead of an extra hour on social media.

Temporary excess

If you’re someone that regularly consumes content online you’ve probably noticed that right now there is more stuff than ever.

More photo’s and videos than you even have the energy to consume, it’s overwhelming.

Some days people are all sharing the same thing, telling you what you should think, telling you what you shouldn’t be doing or selling something you don’t want.

I guess the problem with more stuff is that when it isn’t helpful, useful or interesting it’s just more stuff to wade through until you can get to the bits that you actually care about.

But just because there is more to consume doesn’t mean you need to spend more time online.

Try giving yourself a time limit, being selective about what you consume and unfollowing anything that isn’t benefiting you.