Controlling the Three O’s

It started to get worse last year just before the US election, and it’s been building up to a feverish pitch as we head into the buying season. It’s a bad case of the three O’s. What are they? Obligations, Offers, and Overwhelm.

We pile on the obligations to family, to our coworkers and bosses, to ourselves. Our inbox and social media feeds are filled with offers for this sale and that special. And we’re overwhelmed with everything that’s working very hard to grab and keep our attention. Try this! Buy that! Be thinner/prettier/richer/healthier/nobler. Boom, slam, pow…MORE!

I don’t like it. I just want to hang out with the people I love, play with my clay, pet my kitties, and eat good food. Ya know? Are you with me? So, what can we do to make this happen? We can take charge, that’s how. You don’t have to pay attention to everyone and everything. You can CHOOSE where you pay attention. Here are some ideas.

Take Charge of your Facebook Feed

It’s easy to assume that we have no control over our social media, and to an extent that’s true. But we DO have a lot more control than you’d think. Here’s how to tame Facebook to make it full of inspiration and peace.

Unfollow Annoying People

Often we accept a friend request out of Obligation (one of the three O’s). Maybe it’s a sweet neighbor or your nutty aunt. Maybe it’s your (gasp) mother. But sometimes their politics or latest fad lifestyle can get to be too much. Did you know you can unfollow them? Unfollowing means that you stay friends and can still comment on their posts and receive messages but you won’t see their posts in your feed. It’s like a mute button. They’re still talking, you just can’t “hear” them unless you want to. Just go to the three little dots in the upper right and choose to unfollow. Easy peasy. Oh, btw, they’ll still see what you post. It’s only one-way.

Turn off Notifications

It’s normal on Facebook to get a notification when someone writes a comment after yours. It’s great because it allows follow-up comments and great conversation. But for some types of posts, you will get waaaaaay too many. It can be Overwhelming (another O!) You don’t have to block a page or person when this happens. You can just turn off notifications for that post. Voilà. No more notifications.

Conquer Your Groups

We do love our polymer clay groups on Facebook! But my goodness sometimes it can get really wild. You don’t have to leave a group when you get too many notifications. Did you know that with each group you’re in, you can choose several levels of notification activity? Just go to the main group page and near the top of the page click on “Notifications”. Choose your level. If you turn them off, you’ll no longer get notifications about group posts (unless you comment or make a post yourself).

Note that this is different from receiving group posts in your feed. You can unfollow a group just like you can unfollow a person.

See First

Are there some pages that you really love and don’t want to miss anything they post? You’ll never see them in most cases because Facebook wants pages to pay for exposure. But you can CHOOSE to see them first.  Just go to the home page of your favorite business, (such as The Blue Bottle Tree) and click on “following”. You’ll see a whole range of choices. If you pick “see first”, you’ll see any new posts from that page first thing when you open Facebook. This is also where you can choose to get notifications if you’d rather get them for everything a page posts.

F. B. Purity

Did you know that you can FIX your Facebook? There is a free browser extension called F.B. Purity that allows you to highly customize the way your Facebook looks. It works on Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Opera. Sadly, it’s not available for phones, just desktops. You can get rid of ads, Offers (there’s that O again), memes, turn off autoplay videos, get rid of sidebars, and turn off all the annoying things. My favorite part, though, is a section where you can add words you don’t want to see in your feed. You could filter out names of politicians, for example.

I have highly customized my feed and I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has increased my enjoyment of life. I hadn’t realized how anxiety-inducing so many posts were until I eliminated them.

Try Instagram

Do you love the inspiration of Facebook but hate all the conversation and social stuff? You might like it better over on Instagram. You just follow people you like to see things from and then you get a nice scrollable feed of the pretty pictures they post. Easy peasy.

You do need a phone to upload photos to Instagram, but you can join and enjoy from a computer. You can comment on and fave people’s photos from a computer as well. Already love Instagram? Are you following me there? Here I am on Instagram!

Own Your Inbox

We all get way too much email. Some of it can’t be avoided, such as bill notifications and renewal notices. But don’t be one of those people who never checks their email because it’s full of junk. Get rid of the junk! We all sign up for email lists from time to time. We like good newsletters and we love a good sale. But some businesses take it too far and send “BUY MY STUFF” emails out day after day after day. It’s annoying. Own your inbox. If you don’t enjoy the emails you get, eliminate the worst offenders. Scroll to the bottom and click the little “unsubscribe” link.

I want you to get a smile on your face when one of my emails comes into your inbox. I try quite hard to make sure my emails are relevant and helpful. I never want to be an Obligation that causes you to feel Overwhelmed (that’s two more O’s). But even good emails are no good to anyone if they’re left unopened in an overflowing inbox making you feel guilty. (But hey…unsubscribe from the bad ones first, okay?)

Control Yourself

I can remember my mother growling at me, “Ginger, get control of yourself!” Okay, I was probably six having a fit of the giggles. But she was right. I am the one who should be in control of myself. Social media and our little devil boxes that we call phones are designed to keep us paying attention and addicted to them. It is very, very hard to put the phone down and put limits on our screen time. But you will be so much happier if you do.

I had to remove Facebook from my phone because I found myself scrolling through while I was having lunch with my kids or watching a movie with my husband. I would even find myself at my clay table, scrolling through my feed every time I got stuck on a project. I guess it’s no different from finding myself at the fridge with the door open. Equally pointless, however. I’m now working on controlling myself. My mother would be so pleased. Now if I can just do something about staying up too late and finding chocolate in my desk drawer.

Have Fun with Clay

Once you’ve cleared away the three O’s…the Obligations, the Offers, and the Overwhelm…you’ll be amazed at how much time you have to get back to your crafting roots and enjoy playing with your creative projects. Enjoy!

 

16 thoughts on “Controlling the Three O’s”

  1. Dear Ginger. What an excellent post for this time of year! I already know and do the FB things you recommend, but didn’t know about FBPurity. I’m going to check it out. Because I use my FB account for my business, I need to check regularly. But it became a compulsion. As you said, it’s like standing in front of the fridge. Every time I get up from my work table, I walk past the computer to see what’s happening on FB. I now limit my FB time to checking twice a day. First thing in the morning, and again late afternoon. Any other time I get the urge, I tell myself “Control Yourself”!
    Oh, and I did unsubscribe from your posts by email a long while ago. Together with about a hundred other people who’s work I love. I now have all of them neatly organized on BLOGLOVIN. What a difference that has made. No more emails that never get read because I’m too busy when they come in and then they move to the bottom of the pile. Once a day, usually in the morning, I go on to Bloglovin, and see a neat feed of all the blogs I love to read. I actually spend more time on Bloglovin than FB. I find that I’m reading more blogs now than I used to, and getting much more nourishment from them. Like Instagram, it’s a ‘cleaner’ way of getting inspiration, without all the O’s.
    Wishing you a joyous holiday season, crammed with the three R’s of time off!

  2. Great post, thank you Ginger!
    Just one thing to carp on – you don’t need a phone to upload to instagram! We are the great holdout family on smartphones, but I love my computer (too much..)! The Instapic app is free on Windows 10 and works well. It just makes it kinda not so instant!

  3. Just a few tips as well. You can post photos to Instagram from a Windows 10 computer as it has an app for Instagram.

    For email I use Outlook as this allows me to easily manage email. From your browser you can set Outlook to automatically delete older email out of your inbox and just keep the most recent one from a particular sender, choose to move all email from a sender to certain folders (bills etc.) and permanently block repeat junk email.

    With just a few rules my inbox is manageable and I don’t have to go in and delete emails as much anymore as the program will do it for me. I prefer to still get all my craft emails because they are searchable but all but the latest one goes to my craft folder where I have them all in one place. I love deals and saved lots of money by buying early and grabbing deals that hit my inbox throughout the year.

    I don’t do Facebook so I don’t have to deal with that. Twitter sends me a daily roundup of tweets from people I follow and interact with. The roundup is always available so I don’t have to check it immediately. Pinterest sends me weekly emails targeted to my interests. Instagram and YouTube allow me to decide which notifications to get so I never miss a post or video from a favorite.

    There are so many tools to manage the demands on your time. It can take a little while to setup but it’s worthwhile.

    Thanks Ginger for bringing this up because too many people are controlled by their constant notifications and get distracted from the creative process.

  4. Totally enlightening! Thanks much. May I add that ‘game apps’ were a.so controlling my time. I would spend hours playing Gin or Spider, mindlessly losing track of valuable time. After realizing that I could have done something I really like, reading a good book, even doing some chores, I deleted games from my tablet. Now I am having more fun and less stress.

  5. Patricia Pfeiffer

    Ginger, you have really given me something to think about. At the beginning you mention that we seem to be overwhelmed and obligated earlier nowadays. I have really felt that this year. Advertisers have us feeling that we are way behind in our shopping already, and it is only the beginning of December! I refuse to be taken in by this hype, helped along by the news media, the post office, and all the shopping sites. Thankfully I live with a last minute shopper and he never fails to slow down the holiday hurry for me when I start to give in to it. Thank you for reminding us to take time to enjoy this season.

    1. I think the Etsy groups have sort of gone by the wayside for the most part. There are a couple really good Facebook groups that you might want to explore, though. I just started one called Polymer Clay Success, where the focus is on taking your work to the next level. Kater’s Acres Whimsical Clay Sculpting is great if you like sculpting. And it’s always neat to see what’s going on over at Christi Friesen’s Creative Neighborhood. Teresa Salgado runs the HOP group, which is a bit more social. And for a rapid-fire influx of all sorts of clay questions from all over, you might want to check out the Polymer Clay Tribe run by the girls at CreateAlong. Each group has a slightly different focus and atmosphere. Try them all til you find one you feel that you fit into. Enjoy!

  6. Great article. I started feeling overwhelmed after the election. There seemed to be so much nastiness(if that’s a word). I started unfriending people and eliminating notifications at that point. Thanks for the heads up about FB Purity, will check it out.

  7. Awesome article. Been working on it also…things I used to find interesting that are now ‘time-wasters’ are going by the wayside…too many interests – too little time…I have to pare down! Blessings.

  8. Ginger,
    I always enjoy your posts. I find them to be useful and this one really hit home. As usual, I have a lot to think about.

  9. OMGosh
    You just managed to put into words what I have been thinking and feeling for quite awhile now. I find that my IPad is with me constantly. Even with TV, I find I only turn on programs that I can follow with my ears and don’t need to watch, because I’m reading my FB or surfing the internet or WATCHING CLAYING VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE!

    It truly is like a food addiction, except there are some substitutes when dieting.

    Thank you for turning on my EUREKA light. I will definitely be trying your suggestions. I will probably fall off the wagon as we frequently do with any addiction, but we need to promise ourselves that when that happens we will return to your outstanding thoughts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.