Unplugging

Earlier tonight, I finished listening the latest Happy Monday podcast episode #55 that is hosted by my lovely friend Sarah and equally lovely recently acquired friend Josh where they are both talking about unplugging and being more personal in 2014. Within the first few minutes into the show, I caught myself constantly nodding to everything that they were saying. Slowly I began to feel a little bit of a relief that some of the feelings or struggles I have been battling with over the last couples of months, if not years.

One of the first things that Josh touches up on is how so many of us tend to be more and more depended on social media, our devices, phones that we carry with us. At one point, I sure have been guilty of having all my notifications turned on on all of my social media apps, just to make sure I wouldn’t miss a thing. I do have to say that I’ve gotten better and have most definitely cut down by not only deleting bunch of apps off my phone but also limiting my notifications to just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I have even increased the hour span to 12 hours of my most favorite iOS “Do Not Disturb” feature and cut down my “Favorites” list to just handful of people. In fact, sometimes I even manually turn it on during the day, to avoid any distractions when my focus and full attention is needed.

He further talks about how so many of us has stopped being more personal and talking or writing about things we actually like, rather than about what we might be expected to based what the field we may working in. Even someone like me, I have barely used my site in last few years to write out my thoughts or ideas because I either didn’t feel like anyone would be interested in reading it, or it may be old news to some or not technical or savvy enough to some of my smarter friends or readers out there. Somehow I felt a little bit of peer pressure and became more self conscious about my writing skills, especially since English is not my first language. Especially, over the last few months, I have seen so many of my friends voicing a similar message, just like in Susan’s post about writing when she said, “write things, share them”. Among others, Jeffrey Zeldman has also written a great post on the topic, as well as Tim Kadlec. In his post on writing, this truly made chuckle:

I have an incredibly active inner critic (a grumpy little fellow) and he was letting me know rather loudly that sharing what I was writing and thinking was going to expose me too much to people I respected.

So, this has been on my mind for some time and have told myself that is time to start typing those thoughts, ideas or whatever there is I am passionate or excited about and put it out there. People may read, or not. They may like it, hate or not. It all doesn’t matter really all that much. What matters is what I am getting out of it and if it makes me feel happy and content. Not to mention, practice makes perfect, so I may as well keep on writing and see where it will take me. 🙂

Another topic that very much resonated and hit very close to home with me was when Josh and Sarah talked about how some of us may be feeling burned out with some of the technology overload, how everything is changing and constantly evolving. Don’t take me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that and it is most definitely something that I actually enjoy about working in this field, as I feel there is always something new to learn. However, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming to keep up with it all, while trying to juggle so many things at once, whether it’s work or even a personal life. Yet again, I have found myself in this category more than once and have been over the last few years without actually even realizing it. I have been in that “go” mode for years and for the most part on my own, especially since late 1999 when I first came to US by myself. I take pride in always doing the best in whatever I put my hands on but probably haven’t been always as successful or happy with the end result as much as I would like to be. I suppose one of the traits most of us share is being our own harshest critic, right?

When I looked back at my 2013, I realized that my personal life has taken over my professional life, which was a sudden, yet welcomed and much needed change from the years prior. I have most definitely didn’t expect it, nor planned it, which took me by surprise and then it all sort of backfired on me when I completely fell apart at work on more than just one occasion. I was trying to suppress some pain and heart aches while burying myself in work thinking that it will all go away on its own without actually facing it head on, or even talking about it with friends, or even my family. Just like Sarah touched up on it, we may resort to social media during those times to vent via some very obscure status updates like this one:

When usually only those who know you or pay attention close enough, might be actually able to pick up on the fact that it could easily be our way of signaling that we could use someone to talk to. So, if you see someone’s status update who you truly care about and you are unclear of its meaning, pick up that phone or write an email to get more insight and make sure that person is ok without making an assumption. Or even better, don’t wait till you see that update, just call and check on those you care or have been thinking about. I sure will try to do more of that myself. 🙂

I have most definitely learned a thing or two in the past year, whether it was work related but mainly about myself. I have learned that I need to search for that fine line between my professional and personal life. I would like to find more time for myself and do more fun things instead of coming up with excuses why I can’t do such or such a thing, which is already something I am working on. I’d like to put more focus and energy into the things I enjoy and make me happy, surround myself with great people who inspire me and help me become even a better me. I should definitely stop being too self-conscious and be scared of writing and then sharing it. It’s a working progress. We are already about to start 2nd week of 2014. I am already looking forward what the rest of this year will be like and what more I will take from it, if it’s going to be anything like this first week has been so far for me.

Before I unplug myself for the day, huge thanks to Sarah and Josh to their latest show that inspired me to write again and be more personal. You can get caught up on their previous episodes by subscribing to RSS or on iTunes.

Until next time…

  • Kim Gardner

    Love this and you!!

  • Great Post Petra! There are some fantastic gems of self awareness in this post. Keep it up!