Recently, I've had an urge to minimize the amount of digital communications I exchange daily. Instead of texting, sending photos, or emailing, I try to speak face to face, or exchange tangible objects (a flower, an instax photo, a postcard, or little trinket from my travels).
In the absence of being on my phone as much, I realized that somehow my text message inbox had become akin to a social media feed. Throughout the week, my inbox would fill with group texts, youtube videos, links, photographs, memes, and gifs that I didn't need to see immediately, and the repetitive conversations would interrupt design and art sessions. If it weren't for the fact that my phone is an essential part of my job, I'd probably turn it on a few times a week, and be good with that. But realistically I was struggling with a fragmented work flow, and scattered thoughts.
And so I started to think a bit more about the people I was talking to. And it hit me, IRL - SPAM is a thing. And the culprits are our friends and family. I asked myself:
How do I want to spend my time?
Is there anyone in my life right now that is serving as a distraction from bigger goals?
Anyone who I no longer identify with?
Can I minimize my exposure / time with those people?
Unfortunately, we all experience people who are taking up time, and energy, but not contributing to the goals, or vision you want or need right now. Time and attention are invaluable - especially if you have shit to do, dreams to realize, and are eager to live a passionate creative life. Creativity takes time, true intimacy takes presence and attention. How was I supposed to give my life, work, art, and friends the nurturing, and attention they deserved when I was bouncing back and forth between 10 different conversations, 17 different emails, 2 trending videos, and trying to post to my stories?
I like to think of phones as a doorway into the vast universe of everyone you know (and those you don't). And that's super dope when it's used intentionally. But technology hasn't been designed to be used intentionally - it's invasive, always on, and vying for your attention at every opportunity to serve someone else's bottom line. But in order for us to acquire deep connections, and deep focus; the kind that rewards us with insight, crazy good ideas / experiences, and surprising creations... the digital door needs to be closed sometimes.
My biggest lesson has been that the door can be closed softly. You don't have to leave with anxiety, fear (FOMO), or anger. People talk about self care all the time, but at the end of the day it comes down to the energy and intention behind your actions. If that familiar feeling of FOMO does creep into your day, take some time and realize that your experience is one of a kind, and the fact that you're here in 2018 living a unique life unlike anyone else, is pretty spectacular and deserves your attention. The fact that you have the ability to create something that doesn't exist yet, is fucking wild.
That text/email/snap/DM can wait for later.
Creativity and Passion are waiting on you.
I think people are naturally empathic (and perhaps slightly telepathic). So when I think of a friend, instead of sending a text message - I take a moment and send them good energy. Other times, I'll write a card or make something for them and send it in the mail. For some reason, those tangible actions feel right.
There's no scientific evidence here, but I have to trust my experience, and my gut. And it says that intentional communication is not just good for my mind, but it's necessary for my creativity.