Roughly 2 months ago, I embarked on what could be referred to as a “social media retreat”. It has been more than 60 days since I’ve last visited any social network, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In these 60 plus days, I’ve managed to recover at least 2 to 3 hours a day (including weekends), that is, I have recovered 120+ hours to add to my very limited working hours. To put things into perspective, these hours are equivalent to 15 full working days or half a month. That is mind-blowing – it feels like I’ve lived three months in two. What follows is the experience sharing of an enduring journey – one with severe time constraints. I will elucidate the concept of productivity and its counterparts, the problem of noise reduction and the quest for inner peace. All these points are random but essential to get the best out of yourself and to revitalize your focus and goals; they are the best things about a social media retreat.
First of all, in terms of productivity, I have definitely hit the ground running. It’s easy to say that productivity has relatively increased because of the time regained. But we all know that there is more to productivity than just the element of time. To that end, dedication and motivation have also become important players to get “things” done, and with a desired effect. What sense does it make to dedicate one’s precious time to a goal without strong conviction? Above all, you must maintain a strong affinity towards your goals. In doing so, you are able to maximize productivity and minimize the stress. In my case, I managed to write a couple of research proposals, work on several research projects and start several exciting collaborations. All these tasks require the ultimate focus and perseverance. In addition, I have become more engaged and active in wonderful new communities such as those found in the fields of Psychology and Sociology. I will elaborate on those in a future post. But one thing is very clear, I love contributing and building communities in general. Productivity is just my ticket to extend the knowledge and the circles I build. I may not represent the best example of an overly accomplished man but I may be in the race for the happiest person that humbly seeks accomplishments of all sorts. I am okay with the latter. How about you?
So what are these “things” I keep referring to? First, I have become very interested in writing, thus needing to devour countless pieces of literature to improve such skill. In order to keep my writing skills as fresh as possible, I have also started a small open-source project which involves the making of a research handbook (more of that in future articles). As for my coding abilities, I have trained super hard to keep them intact. I have also found a new passion and it’s called “Markdown”. Markdown is a simple markup programming language that allows me to write and code at the same time – it’s amazing! In fact, the majority of this blog was developed using markdown. To provide a short glimpse of my programming activity, what better than the Github activity bar, which displays my daily contributions and the current projects I am working on. Take a peep below. The white cells represent the days when I am with junior and the green cells represent those days when I am jamming. If you look closer at the graph, you can sort of conclude that I’ve been working tirelessly, in the past couple of months.
Enough of the conventional stuff! Here are two radical findings for your reading pleasure.
Lately, I have been using the phrases “it makes sense” and “that’s noisy” a lot more often than usual. It’s interesting how these phrases came to me at a time when I abandoned the noisy rooms of the Internet. Is it to say that clarity increases when less noise is present? Mind you, with the convoluted world of the present, such thesis begs careful observation and experimentation. What’s true is that such noise filtering is only possible in an environment with no noise at all. The four walls administering by man cave know this very well. They observe when the man awakens in the early morning, and how the desperate notifications are obliterated, making way for only beautiful noises made by the birds and the kitchen’s greasy toaster. What noise? Machines without lights will remain machines with life and beauty. Seriously, now I can enjoy a really nice breakfast and chatter with my family, without the grumpy notifications ruining those moments. I hope someone fixes those buggy notifications very soon before my phone becomes even more useless than it has always been.
Inner peace is a consequence of noise reduction. Being away from the riff-raff that has drowned social networks like Twitter, has allowed me to rethink where I stand, both physically and mentally. I have survived a chronic disease that consumes reality. Now, both body and soul are at ease and in perfect harmony to parametrize the surrounding more eloquently. It is true that we need the social networks to stay connected with our friends and our families. What we probably didn’t know is the many options available to experience a similar “connected” feeling with entitlement to a distraction-free environment. On that note, it has become clear to me that the social network we once knew is dead and have become, for most part, a self-centered monster; a time-consuming vortex of the worst kind. I have freed myself from a mud-slide and have established composure in thinking and applying. In a world where there is no clicking and buzzing, the neurons and dendrites can transfer ideas without ambiguity – I love that! I love a world with less noise, increased peacefulness and mindfulness. With serenity at my disposal, I can sit and get the job done – with millimeter precision – as my family expects of me. There is no secret to it, you just need to discover yourself by taking a break and staying away from the keyboard for as long as you need.
Overall, there is always a lot of work to get done and a lot of social media to consume. Prioritizing should get any job done – only when dedication and motivation have been properly sorted out. My advice is that one shouldn’t quit the things one love, but one should be cognizant of the other problems surrounding our loved ones. The first step is always going to be the intervention of oneself, then our families, our friends and eventually our colleagues. These things take time and so you must find this time by doing whatever it takes. And when you discover how to efficiently operate the hourglass, it becomes your treasure trove. One that is contagious, one that is needed, and one that revamps your character and personality.
Good luck to you all and until my next blog session.