Facebook App and My Brain

I’ve been severely ill. The kind of sick that has hijacked my entire life, week, etc. I’ve found myself napping, resting, and otherwise counting the days in number of hours until my next dose of medicine.

My thought life has been my real life. My prayer life has been exposed. And I have a love hate tension for these trials because of the nature of conviction that comes from having to identify areas of compromise or failure. 

Being so sick and laid up causes me to reevaluate. What are my priorities? Am I planning for these or flying by the seat of my pants? What are my goals? Am I creating actionable steps to accomplish them? Or Am I allowing the day to get ahead of the plan? 

One area of conflict in my life lately has been my use of Facebook. At first, I blamed my makeup business. I figured that I was having an adverse reaction to direct sales, and that maybe being a “salesperson” was creating the feeling of my soul being sucked out of my body. (This is not a good – feeling soul-robbed.)

See, I’ve been using Facebook to spread the word about my Younique business. I love the makeup and skin care products. So, I have done what many others are doing, and I posted the information to Facebook for all my friends, family, and acquaintances to see.

But it wasn’t Younique that was actually causing my soul to evaporate – it was a very simple little thing.

The red circle with a number indicating notifications. Below is what I posted to my Facebook group about the problem.

FACEBOOK APP and My Brain:

Being so ill has allowed me a lot of time to just rest and think. I have a hard time with the forced stillness, but it always proves helpful to me in reflection. Because of this reflection, I’ve stumbled upon a problem that must be rectified.

I can’t stand the distracting nature of notifications. When using any app, the first thing I do is go to my phone’s system settings and disable the notifications (or I “hide” them). But with the FB app, the red circle still pops up with the number of notifications which could be anything from someone else commenting on a picture of a friend (which most of the time I just ignore these, I mean why do I need to know?) to someone actual engaging with me personally.

When I started regularly using Facebook as a means of spreading the word about Younique’s sales, I immediately had a lot of “reasons” to check Facebook – answering questions, posting promotions, filming live videos (fun!).

Slowly, but with gaining momentum, I started using Facebook more and more. My connections with people were really growing too. I loved the engagement, the opportunities to pray, the laughs from clever memes, etc.

What I didn’t love was the SWISS CHEESE my brain was turning into. Gradually, my ability to focus on a specific task was lessening. I was constantly aware of where my phone was and I wanted to “just see if there are any new notifications. I won’t spend lots of time on the News Feed, just notifications.”

But my prayer life was starting to suffer. Instead of staying focused, my own soulful thoughts intimately shared with my Savior were now peppered with distractions from what I had shared or wanted to share…

I realized that I was falling for “Facebook Addiction” – hook, line, and sinker.

I don’t think what has happened to me is unusual. A lot of people in direct sales get over excited about their products and want to connect to drive their business, and when a person isn’t disciplined and grounded often they burnout and blame the business model or products for their negative life circumstance. That isn’t the case for me.

I’m not burnt out on Younique. I honestly only spend a few hours per WEEK working on “business-y stuff.” The products are EXCELLENT and I will continue to stand by that.

I will continue to use this group and Facebook for that matter! BUT I will be disciplined about it —>

1. Only on my computer or Chrome on my phone – but not on the app.
2. Only during 3 time slots: 6:30 – 7am, 1 – 1:30pm, 8:30-9pm
**More boundaries to be created as my behavior is assessed after these two are trialed.

Facebook was robbing me of being educated. The time spent checking and rechecking the app was splitting my attention span in half, quarters, and even smaller. I was finding that I couldn’t complete a mental thought even while in silence.

This is unacceptable. I prize mental fitness, yet my mind was becoming flabby and lazy.

Photo credit.

So! Back to my year of READ with renewed vigor, resolve, and boundaries. It isn’t that I was wasting hours on Facebook, but with Facebook on the brain I was not able to use my time well when I had the time to do something purposeful.

Back to the books folks!

 

Planning Your Year-at-a-Glance: Homeschool Planning Tip #3

HPT 3 Year at a Glance

Maybe you’re like me and the rush to start planning for the next school year has already faded.

Don’t give up! One thing I continue to learn is that baby steps in the right direction, with the long view leads me not only to my destination but also to a sense of personal satisfaction.

So, let’s jump into the planning tip for today: Get your planner ready now.

This coming school year, I will be using the Ultimate Homeschool Planner. To learn more about this planner, click here.

(Last fall I flirted with buying one of these even while writing all my Bullet Journal posts. A friend of mine picked one up so I was able to see it in person – that makes a huge difference to me when considering any purchase – and I was impressed.)

Cara's Samsung June 8 031

I still believe that just using a Bullet Journal can be best for keeping all your thoughts, plans, and agendas in context – the homeschool mom needs to simplify, right?

This year, I wanted to try something different.

The Ultimate Homschool Planner will allow me to write in so much in advance, and for that I’m grateful. With the new baby about to make her arrival in just a couple weeks, I want to be able to have as many ducks in their rows before life takes a major shift in momentum.

Because no matter how much money I spent on the curricula and resources, they won’t use themselves. I need to make a plan.

Start with a “Homeschool Pause” (see picture above). I listed out what my feelings are, milestones to expect, discipline issues (self included), and challenges and temptations. I will use this list (I’m actually not a big journaler, my thoughts and feelings best come out in lists) to fill in the pages of the Ultimate Homeschool Planner.

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Next, beginning to fill it in:

  1. Read everything. I know it’s tempting to skip “Introductions” and I’m all about saving time and being efficient (skimming is fine for some intros), but for homeschool resources – I believe it is best to take in the author’s point of view before forming your own. For example, the creator of my planner Debra Bell recommends setting aside a whole day for your first year-in-advance planning. But I’m not going to do that. I see her point for why she recommends it, but I know it doesn’t work for me. Picture this: I ask my husband for a Saturday away to plan for the next year. Said Saturday arrives and I start off by going to my favorite coffee shop. After ordering, sipping, and finding the “best place” to set up my whole shah-bang I realize I’ve wasted an hour. So, I feverishly start to read the introduction while being distracted by the couple at the next table who just started a political conversation. Ugh. This isn’t going to work. I decide to finish my coffee and pack up in order to go to the library where it will be quieter. But….there are just a dozen other distractions at the library. So, in short: #1 I plan best at home, #2 I plan best in short spurts. But I read her suggestion and I’m implementing it in a way that works for me. IMG_4148
  2. Research your state’s requirements for the number of days you will need to account for school. (Read this in depth post on state requirements for homeschooling.) Then in either your planner or Bullet Journal make a spread of the whole year – block out vacations, holidays, and any other known special days. Gage which months will be heavy school months and which ones should be light. Keep in mind how many total days you will need to account for. IMG_4149
  3. Set goals for each student. This goes back to the first post I wrote on why planning now is important versus waiting until August. Ideals, dreams, goals, and the like get cast off in the rush to just get started when running late. The whole August overwhelm takes over and these important things are forgotten in the face of the urgent. So, do it now! Write just a few short and sweet goals for each child. What are their interests? How have they grown or failed to grow this past year that needs your encouragement and focused attention? List 3-5 character goals, and 3-5 academic goals. These may be items that fall on your shoulders in order to see them accomplished. Don’t expect that just writing down “learn to spell” will magically occur for that child without your direct involvement. So, be very careful how many things you list, especially if you have a larger nest. IMG_4150
  4. Family Priorities. Why do you homeschool? What do you want the greatest point of this next year to be? What makes the people who live under the same roof as you different from everyone else in the world? Honor those things and write them down so that you can continue to pray over the list. Use this list when making decisions so that you can have the confidence to say “yes” or “no” to the many options that will come into your family life throughout the coming year. Seasons will come and go – busy, slow, fruitful, hibernation – these priorities will help to keep you emotionally stable as you pass through these changes. 
  5. Write a resource list. Keep an account of everything purchased and intended to be used this year for each child. This is the time to make cuts and additions. If the list is already overwhelming and you haven’t even began your year – cut it out, set it aside or sell it! Don’t pile on more than you can handle. Chances are your children will do a few things well or many things poorly. IMG_4151
  6. Choose a start date. This will be unique to your family. Some school year round, others start on the same date as the public school system in their area. Whatever makes the most sense to you, start with that month and write out that month. Look for potential setbacks and scheduling conflicts now. This will help you again with making commitments.

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A few other reasons why I like the Ultimate Homeschool Planner are the Monday Meetings, Weekly Reviews, Weekly Planner, Teaching Tips, Reading Lists, Year in Review, and Record Pages. Setting up a planner is more than just writing out dates in advance, it is a means of accounting for your time.

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It all comes down to time management. Whatever helps you to be a wise steward of your time with the responsibilities and talents you have, use that!  

Get your own copy of the Ultimate Homeschool Planner or learn how to use a Bullet Journal for homeschool moms.

Up next in this series: Know Your Teaching Style (How to avoid the vices of homeschool moms.)

Related Posts:

Just jumping into this series? Catch up by reading Tip #1 and Tip #2. Also, note that some links on this site are affiliate links. Thanks!

“Baby Jail” and other thoughts on being a stay at home mom

Magic Wand, a Mr. Rogers Moment, and My Uniform 4

Making coffee, buttering toast, walking the dog, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, and wiping down the sink again… It’s a stay at home mom’s life, and it’s all so b-o-r-i-n-g.

If I’m not careful, these little tasks begin to mock me. This is all you’re really good at anyway. Your effort doesn’t mean anything because it will be undone and you’ll have to do it again.

And my mind gets a one-two punch if I fall behind or things look cluttered. Discouragement is like a shadow, stuck to me. A constant reminder that I am what I do, and what I’m doing isn’t amounting to much.

A friend once called life as a stay at home mom of young kids “baby jail.” And I remember thinking that while a lot of that image doesn’t work, one thing strikingly does: the angst of feeling stuck.

I don’t like feeling stuck. So, I Make Over My Mornings or work through a book on cleaning with the right heart, and I take ownership of making more with my life. I want to live up to my purpose.

Because after all, the whole reason I’m home is to fulfill a greater purpose than wiping sinks, noses, and buns.

But nothing can really change. I mean, I change, my attitude can change, but the fact that I’ve listed out my priorities doesn’t magically transform what it looks like to be a stay at home (schooling) mom.

And that’s when I have to face the fact that no course, book, consultant, or blog will change my stage in life. (And that’s never what they were created to do anyway.)

Being stuck in a stage isn’t a problem to fix and no amount of making over will ultimately change what I’m called to do within each stage.

B2S Day 18 Chores grace and sale 2

So, I own my boring life stage. I accept the thrill-less-ness of folding laundry for the thousandth time (only to run across clean laundry in the dirty pile again).

Here are 4 power thoughts for stay at home moms:

Focus on enjoying one part this stage each day – and do it with all your strength. Nap, color, or scooter with them because all too soon these pastimes will be in the past.

Don’t become over busy by default. Running out to Target again, will not help. Put the van keys down.

Avoid burn out by staying accountable for rest. People on Facebook don’t need to know your status at 10:00 p.m. You need to know your pillow.

Take time to develop better self control – it isn’t about saying “no” to yourself, it’s about knowing yourself.

Sometimes it’s okay to scroll through Instagram while waiting for the wash cycle to finish, and sometimes it isn’t because a child could really use your face to face time more. Only you can determine what you need to say no to in any given moment. Make sure to know what is best before spending your time.

At the end of the day it isn’t about whether you’re satisfied with what you did, it’s about whether you’re satisfied with who you are becoming.

Please don’t stay stuck. Reach out. Accept encouragement. Try something different. Set small goals. If goal setting seems impossible right now, try this course (which goes on major sale Friday) or the Make Over Your Mornings one. And please feel free to ask me for help too. Join my accountability group for more personal encouragement. Again, nothing will change the stage you’re in, but any one of these can significantly help you get unstuck. 

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Find out what that means by clicking here or feel free to contact me by clicking here with any questions. Thanks!