When I decided to leave Facebook and Instagram for good, more than a year back, I had a valid point- social media was getting toxic. Unbearable. It was growing heavy on me.
I was having trouble dealing with my priorities, living in a world of lies, where every other person was happy. Their smiles on social media would brighten up anyone’s day.
They had the perfect life. I was confused.
How can I be not so happy? Why doesn’t my profile reflect the happiness that they do?
Well, then I decided to check my own profile, and guess what?
I was happy too! At least my profile made it look like I was.
Social media is not what you are but what you make of it.
I was going through a range of emotions, not all at once. It wasn’t a bombshell dropped on me. It was more like poetry. Taking me through different facets, gradually progressing while slowly pouring on me with one central idea, which wasn’t so easy to decipher- just like poems are.
At one point when, I figured where I break. I found my tripping point.
I had mixed emotions. I had this idea, “what would happen if the fancy online presence I made for myself is not there when I would need it the most? Because someday I will come up with this world-changing thing that would need all the exposure I can give it to fly”.
Naturally, the someday never came. It never does.
With the gradual beating from life’s poetry, I gave up the thought of the one magical idea of the future, the what-if. I stopped using social media. I deleted Facebook, Instagram.
I went complete incognito.
I pulled myself out of the social media circle. I have grown a lot since then. I worked on a dozen new projects that helped me skill up, I came out of my comfort zone and wrote some applications, libraries that helped me grow in ways I couldn’t have imagine a year back. I have gained some valuable experience and I have learnt to communicate my ideas.
I didn’t need to care about whose birthday it was, or who just bought a fancy new iPhone. No more needing validation from pointless internet points in the forms of likes from people I barely cared about, but I pretended I did.
I eventually joined some of the essential social media platforms which I do need for communicating with people for work. I figured LinkedIn was a great medium to make great connections on a professional level, Twitter became a nice place to get updates from my favorite things to follow and I started checking my email instead of Whatsapp messages.
With all of these happening, I went full productive-workaholic mode. I needed to make something everyday. Make some significant change. Nothing in the world gave me more pleasure than making that one bit of code work. It grew on me. I wanted to acheive something everyday.
I slowly got addicted to productivity. It was my drug. Then came real life, and disappointments. The thing is, addiction is bad. Period. Even if it’s something good you are getting addicted to, if you don’t have enough flexibility in your mindset, you tend to disappoint yourself. Every single day, when I wouldn’t get something significant done - I would be sad. I would go to bed not happy with myself, introspecting everything wrong that I did today and hoping to have a better tomorrow.
This thing never worked. I have this problem, and I am sure a lot of others do too, if I am not productive throughout the entire day - I would have this literal heat passing from my feet to my body and I can feel it very well. It happens at night, usually after my dinner. My feet would turn cold, my palms would be sweaty and I would have this sadistic anger within me, that I almost want to break everything I have. And then, my friend who lives inside me, wakes up. A little demonic angel. This guy, comes up with a brilliant idea!
Look, you wasted the entire day, you didn’t acheive what you wanted to, and what you could have. You have 3 more hours of uptime left, and you will be weak and angry for this period. Why don’t you just sleep now, and I guarantee you, tomorrow is going to be the day when you change the world?
The guy sounds pretty damn reasonable. After all, what good can I do in the last 3 hours of the day when I couldn’t do anything at all the entire day? This, when coupled with procrastination would be lethal. The panic monkey visits me occasionally, I get productive in the last moments sometimes. Sometimes I don’t. This, when continued for a week or more - brings in a new thought process. A scary one.
I would get more sadistic and more destructive. Every ounce of motivation would be crippled, and I would crave the social life I once had. Motivation is the hardest to find at that point.
Focus and attention are two of the hardest earned things in my life. At the end, obsession towards productivity turned on me. The mind needs to be flexible enough to handle all the kind of curves life would throw at you. Perhaps the best way is to hustle, take every day as a different one. Things change, situations change. If you need to find a motivation, do new things and find that trigger.
Letting it grow, perhaps, isn’t the best option. Growing how to deal with it maybe is. It works for me at least. When I changed my mindset- to live one day at a time. I stopped looking for how I wasn’t productive so long, but what can I do in the next one hour? Maybe one tiny refactoring could help.
It turned out, I wasn’t as disappointed on myself as I would have been. I could do more. The motivation was to do one tiny thing instead of making a big change everyday. This worked out for me, pretty well.
Although I still have downtimes, I have low days. I know how to deal with them now. It’s easier when you do have a bigger goal in mind, but you take one small atomic step at a time.
Go easy on yourself. Life doesn’t need to be so strict. We don’t have to be a railway track when life itself is more like a curvy rocky mountain way.
Make atomic changes, atomic commits.
About The Author
Dedipyaman Das is a software developer and a student from India. He writes about software, and likes architecting web system solutions.
All the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.