Social Media Will Own Your Mind If You…

Do you own or rent your mind? How much equity do you have in your peace of mind? If you’re not careful, social media will own [your] mind and then rent out the space to people you’ll never even meet. If you mindlessly engage in social media, it’s easy to lose track of time, and time is life. Offered here: four pillars to maintain equity in your own mind.

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
William James

1. ASK: WILL ANYBODY DIE IF I DON’T SIGN UP?

It’s OK to ignore these tools. Perhaps your income depends on them. Well that’s fine, don’t listen to me then. Keep on signing up for as long as your bank account grows. It’s good for the economy.

But if you want peace of mind, you’re going to have to know what to ignore. Not every social media tool is necessary. Besides, as long as guys like Robert Scoble are around, you can be pretty sure that someone else is performing reliable testing.

Claim your name on the latest social medium before someone else does if you wish, just to be safe. But don’t go nuts thinking that the world’s fate rests on the next biggest thing. The Titanic was the next biggest thing.

2. KNOW THAT 3.2 HOURS PER DAY IS YOUR MAXIMUM 20%

Assuming that you sleep 8 hours everyday, that leaves 16 hours of potential productivity. 20% of that is 3.2 hours.

But if you consider your productive time to be closer to 8 hours, then your 20% is just 1.6 hours. So if you work between 8 and 16 hours, you have a maximum of 3.2 hours to get your best in. If that time is spent the wrong way, then 80% of your day is that much more wasted.

According to my rough calculations, then, most of us have about one and a half hours to focus on how to achieve 80% of our work. If you believe 80% of your productivity comes from social media, break your time up into three half-hour sessions. Try it for a week and evaluate your results. Refine accordingly.

3. MINDFULNESS IN ACTION

For your 20% to really pay off, you are going to need to be as mindfully engaged in your activity as possible.

  • Take note of your breathing
  • Be aware of what exactly you’re accomplishing with every online social transaction
  • Use an alarm clock to stop what you’re doing and meditate on your 20%

If you find yourself overwhelmed by it all, admit that you have a problem. It’s OK; you’re not alone. Talk to your closest friends, go for a walk, get a milkshake or schedule a session with a competent therapist. Forget stigma; think oil change. Your mental health is the most profitable asset you’ll ever have.

4. PERSONAL INTERACTION

Take time to know who are the most important one to three people in your network. They don’t need to be A-listers. In fact, they aught to be people you’ve met, people whom you know and trust.

Engage these contacts. Meet them at least once a week. Tweet up if it makes you happy. Do something old-school: hand-write them thank-you notes for being there for you or buy something cheap but fun.

Questions for Commenters:

  • What do you do to ensure you’re not renting your mind to the social media Borg?
  • How do you measure the effect of social media on your own peace of mind?
  • Are these four pillars useful?

Image: Etringita’s Photostream