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!


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