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Guest Post: Why I’m 26, Moving to L.A., and Just Deleted Instagram

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For any of you who have been in a strategy session with Kris, you know that he has the handwriting of a five-year-old child and spelling to match. In addition, with all the great ideas running through his head, Kris likes to write blogs, books, and all sorts of things. My name is Maggie Happe, and I am Kris’s “ghost” writer, translator, punctuation expert, and polisher. In addition to working with Kris as his Ghost, he acts as my mentor and coach. This is my first guest post for the blog.

I’m 26, single, moving to Los Angeles to obtain my PhD at UCLA, and part of my job involves social media. Nonetheless, a few weeks ago, I deleted my Instagram page and my Snapchat account.

Here’s a little disclaimer for you: I did keep my Facebook page. Because my freelance work involves creating content and managing social media pages for small to mid-size businesses, not all of which are hosted on Business Manager, it was most efficient to keep my personal page to retain admin roles. So, I’m not totally off the Facebook grid, though I only really use it to share work-related content or projects.

Instagram, though? I absolutely, desperately love Instagram. I find new restaurants to try via food magazine accounts. Since I’ve moved far away from most of my friends, I stay updated on how and what they’re doing. I find new books to read and inspirations for stories to write and tell.

However, couple this Insta-obsession with a hefty workload and paucity of time, and you have yourself one sleep-deprived millennial who just couldn’t keep up with the images on the screen, with either the tanned, toned bodies or the hustling small business owners or the bright academics churning out rockstar work.

At the same time, after writing for and working with Kris as my small business coach for the last year, my subconscious had retained tiny particles of his advice over the months. I remembered pacing around the warm, dry floor of my Arizona apartment with his voice in my ear, telling me that keeping up with anybody else was a game that I could never win. All I could do was be the best version of myself, and that meant taking real time away from school, and my business, to do things that recharged me and made me happy. He wasn’t just saying this, he was actually doing it: I could legitimately hear birds chirping in the background from the nature reservoir where he takes his daily walks to recharge. It literally sounded like he was piping in the Nature soundtrack from Spotify as background noise. Then, I realized that when I heard nature sounds, I thought of Spotify instead of….the world. Boy, oh boy.

Kris also taught me about the concept of time-blocking, which totally changed how I live and work. When I actually looked at the time I was spending by “multi-tasking” and scrolling through Instagram while working or listening, I realized that that time was much less efficient than it could have been. While I was waiting for a Snapchat to come in, I wasn’t wholly focused on the project at hand. I would wake up in the morning and immediately open Instagram to spend at least a half-hour seeing what had happened while I was asleep. It’s honestly embarrassing to even acknowledge this.

When I realized that I was spending that valuable break time looking at what other people were doing, it was no wonder that I felt drained and overwhelmed. Setting my own bar with other people’s lives wasn’t just unrealistic, it was unfair to me.

So, one day, I snapped (not a Snapchat pun, unfortunately). I deleted the apps permanently. I decided to use that time doing something productive for my brain, like reading one of those books I’ve been meaning to get to, or listening to a podcast. I decided to make sure that when I moved to L.A., I wasn’t spending time thinking about what to post, but was just enjoying the sights and sounds for what they were. I decided to invest in the relationships in front of me, and spend that time with people who were actually real, live people worth writing letters to, or being on a phone call with.

It’s a pretty fresh change, but I can already feel the difference in my life. It’s huge. My best friend is on board, too, and we’ve both deleted our social media accounts to see how it goes. I’ll keep Kris posted on my progress (via email, of course!) Although at this rate, I might be communicating via carrier pigeon soon. Then, at least, I get to hear birds chirp.

Maggie Happe is a freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

 

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