Taking a {Moment} to Pause

This fall has been one of a kind. Fall in the agriculture world (my daily profession) is always a busy time of year. Harvest, Fall fairs, Ontario Agriculture Week, AGM's and trade shows. Add a baby, some speaking gigs and travel (not to mention life!) into the mix and a whole new meaning to busy comes to mind.

I was on the road earlier this fall travelling here and there to attend events where I had the opportunity to speak and see industry colleagues, friends and even blog readers (hi Mary!).  This is something I have valued so much since becoming a mother - the opportunity to get out of the house and talk with others about things beyond motherhood. Don't get me wrong, I love being a new mom but there is nothing like keeping the brain stimulated beyond the baby talk of goo goo gagas and talking current events, agriculture or anything for that matter.

One thing I've also come to value and be more conscious of this fall is my use of social media.

Because social media is what I do for a living and the means to which I consume most of my news and keep in touch with people, I've wanted to ensure I'm using it with the best of intention. I don't want to find myself aimlessly scrolling through social channels *just because* especially now that Blake is here.

Having a child has also made me question everything I post on social media for fear of the unknown - could/if photos of your baby appear somewhere you (or they) never expected one day? Because we're writing the social media books as we speak (and they're ever-evolving!), its hard to know where pictures of your kids and content could surface. I'll be blogging more about this in coming weeks.

When smartphones were becoming a *thing* only a few short years ago, nothing bothered me more than watching someone at a public event have their face buried in their phone scrolling through their Facebook or Instagram channel. I didn't want to be that person. Heck, I entered the workforce at a time when the etiquette was to not even bring your phone(s) into meetings. That definitely dates me... and that wasn't even a decade ago (face palm)!

I've made two simple changes this fall that have really helped me disconnect when needed and feel like I'm in control of my social media and phone, not the other way around:

  1. I have disconnected my email account from my phone. Every time I want to check my emails now, I have to go to safari and log in to my account which makes it more time consuming to do, hence limiting how many times a day I check my emails. Also, not waking up every morning to that red bubble telling me the number of emails I have waiting for me before the day has even begun has felt transformational.
  2. I downloaded the Moment app to track my screen time usage. I have been able to see how much I use my phone and know which apps are the most time consuming. I have been able to set daily limits on how much I use my phone and it then sends me reminders before it locks me out of my phone if I've went beyond the limits I've set. Wild stat: the average person spends 4 hours a day on their smartphone! I know, crazy right?!

Having the independence away from my phone has been a mind game changer. Social media is an incredible tool if you use it to your advantage, not let it be all consuming.

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As a communications professional, you have to stay on top of the social media game in terms of what's new/trending and actively use platforms to engage. But you can do it in a strategic, manageable, less mind-numbing way. And, your smartphone data bill will thank you, I know mine sure has. Not to mention, a more healthy personal lifestyle will surely follow if your making memories and not documenting *every* personal detail of what you ate, wore, did while showcasing your selfie game for the millionth time. Unless of course, if that's how you making a living or its what you love doing, then social media it up!