I asked about his family and the house. No, everyone’s okay. Cooking, cleaning, kids—all good. He’s not working out any more than usual.
I then asked this question: “How much social media are you splurging on?”
That was the answer. Now that Alex is vaccinated, he’s happy-scrolling on Twitter and Facebook, and reading a ton on LinkedIn.
Of course, I asked, “Do those sites deserve your attention?”
He said, “Well…”
I said, “Is there an alternative to spend time on those sites to check in with your treasured colleagues and friends?”
He said, “Well…”
We spoke a little more, and I learned that he enjoys catching up with friends and colleagues on social media. For him, social media is almost like chocolate for me—some is good, more might be better. Except, it’s not.
Sometimes we need to attend to ourselves. Writing falls into that category for me—and I suspect, for him.
First, Alex and I spoke about the value of his attention.
When Does Your Attention Offer You Value?
For me, social media is a guilty pleasure. I seem to see and consume more gossip than I learn. And while I love some gossip, more is not better for me.
We don’t have that much attention to give to other people. Not all the time.
All of this means I need to ask if I get value from paying attention to this channel. And for me, this is not a binary question. Sometimes, I get tremendous value from social media. Too often, I spend way too much time for me to get value from it.
Yet, as a consultant and book writer, I do need to pay some attention to some social media. Alex does also. That means we need to find our balance. That’s the hard part.
That’s why I framed this question as “When” your attention offers you value.
If you find yourself doing something that you realize doesn’t add value, consider a rule transformation.
Rule Transformations Expose Your Concerns
I led Alex through a rule transformation. First, the rule: “I must check social media every morning before anything else. I must check it again several times during the day.” This is a compound rule, but I thought it might work.
We changed must to can: “I can check social media every morning. I can check it again several times during the day.”
Then, can to sometimes: “I can check social media sometimes every morning. I can check it again sometimes during the day.”
Then the circumstances. Alex chose these, not me:
- If I write my morning words, I can check social media afterward.
- If I finish some specific task, I can check social media afterward.
- If I think there is something urgent on social media, I can check it now.
Alex created these guidelines, which work well for him. (My social media guidelines are a little different.) However, he just sent me an article he wrote, and it’s terrific. He told me, “I blasted it out because I got to use social media as a reward, not a task.” A wonderful transformation.
You Deserve Your Attention
We all experience many pulls on our attention. In my experience, not everyone puts themselves first. I wonder what our lives could be, if we do put ourselves first with our attention.
That’s the question this week: Do you offer attention to people who deserve it?