Break the Twitch - Pairing your passion with intention
You know the feeling, you don’t know what to do with yourself, so you pick up your phone and flip through social media, only to put it back down and pick it up again. Maybe you’re working on a project and you get stuck, so you check what’s going on at Facebook and a half an hour passes by without you even noticing.
It’s the twitch.
Facebook usage continues to climb with the average user now spending upwards of 50 minutes per day on the site, yet more studies show that the more time we spend on Facebook, the less happy we are. I found that my lowest-energy days, the ones where I felt the worst at the end of the day, were the ones I spent scrolling through social media feeds intermittently as Facebook and Instagram provide a constant distraction from what I could be focusing or how I could be growing. Writer, Anthony Ongaro notes that social media is “like sugar, sure it tastes good and it’s fun to eat, but you can’t live on it. It’s largely empty calories and isn’t intended to keep us healthy and well in the long-term.” This past week I decided to take a break from ‘sugar’ and to go one full week without access to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while documenting my experience.
Day 1: I felt a consistent urge and need to document my day, wanting to post and create stories, rather than just experiencing life, moment by moment.
Day 2: I was more conscious of the ‘twitch’ to document the events throughout the day but today I was able to be more present and just enjoy my day, whether it was the beautiful sunrise to start the day or watching my Polish teammates sing happy birthday to one of my teammates. I was able to observe and enjoy each moment without an urge to capture it. Instead of reaching for my phone, I was present – which brought a deeper feeling of joy.
Day 3: I experienced much more clarity during the mundane tasks throughout the day like reading, cleaning and writing. By not having access to my phone, there were no distractions and more importantly, there were no temptations of escaping the work that needed to be done. Instead of documenting my meal at the vegan restaurant, or flipping through the news feed, I was able to connect and have a long conversation with my teammate throughout the meal and learn more about him.
Day 4: I noticed how much more time I have in the morning, without my usual scrolling and replying to messages. With this abundance of time without any stimuli, I spent catching up on some reading and enjoyed my breakfast with no rush. In the afternoon when I experienced a little discomfort, I was able to pause and ask myself the question “what would be the most beneficial use of my time?” Instead of going on Facebook or logging on Instagram, I spent that time reading a book that I had left on the shelf for over a couple of months.
Day 5: I went to my favorite coffee shop, where I enjoy to reading and writing on my free weekends. Most of my visits, I will sit down and attempt to read but eventually I end up reaching for my phone, sharing what I am doing or scrolling on Instagram. Today, I spent 10 minutes reading until I felt this ‘discomfort’ but without access to Instagram – I observed the feeling, I let it be and then continued reading. I read close to triple the amount I usually do, as I was able to focus on one task without any distractions for the first time in this environment.
Day 6: Saturday nights are usually quite boring for me as I prefer to get to bed early over chasing the night but this night was different as two of my teammates were celebrating their birthday party at a local club and the whole team went out. I went out, got back late and woke up pretty tired, which lead to me to me sprawling out over the couch and grabbing my phone. I opened the lock screen only to remember that I had no access to any social media nor the ability to scroll through my news feed. I closed my phone, then I opened it up again and proceeded to repeat the same thing 4 times!!! After the fourth time, I sat up, asked myself “what would be the most productive thing to do” and I got to work.
Day 7: It’s the seventh day as I write this and throughout the week not only was I able to be much more productive but I was able to commit to deeper work, as I was much more efficient in crossing off my list, filled with micro tasks. (in the beginning of the year, I averaged around 24 tasks left unchecked, before this week my previous low was 10, this past week it was 3!) Without social media, I was able to commit and prioritize reading, writing and meditating (3 sessions of 30 minutes each day) I was able to be present with my teammates, enjoy each moment longer, move from task to task with clarity but most of all, I was able to empower myself, minimizing distractions and doing more of what matters!
So what now?
Social media isn’t all bad is it? I’ve been able to connect with people all over the world, I’ve been able to link up with like-minded people that I am able to have great conversations with, meet other vegan athletes scattered across the U.S. and share the values and priorities that has helped me get to where I am today with the next generation of athletes. I believe social media is a powerful tool, one we can use to create meaningful connections, share useful information and help empower others - we just have to use it properly. Just like a hammer, Anthony Ongaro notes, “you can use it to build something beautiful or whack someone over the head with it. It isn’t inherently good or evil, it just is.” Social media has helped me connect with thousands of athletes, it's helped me create the community over at noezybuckets and share the failures and setbacks I've experience in the hopes to bringing more clarity, insight and confidence to the next generation of athletes.
Does this sound exactly like the intentional work you or your favorite athlete would like to work? I know not every athlete is getting the intentional work and care they would like on and off the court and that's why I began working with athletes 1v1. At first it was with collegiate athletes like Mason Briggs (All American at CSULB) and Zoe Fleck (All American at UCLA) but as of recently, I've opened up these partnerships to High School athletes as well. To see if you or your favorite athlete are the right fit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - at the moment of writing this post, we have one spot open.
Have the best day ever.