In the beginning of this new year in Boston, as the trees stand bare and the ground freezes solid, I’m reminded by nature of the beauty of simplicity. What is the message in the beauty of the stark barrenness of winter for me? What is essential? What can be pared away? To what do I pay attention?
When contemplating the clutter in my life, I see that not only does my physical space fill quickly with clutter, my electronic space does the same. Realizing that this outer clutter reflects my inner clutter, I ask myself, how can I experience social media in a way that allows room for my soul to flourish? How can I use social media to help friends and colleagues de-clutter their inner space, so that their souls can flourish?
This week’s focus in Ryan Eliason’s excellent coaching program in which I’m participating is the 80-20 rule and David Allen’s Getting Things Done. The 80-20 rule teaches me to focus on the 20% of the tasks that yield 80% of the results. For me, this is easier said than done. I find myself distracted by less important tasks, procrastinating on doing the 20% that I know in my heart are most important. The 80-20 rule applies especially to my use of social media: what is the 20% I need to read on Facebook and Twitter? What 20% of blogs do I read? What 20% of my email do I read now, and what can I save for later or simply delete? Can I write blog and Facebook posts that will qualify as the 20% that my friends and clients need to read?
Getting Things Done, similarly, teaches me to focus on what is most important now and save the rest for later. David Allen points out the importance of de-cluttering our minds, hearts, and souls, so that we can be fully present to the task at hand. By getting details out of my head and onto lists to be done later (some in the near future, some in the distant future), I can be much more creative and productive. Again, this is embarrassingly easier said than done for me. I allow myself to focus on the less important tasks that should be on the “later” list (or maybe the “not do at all” list) and avoid being fully present to the task at hand, out of fear of failure, fear of success, and fear of exposure.
Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible, by Elizabeth Drescher and Keith Anderson, applies these same principles and more to the use of social media in ministry. They help me consider the questions: What forms of social media most authentically represent me? What are my deepest values? How can I speak from my soul through social media? Drescher and Anderson teach me to do 2-3 things consistently and well, offering my audience quality pieces that they can count on regularly. Again, as I seek to put this simple and powerful advice into practice, I find it easier to say than to do. I am challenged and transformed in the process of learning to communicate from my deepest place.
The stark beauty of the winter trees reminds me that less is more. Social media is soulful when it makes the 20% cut, when it speaks from one heart to another heart, when it represents the reader’s and the writer’s deepest values. May we all find ways to make social media more soulful in the new year ahead.