I just got back from Blissdom. It’s a blogging conference hosted by some super awesome women in Nashville for the last five years. And a lot of super awesome people attend.

But it can induce a case of “I’m-not-good-enough-oh-my-goodness-how-will-I-ever-keep-up-itis” in even the best of us.

As the last night wound down and women sat around over burgers, fries and their blog cards and talked life-blogging balance, it got me thinking about this post I wrote last year. I think it bears remembering. For me most of all.

On finding social media balance

I went social media silent for almost two months after my daughter was born.

The reason that’s a big deal is because I’m the social media manager for DaySpring. They’re the Christian subsidiary of Hallmark and they make pretty, pretty things in their beautiful quest to connect people everywhere with the heart of God.

They also host the fabulous website (in)courage – where women from all walks of life find a comfy home for their hearts and a coffee table to rest feet and mugs while they catch up with friends from all over the globe.

I’m the community manager over there. And I love it. I get to work from home. It’s basically the dream job. So, I was nervous about how unplugging would go.

Two months is like two decades in social media time.

But I did it. Sort of. And was pretty amazed at what I discovered.

In no particular order:

1. Nothing online is quite as urgent as it seems.

The blog post you just “have” to write, the twitter party you “must” attend, the giveaways, blog rolls, fan groups, Facebook pages, and redesigns you “can’t” miss out on? Yea. That’s just silly nonsense. Here’s the skinny my friend: there will always be another one. Another post, another party. But there’s only one you. And your family, your friends, your church – they will, in fact, miss you.

2. If you don’t have time to pee, your priorities are way out of whack.

No matter what kind of work you do, as a student, a mom, a mentor; whether working from home, out of the home, juggling kids, car pool, plays and soccer practice, a business, or as a full time writer – if you don’t have time for your basic bodily functions, girlfriend, you need to reevaluate. I was amazed to discover how empowering deciding to go potty before I attended to kids, calls, IMs, twitter or my email has been.

This point applies to showers as well. But I realize you may have to work your way up to those – that’s some serious re-prioritizing.

3. You are the boss of your boundaries

Overwhelmed by your inbox? Stressed by requests for your time, attention, and availability? Anxious about negative comments, Facebook posts or feedback? Tired of your loud and shouty computer? Listen carefully: Just. Close. It.

Learn how to say no and mean it. Don’t waste time resenting, dodging, or fretting requests for your time or attention – you’re the only one who can do anything about them. And while saying no may take practice, you’d be amazed how much easier it gets with time. And how nice it is to be able to breathe again.

4. Beware the smart phone that makes you trigger happy

Seconds. I always feel the urgent need to respond to an email, tweet, or other online request in seconds. No matter what I’m doing. I’ve been known to pull off into a parking lot to quickly type out a response to an email ping.

Two weeks into my maternity leave and I realized that’s just plain nuts. I don’t work with nuclear launch code responsibilities. I’m not a heart surgeon. No one dies if I don’t respond in five seconds flat. And, let’s face it, any response typed out on a teeny screen in a Walmart parking lot is gonna be less coherent, comprehensive and compelling than it probably deserves.

5. If it doesn’t come next, don’t do it

This one hit me when I was crawling into bed, desperate for sleep like a dehydrated camel longs for water. And though I could barely open my red, exhausted eyes I still found myself squinting against the glare of my phone to check my messages.

That’s just wrong. After, “pull back sheets” comes “go to sleep” not “respond to advertising request.”

Do yourself a favor – kick it old school for a while and just do one thing at a time. Write a post. Respond to emails. Send a tweet. Call a friend. Just not all at the same time. Multi-tasking usually means we do a lot of things with very little attention to any of them. But that’s just my humble and ever-so-slightly sleep deprived opinion.

6. It’s not a race, it’s a calling

Over the best grilled steak and lettuce salad I’ve ever had, a friend told me that God doesn’t mean to overwhelm us with the work He’s given us. It’s His work. He can get it done. We fall for the lie if we tell ourselves that it’s up to us or not at all. Stop running yourself ragged. I’m learning He is rarely in a crushing rush.

7. There are no cool kids

The site you wish you could write for, the blogger who doesn’t respond to your emails, the photos you hate that you don’t know how to take, the conference you can’t afford to attend  – these aren’t cliques, they’re not out to make you feel small, or frustrated or unheard. They’re just figuring out how to tell their story, same as you. They may have different interests, talents, timelines, or words than you. But their stories are likely very similar to yours.

Tell the one you have. And some days you might find yourself alone and others at the center of a circle. Neither is as relevant as whose hand you’re holding onto at the time.

Seven things. I think they sum it up – what those beautiful, baby-focused weeks taught me. I’m so profoundly grateful to DaySpring for the time. Because time itself is a gift created and instituted by God. And perhaps one day we will have to answer for how we spent it.

In that case, I can’t wait to tell Him about the eight weeks I spent just doing this

Got other suggestions you’d add to this list? I’d love to hear them! Won’t you share in the comments so we can all be encouraged?

Thanks to my friend Natalie for the photos!


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