Finding The Balance - Content Creation & Going Offline
I've always been Very Online. Ever since I first got the internet, I was in MSN chat rooms and message boards. I spent countless hours on the social media platforms of the day - LiveJournal, MySpace, Facebook, Tumblr. At one point in high school, my father (a well-meaning but kinda hilariously terrified-of-new-technology Boomer) brought me to the doctor and told him that there was clearly something wrong with me because I spent so much time on the family desktop.
Once I was out of university, I largely worked in marketing and community engagement roles, where - you guessed it - I spent all my time on social media yet again.
I honestly love the internet. I love being able to easily connect with friends I wouldn't be able to keep in touch with otherwise, I love seeing people's funny little thoughts, photos of their vacations, their cats, and the memes! Oh gosh, how I love the memes.
Social media has often been the place I went to to get a break from work and responsibilities. It' a fun place to "hang out" with my friends all at once and laugh at dumb gifs and then get back to chores or "something more important".
The thing is, though, that social media and being constantly online is now directly related to my income. I took a few days off social media and checking my pages (and I mean, maybe 5 days) and was so behind my financial goals that it took me an entire month to get back to where I needed to be. It was the first time since I've started this job nearly 2 years ago that I simply did not look at social media or my pages at all for more than half a day and it absolutely reflected in my income. Part of me kinda forgot that now that I'm working for myself, I don't have any saved vacation time. Any time, and I mean, ANY time I am not online, I am quite possibly losing out on money.
I'm not at a place in my career where I can just let subscriptions alone pay my cost of living; I'm constantly doing video chats, sexting sessions, customs, etc. to make up the extra income I need to pay my mortgage, my living expenses and, of course, fun stuff, too!
The problem is that I went nearly 2 years without ever taking a single full day off checking my pages. Even when I took breaks from customs or video chats, like when I was traveling, I was still checking socials, messaging with subscribers, doing sexting sessions when I could, etc. I haven't disconnected in so long.
In an industry that rewards being active, it makes it so difficult to feel like you can actually take time off, but it's so necessary to take breaks from work! I am honestly the worst for this; I am constantly either actively working or thinking about work. But to make sure that I don't become burnt out, it's necessary to create better boundaries between work and life.
So, here are 3 rules I'm going to try to implement for myself that you might also find helpful!
1) Designate one day per week to go at least 6 consecutive hours without checking socials or work pages. It's absolutely astounding how productive I am when I do any kind of total social media blackout. It's like I'm a totally new, productive person. My home was absolutely spotless after 2 days of no internet (I'm talking I cleaned all the walls, baseboards, etc.) Not to mention just taking some time to absolutely not do any work and focusing on hobbies reminds me that I don't just live to work. I have other exciting things in my life! But I need to nurture those just as much as I do my career.
2) Utilize drafts and pre-scheduling software to help not only with work timeline posts, but PPVs and social media posts as well when going on vacation. One of the issues I had while being offline was that I wasn't able to have any sessions or produce any customs. I also wasn't posting on socials so I wasn't getting new subscribers. I essentially had no income coming in for 5 days straight. It meant a much lowered bi-weekly payment and it took me several weeks to regain a momentum on marketing and made it much more difficult to meet my monthly financial goal. I highly recommend, if you know you're going to be away, to at least plan some PPVs so that there is a chance of receiving some income during this time.
3) Schedule in lunch breaks. Don't just work through the day because you're "on a roll" - you need to actually take a break, not just to stuff some food in your mouth in 5 minutes and then get back to what you were working on. I find I end up feeling so drained sometimes after a long shoot day because I don't take any time to breathe. I just push through so that I don't ruin the momentum (or lose the daylight) but it's so important to eat a real meal, take a minute, and recharge before continuing for the day. I took lunch breaks at all my jobs - even the shitty ones - why am I not giving myself a lunch break?
What are some ways you recommend to disconnect mentally both from work and social media?