Oh the irony of it! I’ve just closed Facebook to write this essay. Well, they say coaches sometimes coach on the things that they need to learn. The poison in the social media chalice can be a sweet tasting one, as it tastes of connection, likeability, and love even.
So what can you do to stop yourself going down the rabbit hole of social media like the white rabbit in Alive in Wonderland? In the story he kept saying how late he was. Maybe he was spending too long on Facebook.
You can learn to navigate off Facebook by using a sea navigation technique.
I learnt to navigate a ship when I was in the Naval Unit at Glasgow University. I learnt to take three point visual fixes at very regular intervals to chart the ship’s progress and to make sure that we were on track and in safe water.
This is important because if the ship goes into water than is too shallow you run aground or end up in unsafe waters where the currents are crazy.
To take a visual fix, you look for the three widely spaced points on land that you can identify on your chart and plot where they are after checking the compass bearings they measure at.
You draw lines from the visual points you identified and where those three lines cross is where you are. Sometimes they don’t cross exactly and make what is called a ‘cocked hat.’
When you are working at your computer you can make your own regular navigation checks to make sure you are on track and course correcting where necessary.
So to navigate off Facebook , you need to make a ‘visual fix’ of what you are doing and you do this by plotting three points that indicate whether you are on or off track. These three points will be individual to you and where you are in your journey, just as they change constantly as a ship moves along.
What are your three points to check regularly going to be? Here are some suggestions to choose from. Pick the ones that seem most telling to you, the sure signs that you have gone off track.
What is on the screen of my computer at the moment? (Is it a cat on a skateboard video?)
How many tabs are open on my computer screen right now?
Am I actually working on the things that I said I was going to?
How do I feel in my body?
Do I need to take a break and get some tea /water / my next meal of the day?
Do I need to stretch?
How distracted do I feel?
(Continuing the sailing analogy) Which land am I heading towards and is it one I actually want to arrive at?
Am I seeing posts come up or tweets that I have already seen?
Has my drink gone cold without me noticing?
Am I spending more time on the computer than with those I love in the time that I have to choose which it is going to be?
How messy is my desk?
Do I remember what I am meant to be doing at the moment?
How present do I feel, or have I zoned out?
Look at history, how much of it tells a productive tale?
Am I seeing posts that have only been posted a minute ago?
Am I still on Facebook / twitter / pinterest?
Once you have decided on your three points make a note of them and then you need to set a timer to check in on them at regular intervals. Check each of them and you will start to see if your ship is on track or if you have gone down the rabbit hole (metaphor overload alert).
Once you prioritise life over status updates you chart your course towards a life well lived.
At the bottom of a Facebook page timeline some people have when they were born. Do you want to spend your entire life tracking the line right to the top or do you have better things to do?
What are your visual fixes, your sure signs that you have spent too long on social media? Leave a comment below.